Saturday, December 30, 2006

time marches on

It has been a week or two since I last sat down to write here. Many little busy things have happened in those two weeks that make them seem longer than a corresponding two weeks extracted from some other portion of the year. I have always thought the two weeks around Christmas to be the most exciting of the year. But they are almost over and the new year is fast approaching.

While pondering Janus' old face and seeing therein all the events and changes it has seen, I often wonder what his new face will view. I know last year I had no inkling of many of the changes that this year brought and can only wait until the time comes to see what this next year will bring. This time gives us an interesting vantage point from which to look upon these matters. Most of the time we get so caught up in the usual round of little distractions and duties that we miss the larger picture but here there is a marker set and each year can be set against the next (or last) in comparison.

Sometimes it can be disconcerting to our human pride to contemplate the way that events are out of our hands but we have the ultimate assurance that the hands that do hold all events are not only the most qualified and just but also compassionate. We know that He is working all things out for His glory and for the good of those who love Him. So whatever changes come into our lives - however unexpected, unlooked for or even unwelcome - we can rest in this hope and joy in the way that His hand is evident in all things.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Great Life

I underlined almost every line in today's entry in My Utmost for His Highest (perhaps defeating the purpose of underlining in so doing). I take that as a good indication that I have found material to post, so here it is (for the most part):

Whenever a thing becomes difficult in personal experience, we are in danger of blaming God, but it is we who are in the wrong, not God; there is some perversity somewhere that we will not let go. Immediatly we do, everything becomes clear as daylight. As long as we try to serve two ends, ourselves and God, there is perplexity. The attitude must be one of complete reliance on God...difficulty comes in when we want to usurp the authority of the Holy Spirit for our own ends.

Whenever you obey God, His seal is always that of unfathomable peace, which is not natural, but the peace of Jesus...

My questions come whenever I cease to obey. When I have obeyed God, the problems never come between me and God, they come as probes to keep the mind going on with amazement at the revelation of God. Any problem that comes between God and myself springs out of disobedience; any problem, and there are many, that is along side me while I obey God, increases my ecstatic delight, because I know that my Father knows, and I am going to watch and see how He unravels this thing

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Natural

Another quote from Oswald Chambers (from December 9th of My Utmost for His Highest):
The natural life is not sinful...It is not a question of giving up sin, but of giving up my right to myself, my natural independence and self-assertiveness, and this is where the battle has to be fought. It is the things that are right and noble and good from the natural standpoint that keep us back from God's best. To discern that natural virtues antagonize surrender to God, is to bring our soul into the centre of its greatest battle. Very few of us debate with the sordid and evil and wrong, but we do debate with the good...If we do not resolutely sacrifice the natural, the supernatural can never become natural in us.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Before the snow reached my garden...

Lavender's blue, dilly dilly,
Lavender's green
When you are King, dilly dilly,
I shall be Queen

Who told you so, dilly dilly,
Who told you so?
'Twas my own heart, dilly dilly,
That told me so...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Part the second: Friendship

Just under a month ago, I set myself up for defeat by starting a series of long posts on the several chapters in C.S. Lewis' book The Four Loves. However, I am continuing it here and, since I never set myself a time limit, may eventually get all four gleaned of my favourite quotes.

In the chapter on Friendship, C.S. Lewis raises some interesting points. At times I cannot relate to every situation he mentions since it is from the male perspective but most of it is fairly universal truths.

On the topic of whether friendship should be classified as a love at all he notes that "To the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves." But in comparison the modern world ignores it. He attributes this to several sources. First he says that "...few value it because few experience it." because it is the least natural of the loves; it is highly possible to go through life without a true taste of it. He says that it is this very "non-natural" quality to it that the Ancients valued (they distrusted the nature of man) and which our age trivialises. He claims that the age of Romanticism and its exaltation of Sentiment is still felt in our world. Within this great tide of emotion Friendship appears colourless.

He also has some good comments in rebuttal of the homosexual theory. It is unfortunate that in our society such an argument is neccessary but he deals with it well. He talks of the subtle ways such accusations worm their way in:
To say that every Friendship is consciously and explicity homosexual would be too obviously false; [they posit]...the less palpable charge that it is really--unconsciously, cryptically...--homosexual. And this, though it cannot be proved, can never of course be refuted. The fact that no positive evidence of homosexuality can be discovered in the behaviour of two friends... [means nothing]: "That", the say gravely, "is just what we should expect." The absence of smoke proves that the fire is very carefully hidden. Yes--if it exists at all. But we must first prove its existence. Otherwise we are arguing like a man who should say "If there were an invisible cat in that chair, the chair would look empty; but the chair does look empty; therefore there is an invisible cat in it."

A belief in invisible cats cannot perhaps be logically disproved, but it tells us a good deal about those who hold it. Those who cannot concieve Friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elabouration of Eros betray the fact that they have never had a Friend.
On a broad historical view it is, of course, not the demonstrative gestures of Friendship among our ancestors but the absence of such gestures in our own society that calls for some explanation. We, not they are out of step.
He makes a distinction between companionship and friendship and says that the first is the springboard to the second and stresses the need for a common object:
The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. Where the truthful answer to the question Do you see the same truth? would be "I see nothing and I don't care about the truth; I only want a Friend", no Friendship can arise...There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about; and a Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow travellers.
He then talks of how friendship "is both a possible benefactor and a possible danger to the community." How they are the start of many movements: "The little knots of Friends who turn their backs on the 'World' are those who really transform it." He speaks of what it can mean to society:
Every real Friendship is a sort of secession, even a rebellion... Men who have real Friends are less easy to manage... harder for good Authorities to correct or for bad Authorities to corrupt. Hence if our masters...ever succeed in producing a world where all are Companions and none are Friends, they will have removed certain dangers, and will also have taken from us what is almost our strongest safeguard against complete servitude.
[Friendship] makes good men better and bad men worse.
He talks of some of the bad results in the situation of a debate where he came up against blind resistance to relation on a personal level:
...Behind this, almost certainly, there lies a circle of the Titanic sort--self-dubbed Knights Templar perpetually in arms to defend a critical Baphomet. We--who are they to them--do not exist as persons at all. We are spcimens of various Age Groups, Types, Climates of opinion, or Interests, to be exterminated... They are not, in the ordinary human sense, meeting us at all; they are merely doing a job of work--spraying (I have heard one use the image) insecticide.
Another, perhaps less violent yet still negative, result of the exclusiveness of friendship is the idea of "corporate superiority" which we witness when
...people talk very intimatly and esoterically in order to be overheard. Everyone who is not in the circle must be shown that he is not in it. Indeed the Friendship may be "about" almost nothing except the fact that it excludes.
On a happier, more general note of friendship he says
The mark of perfect Friendship is not that help will be given when the pinch comes (of course it will) but that, having been given, it makes no difference at all.
People who bore one another should meet seldom; people who interest one another, often.
He ends with the truth that, whatever we may think, we do not really choose our friends any more than we do our family:
...we think we have chosen our peers. In reality, a few years' difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one University instead of another, posting to different regiments, the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at first meeting--any of the chances might have kept up apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work. Christ who said to the disciples "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends "You have not chose one another but I have chosen you for one another." The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others... They are, like all beauties, derived from Him, and then, in a good Friendship, increased by Him through the Friendship itself... At this feast it is He who has spread the board and it is He who has chosen the guests. It is He we may dare to hope, who sometimes does, and always should, preside.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"He that searcheth the hearts..."

I don't usually post much about myself but today I was so encouraged by this that I thought I should share and perhaps it will in turn encourage others in their walks.

Several weeks ago, in an effort to discipline myself in prayer, I wrote down a list of things that I was struggling with and areas I could see needed improvement in a little notebook with other prayer requests. I used the list a few times in my prayer time and dutifully said each item in turn but I quickly fell into the bog of habit and rote. I began saying them to get through the list so I could get on with 'my' day. But at the same time I was frustrated that I couldn't seem to put my heart into my prayers.

Not long after that, I went through a situation that drove me to the Lord and forced my heart into my prayers. I found fresh joy in communing with my Saviour and my list (being merely an aid to prayer and no longer neccessary) was forgotten.

This morning I once again picked up the notebook and decided to go through the list after I had finished the rest of my prayer (which consisted mostly of thankfulness for what He has been working in my life). When my eyes fell on the list I realized that every single item on it has been or is being answered by the Lord! During the times when I was merely reciting the list and during the times I had forgotten about it completely, He was faithfully working in my heart and life to answer it!

I know that even with these areas improving so encouragingly in my life at this time I have a long way to go and fresh lists of things for which to ask God's grace. Life is a process of growing and maturing (hopefully!) but I know that He is our Gardener and He is faithfully growing us even when we may slumber and sleep.
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:26-28

Thursday, November 30, 2006

list of laughs

Having finished most of the hard part of the term (and on time too!) I find humour to be a fitting subject for a post. Yes, I took this from an e-mail but some forwards can be humourous. Enjoy!

-A lone amateur built the Ark; a large group of professionals built the Titanic.
-There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.
-You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.
-Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
-Junk is something you've kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.
-Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.
-If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.
-For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.
-My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.
-Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
-Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often.
-Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
-A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Jane Austen emotional?

You may not believe it if you have a limited perspective of Austen's writing but there is quite a bit of emotion hiding under that understated exterior. And I have several scholars' quotes to back up my assertion:
Though Persuasion moves very quietly, without sobs or screams, in drawing-rooms and country lanes, it is yet among the most emotional novels in our literature.
-Joanne Wilkes
Any red-blood writer can state passions, it takes a genius to suggest them...Persuasion is purely a cry of feeling, and if you miss the feeling, you miss all.
-Julian Kavanagh

So back off all those who call her insipid and find another author to pick on; Jane Austen clearly rules all things pertaining to novels!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Remembering our dependence on past mercies kindles gratitude. Gratitude is past-oriented dependence; faith is future-oriented dependence. Both forms of dependence are humble, self-forgetting, and God-exalting. If we do not believe that we are deeply dependent on God for all we have or hope to have, then the very spring of gratitude and faith runs dry.
-John Piper, A Godward Life


This particular bush is indistinguishable and unremarkable until all the leaves fall and the berries are left to shine through the cold winter.

Monday, November 27, 2006

passively progressive

It may sound like a new political party but no, this has to do with grammar, not politics.

One change in our language that started somewhere in the Early Modern period (roughly from Shakespeare to the end of the eighteenth century) was the progressive tense formed with verb 'to be' plus the present participle. An example is "I am running". However the passive progressive was still seen as improper; they would favour "while grace is saying" to "while grace is being said". A version of this older usage is preserved in our phrase: "what's cooking?" (rather than "what is being cooked").

A great excerpt from a private letter from 1795 (quoted in my textbook) illustrates in vivid language both this usage and the disgust for it:
[The passive progressive is] like a fellow whose uttermost grinder is being torn out by the roots by a mutton-fisted barber.
(italics to show the usage).

I shall conclude by saying: may you never be like that unfortunate fellow but may you continue successfully to use the passive progressive.

Friday, November 24, 2006


I've been cleaning my room this morning (the perennial pre-paper purge) and, among other things long overdue, I finally cleaned off my mirror. This may seem nothing extrodinary until you hear some of the background.

At least two years ago, in an attempt to learn the principle parts of irregular verbs for my Latin class, I wrote an extensive list of them all down my mirror. I had hoped that by putting them always before my eyes (since, of course, I look at my mirror more than anything else...) or at least readily visible I would pick them up faster and with less effort. I still think that it's a good method of memorization (although it would be easier to read on a whiteboard) but have long since passed the point of needing such a reminder. Because I became used to the writing being there I never even noticed it unless some visitor commented on it. But this same writing prevented me from ever cleaning my mirror since I didn't want to wipe it off and not have it anymore or have to rewrite the long list (it had taken me a while to write them all out). So my mirror get dustier and dirtier.

Until today when I ruthlessly wiped it clean. I didn't like to do the deed but I knew it should be done, I knew that I didn't need the list before my eyes anymore and holding on to it would be merely foolish sentimentality.

Now I see how nice it is to have a clean mirror in a clean room. I thnk that this mirror incident is typical of my attitude to many things. I am a packrat and as I accumulate things merely for the reason of keeping them (long after they have served their uses) I blindly wonder why clutter follows me. It would be nice if this lesson were to stick and I would have no more problem in that area but that's not the way life works. I learn a little at a time which can be discouraging at times but I can still hope that someday I'll be a truly ruthless cleaner.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Rootlets: the quest is sidetracked...

While in pursuit of the origins of 'sad', I have dug up some peripheral rootlets and thought I should share:

The literal sense of farce is "stuffing" (could you call a cooked turkey 'farceful' or 'farced'?). This name arose from the practice of 'stuffing' that stuff between the acts of a drama to quiet the audience.

Satire is related to my word. It comes to us through Latin from the *se-tu-ro- IndoEuropean root. Latin satur retains most of *sa-'s meaning with the definition "repleat or sated with food". From this came the phrase satura lanx which referred to a "composite dish". Hence satira began to mean a mixed literary composition especially referring to the 'satires' of Horace and Juvenal.
I'll throw a quote in the mix:
Satire is a kind of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.
-Swift from the preface to Battle of the Books (1697)
If that's the preface, it'd be interesting to read what he says in the book itself.

Also similar to this is the word satyr (insatiable mythical creatures). The source I was referring to says that the origin of this word is unknown. We can speculate that it either came from the same root by natural generation or someone somewhere along the way used the root or similar words to make this word up.

This may not be a novel saying to some but I had never come across it before: the phrase "a sad sack" came into general slang usage during WWII to refer to a maladjusted, blundering, unlucky soldier who was likeable yet always in trouble. Apparently it had been part of 'collegiate slang' during the Thirties but likely underwent the process of specialization and became widespread due to a comic strip by Gerorge Baker.

Having satisfied myself with writing these out, I shall leave you on that sad note that I might return to my studies in life (of the word), liberty (from these rootlets) and the pursuit of sadness.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Prize Cat

Pure blood domestic, guaranteed,
Soft-mannered, musical in purr,
The ribbon had declared the breed,
Gentility was in the fur.

Such feline culture in the gads
No anger ever arched her back-
What distance since those velvet pads
Departed from the leopard's track!

And when I mused how Time had thinned
The jungle strains within the cells,
How human hands had disciplined
Those prowling optic parallels;

I saw the generations pass
Along the reflex of a spring,
A bird had rustled in the grass,
The tab had caught it on the wing:

Behind the leap so furtive-wild
Was such ignition in the gleam,
I thought an Abyssinian child
Had cried out in the whitethroat's scream.

-E.J. Pratt

Monday, November 20, 2006


A glimpse of the last hollyhock of summer enjoying its day in the sunbefore it gives way to the holly that belongs to a different season!


More random quotes that I unearthed on my desk:
Loneliness is a reminder to me that God longs for my fellowship even more than I long for the fellowship of others.

True gentleness is founded on a sense of what we owe to Him who made us and to the common nature which we all share. It arises from reflection on our own failings and wants, and from just views of the condition and duty of man. It is a native feeling heightened and improved by principle. -Hugh Blair

Love is the wisdom of the fool and the folley of the wise. -S. Johnson

Saturday, November 18, 2006


The paper yesterday said that we have had rain fifty-two out of the last seventy-six days. And that excludes days that it has been cloudy without rain. So to brighten things up a bit, here are a brace of bracing pictures to prove that the sun does shine sometime (and it will again) along with some classic lyrics from Annie
The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there'll be sun! Just thinkin' about tomorrow clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow 'til there's none. When I'm faced with a day that's grey and lonely, I just stick out my chin and grin and say: the sun will come out, tomorrow, so you gotta hang on 'till tomorrow come what may. Tomorrow, tomorrow I love you tomorrow you're always a day away...
I don't want to sound cheesy here (but I can see it coming) this time of cloud and rain is alot like our life here on earth as we wait for the Son to come back. We can let these periods depress us or we can live for the hope of eternity with the Son and let him teach us patience through difficulties.

Friday, November 17, 2006

not a deconstructionist

Of course language is not an infallible guide, but it contains, with all
its defects, a good deal of stored insight and experience. If you begin by flouting it, it has a way of avenging itself later on.
-C.S. Lewis from the Introduction in The Four Loves.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Frying-pan and Fire

My hand is still sore.

Sometimes it seems as though professors get together and plan to put loads of work on students all at once. We can speculate whether this is because they think it's funny (if they have a strange sense of humour), or if they enjoy loading on the work (if they're evil), or perhaps it is to spur the students on to greater things (I guess for the good of the students) and to give them the reward of finishing all the work at once. But no matter if they are conscious of it or not, piles of work tend to pile up around the end of term.

This being close to the end of the term, today I had two midterms in as many classes. These two exams were particularly matched:
both in 1 1/2 hour classes (and 1 1/2 hours apart)
both in full-year credit courses
both in required courses for English majors (so literature exams)
both consisting (almost) exclusively of essay questions
both worth the same percentage of their respective courses

By the end of the second exam (having written furiously for three hours) my hand was cramping but I was fairly elated. One positive thing (as mentioned above) about having both on the same day is that they are both over on the same day and I do not have to head home to study for another exam (at least not for another month or so)!

Instead I have to write papers.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Horse

A Biblical view:
Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?
Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible.
He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men.
He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword.
The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield.
He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet.
He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting. Job 39:19-25
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7
He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. Psalm 147:10,11.
Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. Psalm 32:9.
The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD. Proverbs 21:31

Monday, November 13, 2006

Label news

Thanks to blogger's update I can, along with other things, apply labels to all my posts. I've come up with a few general topic headings that seem to cover the majority of categories I've covered. This sort of thing holds great appeal to my organizational side so it's an exciting step forward for Still Waters and its Poster. The information from blogger shows other new and exciting options as part of the package but so far this is the only one I'm interested in (and so the only one I've used).

It is my hope, dear Reader, that these updates will enhance your reading pleasure.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Part the first: Affection

I just finished reading Lewis' The Four Loves last night and would like to share a few of the passages I underlined. As an aside, I do realize that I am setting myself up with all these 'first in a series' and 'to be continued' entries for failure of completion but I truly would like to continue these posts and think that by showing my intent openly I might be forced to follow up. Time will tell.

In the chapter titled 'Affection' Lewis describes this love thus:
The especial glory of Affection is that it can unite those who most emphatically, even comically, are not; people who, if they had not found themselves put down by fate in the same household or community, would have had nothing to do with each other. If Affection grows out of this--of course it often does not--their eyes begin to open.
When we reach the point of fondness of others this
means that we are getting beyond our own idiosyncrasies, that we are learning to appreciate goodness or intelligence in themselves, not merely goodness or intelligence flavoured and served to suit our own palate.
He talks of how it is easy to like our friends but that:
The truly wide taste in humanity will similarly find something to appreciate in the cross-section of humanity whom one has met every day.
However, he also points out (as he does with each form of love) that Affection--on its own--is neutral: it can be brought down by sin or raised by God's love. Lewis demonstrates that this is not the view most people hold toward love (I would venture to say that this is probably the result of common grace--that love is experienced or understood by most more often on the good side).
Affection is often assumed to be provided, ready made, by nature...We have a right to expect it. If the others do not give it, they are "unnatural"...
The "built-in" or unmerited character of Affection thus invites a hideous misinterpretation. So does its ease and informality...
the very same conditions of intimacy which make Affection possible also--and no less naturally--make possible a peculiar incurable distaste; a hatred as immemorial, constant, unemphatic, almost at times unconscious, as the corresponding form of love.
He describes courtesy, the outworking of true Affection:
The more intimate the occasion, the less the formalisation; but no therefore the less need of courtesy. On the contrary, affection at its best practices a courtesy which is incomparably more subtle, sensitive and deep than the public kind. In public a ritual would do. At home you must have the reality which that ritual must really give no kind of preference to yourself; at a party it is enough to conceal the preference...Those who leave their manners behind them when they come home...have no real courtesy even there. They were merely aping those who had.
And finally a few miscellaneous quotes that support his argument yet also stand well on their own (I feel as though I might as well write out the chapter in its entirety or just recommend you read the book yourself since Lewis is much better at representing himself than my mediatory comments and unfortunate gaps could ever hope to do)
-The proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs our gift.
-[All loves carry] in them the seeds of hatred. If Affection is made the absolute sovereign of a human life the seeds will germinate. Love, having become a god, becomes a demon.
-The unappreciativeness of the others...enabled her to feel ill-used, therefore, to have a continual grievance, to enjoy the pleasures of resentment.
-The really surprising thing is not that these insatiable demands made by the unlovable are sometimes made in vain, but that they are so often met.
-Affection will arise and grow strong without demanding any very shining qualities in its objects. If it is given us it will not necessarily be given us on our merits; we may get it with very little trouble.
-Once when I had remarked on the affection quite often found between cat and dog, my friend replied, "Yes. But I bet no dog would ever confess it to the other dogs."
-Affection would not be affection if it was loud and frequently expressed.
And a final quote (I promise) on the world's ideas of normality:
Medicine labours to restore "natural" structure or "normal" function. But greed, egoism, self-deception and self-pity are not unnatural or abnormal in the same sense as astigmatism or a floating kidney. For who, in Heaven's name, would describe as natural or normal the man from whom these failings were wholly absent? "Natural", if you like, in a quite different sense; archnatural, unfallen. We have seen only one such Man. And He was not at all like the psychologist's picture of the integrated, balanced, adjusted, happily married, employed, popular citizen. You can't really be very well "adjusted" to your world if it says you "have a devil" and ends by nailing you up naked to a stake of wood.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Roots: The Story Begins...

In my History of the English Language class (I think it's the only class I've mentioned here yet), our next assignment is to write a boigraphy of an English word. The Indo-European root of this word (according to one source) is *sa- which means 'to satisfy'. From this small seed (with various morphations such as *sa-to-, *sa-ti-, *sa-tu-ro & *sa-d-ro-) come several good English words, many of which preserve the original meaning (sate, satiate, satisfy, saturate).

Some, however, come to us through interesting channels: 'assai' is a musical term from Italian (of course) which means 'very' (as in allegro assai). This comes from the Vulgar Latin ad satis 'to sufficiency' (notice how the 'a' is added to the root by metathesis of juncture). But also stemming from this same Vulgar Latin phrase is our word 'asset'! "How?" you may ask. It came to England in the Angl-Norman times and was combined into 'asez' which became 'asetz' which obviously changed to 'assets' Which held the (I'm assuming legal) meaning of 'sufficient goods to settle Testator's debts or legacies'.

This is all well and good but the word that I am writing about is 'sad'. How is this related to the root meaning 'to satisfy'?! Are they not fairly opposite in meaning? I guess you'll just have to wait and see since this topic is

TO BE CONTINUED... (who would have thought I'd resort to gimmics to keep people coming back?)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Some theses

Much of the content of Martin Luther's 95 Theses deals with specific problems in the church that are no longer applicable (in that particular form); I know I've never had to fight against the use of pardons. But nothing really changes, the outer trappings merely morph. It is a constant struggle to stay on the narrow path even in our individual lives, let alone as a church full of fallible human beings. We should never take for granted that our faith is safe.

One of the advantages to reading literature from the past is that it can give us a perspective of our own lives from our 'blind spot(s)'. I may not understand the significance of the finer detals of the practices which Luther was questioning at that time but I can gain from his warnings an insight into human nature and its tendency to attempt to cloak avarice in good intentions, its tendency to prey on the weak and trusting, and its general censorship of those who do not accept the status quo (to mention but a few).

I do not mean to say either that these tendencies are only present in others but rather since they are a part of human nature, all humans have the seeds of these tendecies within their hearts (and 'all' includes me). Therefore we must guard against similar corruptions (hiding in modern clothing) both from without and from within our own hearts.

Another little lesson to be gleaned from reading a few of Luther's theses is that humour can be effective in both softening the blow and driving home the point:
27. They preach mad, who say that the soul flies out of purgatory as soon as the money thrown into the chest rattles.
28. It is certain that, when the money rattles in the chest, avarice and gain may be increased, but the suffrage of the Church depends on the will of God alone.

62. The true treasure of the Church is the Holy Gospel of the glory and grace of God.
63. This treasure, however, is deservedly most hateful, because it makes the first to be last.
64. While the treasure of indulgences is deservedly most acceptable, because it makes the last to be first.
65. Hence the treasures of the gospel are nets, wherewith of old they fished for the men of riches.
66. The treasures of indulgences are nets, wherewith they now fish for the riches of men.

Happy Reformation Day!

The day of the 95 theses, the spark that lit the powder-keg. How could such a world-changing event be left out, forgotten?
But even if we forget the details of events & players in that moment, may we never forget the Holy Spirit who moved them.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

pumpkin-face Wilson

Stu captured this last year around this time. Certainly looks cheerful--his smile seems to glow: I'm sure it would light up the whole room...

smoke soup

My posts are tending toward increasing infrequency as the schoolyear progresses and work piles on. However, today my last class for the day was cancelled resulting in a couple more hours than I had planned on (so I decided to waste them) and I find myself at the computer catching up on one neglected section of my life.

Last night a previously promising soup was left too long on high (probably three hours too long). The ramifications of this are still being felt (or rather, smelled) as the smell has permeated the whole house. I had thought that my downstairs room would escape but did not take into account the circulatory tendency of the heating/fan system.

To fight smoke with smoke, we have lit several scented candles. I do not know whether the stench of badly-burnt-turkey-and-potatoes is preferable to bbt&p layered with varying shades and intensities of scent.

I was think how as we were walking out the door, had we remembered to turn the burner off, we would never have paid a second thought about what might have happened (ie what did happen). However, once the toothpaste is out of the tube, wishes that it had never happend are useless to the situation at hand.

Likewise if we resist a temptation we may never realize what suffering (for how long) has been avoided; yet if we lose our vigilance (the I-havn't-been-hit-crossing-this-road-recently-so-I-don't-need-to-look-anymore tendency) and slip up, the consequences are far-reaching.

I am also thankful that we only have to deal with the incinvenience of a little smokey smell for a few days. Perhaps this will help keep us more vigilant to prevent similar incidents since there is no use crying over burnt soup, yet a lesson can certainly be taken from it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

On Hair

I had my hair cut last week. It was the first time I've paid for such a service for at least four or five years. Not only was this experience a change from my monetary habits, my hair was cut to about shoulder-length (meaning 1/2 to 2/3rds of it was removed) and dried straight.

I love how my hair feels and behaves when it is straight and although there are many ways that it looks good when left to dry curly, when I have time I am planning on keeping it straight. I like variety so this arrangement actually should work out well (as long as I have time...).

Something that this haircut showed me was the difference a little bit of work can make on one's appearance. Although I am not planning on becoming a 'glam-queen' any time soon, I think this haircut will be an inducement for me to spend a little more effort on that aspect of my appearance.

What I have just said about spending more time on my appearance may sound shallow and vain but I truly believe that our outward appearance is important and certain care is beneficial in a number of ways. No one appreciates frumpiness and although so much emphasis is put on the outward appearance in our culture, a reaction to the other extreme is also wrong.

I find that when I take care of my outward self, I am more inclined both to reach out to others and to take care of my inner self. It reminds me of the way that I study better when my room is tidy and clean; I've tried leaving cleaning until I have more time (and sometimes this is neccessary) but in the long haul, keeping things relaitvely clean is the best option. So presenting a decent, pleasant appearance, I believe, helps in our duty as witnesses of Christ.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Quote 1

I have had some time today to go through all the interesting e-mails that my my Mom sends my way. In my reading I came across two pithy quotes on issues that we are plagued with in our 'enlightened' society. The first is about discrimination, the second about terrorism.
"Discrimination is simply the act of choice. When we choose Bordeaux wine, we discriminate against Burgundy wine. When I married Mrs. Williams, I discriminated against other women. Even though I occasionally think about equal opportunity, Mrs. Williams demands continued discrimination."
-Walter Williams

Quote 2

"For too long, the world was paralyzed by the argument that terrorism could not be stopped until the grievances of terrorists were addressed. The complicated and heartrending issues that perplex mankind are no excuse for violent, inhumane attacks, nor do they excuse not taking aggressive action against those who deliberately slaughter innocent people...

Effective antiterrorist action has also been thwarted by the claim that... 'One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.' That's a catchy phrase, but also misleading. Freedom fighters do not need to terrorize a population into submission. Freedom fighters target the military forces and the organized instruments of repression keeping dictatorial regimes in power. Freedom fighters struggle to liberate their citizens from oppression and to establish a form of government that reflects the will of the people...[O]ne has to be blind, ignorant, or simply unwilling to see the truth if he or she is unable to distinguish between those I just described and terrorists. Terrorists intentionally kill or maim unarmed civilians, often women and children, often third parties who are not in any way part of a dictatorial regime. Terrorists are always the enemies of democracy." - Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

fall bouquet

This is actually a bouquet from late summer. Oh, the summer... (I'm not really missing it too much, I just don't have any pictures of Autumn yet).

Friday, September 29, 2006

Music & Flowers

These are just two of my favourite things...

The Musical Bar

I recieved this as a forward in an e-mail from a musician friend some months ago. I saved it to the computer, for I found it fairly funny for a forward, but then forgot about it. However, with upcoming papers looming, I find myself in Word yet again (a place I had not frequented over the summer) and re-discovering things like the following:

A C, an E-flat, and a G go into a bar... The bartender says: "Sorry, but we don't serve minors." So the E-flat leaves, and the C and the G have an open fifth between them. After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished and the G is out flat. An F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough.

A D comes into the bar and heads straight for the bathroom, saying, "Excuse me. I'll just be a second." Then an A comes into the bar, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor. Then the bartender notices a B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and exclaims, "Get out now. You're the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight!"

The E-flat, not easily deflated, comes back to the bar the next night in a 3-piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender (who used to have a nice corporate job until his company downsized) says, "You're looking sharp tonight, come on in! This could be a major development!"

This proves to be the case, as the E-flat takes off the suit, and everything else, and stands there au natural.

Eventually, the C sobers up, and realizes in horror that he's under a rest. The C is brought to trial, is found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of DS without Coda at an upscale correctional facility. On appeal, however, the C is found innocent of any wrong-doing, even accidental, and that all accusations to the contrary are bassless.

The bartender decides, however, that since he's only had tenor so patrons, with the soprano out in the bathroom, and everything has become altoo much treble, he needs a rest, and closes the bar.

I'm surprised no one had a tonic or a root beer....

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"Autograph, anyone?"

Within this past week I have filled out an in-depth survey about my radio listening habits and have been interviewed about my homeschooling experience (for an article soon to appear in a small magazine). And as I was sitting here, writing this, I was called and surveyed about the upcoming Municipal Election!

I'm feeling quite popular at the moment as a reslut (a little taste of stardom where my views are interesting to the broader public). Joking aside, I do think that it is important to get my two bits worth in to these surveys & pols since I like to have my views represented.

Anyone else want to know what I think?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


We are studying Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey this week. He was truly a gifted writer. This poem has much to say about the power of nature on the imagination (especially dealing with memory). I do not agree with all that he concludes about this topic, yet I like some of his insights and observations. One section (lines 61-64) on memories anticipated is well put:
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years.

Another section (lines 81-86) describes the joys & pains of maturation:
That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur, other gifts
Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompence.

The final section looked at here (lines 92-102) is one that from its language seems to describe, in a poetic manner, his perception of God:
And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.

It is beautiful. Yet, sadly for Wordsworth, he identifies this religious feeling with nature herself a few lines later; how tragic that he cannot see Who it was who rules over nature (worshipping the creature more than the Creator). He was so close yet infinitly off the mark. Wordsworth was truly blessed with poetic perception yet what did he do with this gift?

I think, though, that if we understand the position from which he comes, we can still enjoy and benefit from his insights, since they are still insights (and beautifully rendered)

Friday, September 22, 2006


William Carlos Williams ain't got nuthin' on me:

so much depends

a yellow day

struck by sun

on a blue

In praise of etymology, phonology...

I am taking a course this term on the history of the English language. So far I am facinated by what we are learning. Things like: why languages change, how languages change, why pronunciation varies, why we have strange spelling patterns, how certain sounds get cut when we're lazy since they're more work to make, why the schwa is the easiest vowel to form (thus when people are stuck for a word they say 'uhhh') and the list goes on.

Almost everything we learn makes sense and makes sense of other things that I had observed. I am very pleased that I am taking this course and, if opportunity arises, may take more of the same in future...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Psalm 113

I read this Psalm yesterday as part of devotions. Although the pictures here highlight the Psalm differently, what struck me when I read it was the 6th verse: "who humbleth himself". after speaking of His glory and how exalted He is, that verse jumped out at me. It would seem incongruous (almost blasphemous) had we not Christ's story to fill in the blank. But now, knowing what we do, we can completely rejoice in how Christ glorified the Father by humbling Himself and being obedient unto death. What a glorious Savior we have! Praise ye the Lord!
1Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.

2Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.

3From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD's name is to be praised.

4The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.

5Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high,

6Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!

7He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill;

8That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.

9He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.

Monday, September 18, 2006


I'm not sure where this quote originally came from but I wrote it down some time ago and just came across it this evening when sorting through some papers on the desk.
To love is to allow hope into your life.
To hope is to allow uncertainty into your life.
To be uncertain is the essence of learning to trust God to bring only the disappointments He deems best.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


While in my History of the English Language course this past week, I recieved a bit of a shock. I was not shocked by some of the new words that have slipped into common speech (I already knew the language was going to the dogs). I was not shocked by most of the words that have slipped out of common speech (I knew alot of words that I like tend to be rather archaic). However, I say "most" since I was thrown off guard by the casual way that the class passed off the word 'unto'.
Oh, nobody uses that word anymore. Try to think of a sentence that you would say normally that has 'unto' in it.
And that was it. I'm puzzled. To me 'unto' is among the building blocks of our language; it serves its purpose quite well as a preposition and conjunction. Along with this basic function it indicates limits, spatial relationships, motion towards a goal, and the list goes on.

I suppose that "to" is the common substitution but I think a little bit is lost by plunking all these nuances into that one word.

I understand that the language is changing. I understand that without such change the language would soon dry up and eventually die but I cannot help feeling a slight twinge of regret that such a friend is now considered 'out of use' & to be footnoted in modern editions.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A New Season

having starts classes today, I feel as though this marks the beginning of the next season. Autumn has always been a favourite of mine (and this despite the fact that school starts during it!).
One aspect I like about it is that it has two names: Fall & Autumn. Of course Autumn is by far the prettier of the two but it's like having a beautiful name and a pet name (two is better than one). Actually for me Autumn only represents the first half of the season since it is a rich, golden, russet name and I cannot imagine it applying to the dull grey days we get before the snow brightens things up.

So to celebrate this short season before it's gone, here is Keats' lovely poem.

To Autumn
Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plum the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cells--
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river-sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now the trebel soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
-John Keats

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

II Samuel 22:1-28

1And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul:
2And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
3The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
4I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
5When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; 6The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me; 7In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
8Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth. 9There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. 10He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet. 11And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.
12And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies. 13Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled. 14The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice.
15And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.
16And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils. 17He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters; 18He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me. 19They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. 20He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me. 21The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. 22For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 23For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. 24I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity. 25Therefore the LORD hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight. 26With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. 27With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury. 28And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I was experiencing difficulties in the photo upload for an entry I'm preparing so this is a test (and a nice picture).

Enjoy your day!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Canoe Camping

I took a few pictures while on the canoe trip (around 195 or so) so, following the statistical odds, a percentage of them turned out well. This gives me ample material for several posts so please don't get bored with them (I'll try not to put them all in at once).

The camp is shrouded with mist which is turning gold at sunrise on the last day of our trip.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

little flowers

I love little delicate flowers.

The problem with them in most gardens is that they often get lost around showier blooms. But this doesn't daunt me: their exquisit faces are more beautiful for having to be searched out. The thrill of discovery of finding a little double poppy among the rudbekia is worth the exposure to mosquitoes (who also love to hide beneath the shade of taller plants).

I used to be the type who would never pick a flower. "It took enough to get one, so I'm not going to pick it" was my philosophy. But over time I'm coming to realise that I have to spend more time indoors and don't have the opportunity to spend hours enjoying these hidden blooms in different parts of my garden. so now I'm coming to the place where I don't mind picking my flowers. I am better at keeping those that I do pick (thanks to left-over flower food & lots of practice from all those bought bouquets!) and can enjoy a riot of colour brought indoors (in a mosquito-less environment).

I would still prefer to spend hours outside enjoying the blooms but I do enjoy arranging and bringing in the beauty. I find also that picking little flowers and highlighting them in little vases is especially rewarding since it puts them in the spotlight and shows their true sweetness & beauty at eye level.

A little vase with a double poppy, campanula, rose campion, alyssum & lavender graces the livingroom.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Floods

Psalm 93

The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.
Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves.
The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.
Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.


I have often thought about prayer and how it works in relation to other facets of our life. Oswald Chambers has a good entry on this subject in the August 28th entry from My Utmost for His Highest. I shall quote the entry in full since I didn't want to remove any of it but the final paragraph (and the ultimate sentence in the penultimate paragraph) is the section that I found most interesting.
What's the Good of Prayer?
"Lord, teach us to pray." Luke 11:1

It is not part of the life of a natural man to pray. We hear it said that a man will suffer in his life if he does not pray; I question it. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a man is born from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him and he can either starve that life or nourish it. Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished. Our ordinary views of prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.

"Ask and ye shall recieve." We grouse before God, we are apologetic or apathetic, but we ask very few things. Yet what a splendid audacity a childlike child has! Our Lord says--"Except ye become as little children." Ask, and God will do. Give Jesus Christ a chance, give Him elbow room, and no man will ever do this unless he is at his wits' end. When a man is at his wits' end it is not a cowardly thing to pray, it is the only way he can get in touch with Reality. Be yourself before God and present your problems, the things you know you have come to your wits' end over. As long as you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.

It is not so true that "prayer changes things" as that prayer changes me and I change things. God has so constituted things that prayer on the basis of Redemption alters the way in which a man looks at things. Prayer is not a question of altering things externally, but of working wonders in a man's disposition.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I was away this weekend on a canoe trip. Except for one night of wind and rain the weather was perfect. Here are a couple photos (with more on the way):

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Poplar-Field

This poem has a slightly mournful tone but I like it both because of the 'all flesh is grass' sentiment (I Peter 1:24) and for the beautiful description of his memory of these trees. It all seems so shady and cool--exatly like the weather we're enjoying today!

The poplars are fell'd, farewell to the shade
And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade,
The winds play no longer, and sing in the leaves,
Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives.

Twelve years have elaps'd since I last took a view
Of my favourite field and the bank where they grew,
And now in the grass behold they are laid,
And the tree is my seat that once lent me shade.

The blackbird has fled to another retreat
Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat,
And the scene where his melody charm'd me before,
Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.

My fugitive years are all hasting away,
And I must ere long lie as lowly as they,
With a turf on my breast, and a stone at my head,
Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.

'Tis a sight to engage me, if anything can,
To muse on the perishing pleasures of man;
Though his life be a dream, his enjoyments, I see,
Have a being less durable even than he.
-William Cowper

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Psalm 91

1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. 5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. 13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. 14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. 15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Psalm 91 has been among my favourite Psalms for quite a while. At first I was attracted by the two pleasant settings we have for it in the Psalter, then for the rousing words and promises it contains.

I have thought of these promises as comfort for times of trouble. I have not run into times of great peril, personally, but much life may yet be lived and only God knows what is beyond that bend in the road. So I have stored up this Psalm (along with 23, 121 etc) for future use when greater need arises and been content to look on it objectivly as something that shows His great love for us and how we can trust Him for Him protection in our daily lives.

A few weeks ago, someone (probably my pastor) pointed out that this Psalm (vv 11,12)is the one that the devil quotes when tempting Jesus:
And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Matthew 4:6
The implication of this passage being used to tempt Jesus is that this Psalm applies directly to Jesus' life (i.e. prophesy). This is not unusual since many Old Testament passages, Psalms included, are prophesies of Christ and His ministry on earth.

But if we think of the way in which we have a tendency to apply the promises in this Psalm to our own lives (we won't see or have part in any trouble or inconvenience at all) and try to match that up with how it applied to Christ's life (Isa 53:3"...despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:", finally hung on a cross etc) we have to ask if we are really listening to the implication of Christ's words in Mattehew 10:24,25
The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
In other words, are we expecting better treatment than our Master recieved?

But how can Christ be promised "long life" (v16)? The answer is that these promises go beyond this temporal world. One of the aspects of Christianity that I find great joy in (although -- as in my last post -- it can be sorrowful to see) is the way that Christians have a deeper understanding of so many things. Our alliance is not of this world so although we may enjoy some of its passing pleasures, they are not the end in themselves.

Oswald Chambers makes an interesting distinction between deliverance from trouble & deliverance in trouble (My Utmost for His Highest August 2) stating that the first is what many new Christians believe will happen and the second is the way the Christian life actually works itself out. This reveals the deeper, Christian view of deliverance.

This is why we are not afraid of "the terror by night" and its kin: because our hope is in our LORD, we are in His shadow already and we have assurance that He will keep us there (John 10:28,29). What more could we want!?

de profundus

I have read a couple books over the past week or so. Generally I devour books but these just didn't seem to sit right. The books that I read are about (and most likely by) smart men who are searching for truth in the world yet tragically (as the song says) "looking for love [truth/the Savior] in all the wrong places".

I suppose I have a tendency to imagine that everyone is as I am. I do have non-christian friends but we don't often tread as intimately as these books do within the intricacies of their inner being! My friends seem happy, so do I. They have some troubles, so do I. We seem to be on a fairly even surface with a few differences of opinion about points of morality. It is hard for me to understand to what depths a soul without real hope can go.

In the books it was the hopelessness the characters felt that struck me the most. Because of this I felt none of the usual comradeship with the characters. Yet both these books are highly acclaimed so the pictures they portray cannot strike untrue among the critics.

It served as a sobering reminder of how blessed we are and how, because of this, we ought to show our hope in Christ to the hopeless world we are surrounded by.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


This photo may not mean much to some people but there are hidden points in it that represent for me some of the many blessings that I have been showered with in my life.

First, merely materially, the jacket and purse are accessories that I am quite able to do without (I held out long enough until I found just the right one of each that I know this to be true) yet I really enjoy them (because I did get just the right ones) and they bring me joy in their way.
Second, the tiny flowers tucked in to both the purse & the coat (pocket & button hole) remind me of both how God has blessed us with flowers (what would this world be like without flowers?!) and has blessed me with someone to bring flowers to me!
Third, the sunshine reminds me of what beautiful weather we often have here in Ontario.
Fourth, the location (a lookout on the Elora Gorge) reminds me of the day we had fun exploring & admiring the beauty of the Gorge.

These points don't even scratch the surface of many other areas in which I have been blessed: living in Canada, having access to an education, being rasied in a loving, Christian home, having a sound mind in a sound body and others beyond what we ask or think.

We memorized Psalm 103 in our church this past Spring and the first two verses often come to mind when I start to think along these lines:
Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Pslam 103:1,2

Friday, August 11, 2006


I stumbled across a facinating website full of Jane Austen stuff. I havn't explored all the links yet (working hard at that) but there appear to be some really interesting stuff. You too can find it here & and I'll add it to my links when I have time.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

human nature

Great advice for marriage or any relationship we may have.

...if we love a human being and do not love God, we demand of him [the human] every perfection and every rectitude, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; we are demanding of a human being that which he or she cannot give. There is only one Being Who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Why our Lord is apparently so severe regarding every human relationship is because he knows that every relationship not based on loyalty to Himself will end in disaster. Our Lord trusted no man, yet He was never suspicious, never bitter. Our Lord's confidence in God and in what His grace could do for any man, was so perfect that He despared of no one. If our trust is placed in human beings, we shall end in despairing of everyone.
-Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, July 30th


On the 8th day of the 8th month in the year 1888 my great grandfather was born. Were he still living he would be turning 118 years old today.

I think that's pretty gr8!

Monday, August 07, 2006


Just a lonely little nasturtum in an impatients patch...

I love the crisp contrast in the colours in this picture.

I havn't had much time to write lately hence the substitution of content for images.

There should be more mind meat here tomorrow (DV).

I still enjoy pictures, though!

Thursday, August 03, 2006


They may not be brilliant but they're decent creatures and can look pretty when near the flowers

I also appreciate eggs

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

best-known quote

He is no fool who gives that which he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.
-Jim Elliot


I am so thankful that God, through my circumstances and my parents' & church's teachings, guarded my ways while growing up. When I think of all the things I could have done and think of my level of maturity (or lack thereof) at the time I realize that it is only by God's grace (and maybe my chicken heart!) that my feet were kept from straying too far. This applies to all areas of life but I read a poem recently that (once you get past the language to the meaning) speaks to young women throughout the ages about maidenly virtue. Note that it was written by a woman too!

The Resolve
Whilst thirst of praise, and vain desire of fame,
In every age, is every woman's aim;
With courtship pleased, of silly toasters proud;
Fond of a train, and happy in a crowd;
On each poor fool bestowing some kind glance;
Each conquest owing to some loose advance;
Whilst vain coquets affect to be pursued,
And think they're virtuous, if not grossly lewd;
Let this great maxim be my virtue's guide:
In part she is to blame, who has been tried,
He comes too near, that comes to be denied.

-Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

microwave recipe

With this heatwave comes the indisposition to use the oven for anything let alone baking treats. Yet, in this world of modern convenience we can bake our cake and be cool too with this recipe tailored especially for the microwave (it's also fairly quick & easy to make)!

Microwave Coffee Cake
In mixing bowl combine 2 c. flour, 1/2 c. sugar, 1 tbsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt. Make a 'well' in the centre. In seperate bowl beat 2 eggs, add 1/2 c cooking oil & 1/2 c. milk. Pour wet ingredients into 'well' in dry & stir until just moist. Pour into greased 8" dish (microwaveable).

Sprinkle with a mixture of
2 tbsp. flour, 1 tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tbsp cocoa, 1/3 c. sugar & 1/4 c. butter. Microwave at high for 5-7 minutes (depending on wattage, may want to check earlier) turning while cooking. Cool 15 minutes. May want to drizzle with 3/4 c. icing sugar & 1 tbsp. milk. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


always room for another picture post of pretty posies!


I've been reading Jim Elliot's biography (written by his wife) these past few days. What a testimony of zeal for the Lord that is! I have a feeling that a few quotes will appear here sometime soon (once I get around to copying them down).

I'm still digesting what the book means to me but hopefully it will help to spur me on to spending more time conversing with our Lord. I find that it takes some time for things like this book to sink in. Maybe by the time I get those quotes out, I'll be able to express myself more fully on how it affected me.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


My Grandma (a great supporter of little league and a baseball fan) has this simple explaination of the game on the spare bedroom wall (for the uninitiated).
You have two sides: one out in the field and one in.
Each man that's on the side that's in goes out and
when he's out he comes in and the next man
goes in until he's out.
When three men are out, the side that's out comes in
and the side that's been in goes out and tries to
get those coming in out.
Sometimes you get men still in and not out.
When both sides have been in and out nine times
including the not outs, that's the end of the game.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Saints preamble

As long since promised, here is the start of some of my thoughts (or at least an outline of my plan of attack) in reply to the question posed long ago in response to the following post:

Pride is the deification of self, and this today in some of us is not the order of the Pharisee, but of the publican. To say "Oh, I'm no saint," is acceptable to human pride, but it is unconscious blasphemy against God. It literally means that you defy God to make you a saint, "I am much too weak and hopeless." Humility before men may be unconscious blasphemy before God. Why are you not a saint? It is either that you do not want to be a saint, or that you do not believe God can make you one.
Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest (June 12th)

The question was:
What does it mean to be a saint?

Well, this is a good question...
I think sainthood has many facets and thus can be answered on many different levels (However, I am not implying that I am capable of answering it on all levels!).

At this time I am neither capable nor interested in addressing the issue of the Church’s varying positions (Catholic, Protestant, Catholic v Protestant..) through the ages on this topic so I shall completely ignore the church history side of the issue.

Also the question of what it is like to live as a saint can only be understood once the Bible's view on who is a saint is explored.

So we must start with the Bible (always a great place to start anything). I’ve looked up references of saints in the Bible. The word “saint” occurs 95 times.

I am no Hebrew/Greek/Aramaic scholar so I don’t have a clear definition of what the root word behind what is translated in the KJV as “saints”. However, it seems to be used in the same or very similar context(s) as many of the quotes overlap in meaning throughout. Also between the OT and the NT there seems to be a continuation of the same idea.

I will continue this later with a start at some references and the question of who is being refered to as a saint in scriptures.

Hansel & Gretel

I can imagine coming upon something like this is the woods & being quite tempted. Too bad it's usually a witch who lives in places like these. Funny how temptation/evil always looks so sweet...

Still, I'd love to live in a house like this (only maybe not actually made out of food -- it might be a tad impractical).

Okay, I guess I'll settle for making one every Christmas.

Plan Bs

I fixed my watch band this morning. The process was much more strung out and complicated than I had originally planned since several steps had to be added meaning that plan A quickly multiplied into many plan Bs (building and branching off one another).

I wonder now: had I known before I started the lengths I would have to go to fix my watch, would I have made the attempt or simply taken the 'easy' route and brought it to be fixed by someone else (or even purchased a new one)?

Having seen the job to a sucessful conclusion, I am pleased that I tried this task. But I am also thankful I didn't know before I started just how complicated it would be.

I think that often life works itself out in exactly this manner. Thinking of the future, I am glad that I don't know the obstacles set before me because I doubt I would set out if I had prior knowledge of them. But I can trust that I shall be given the strength to endure everything that comes up as it comes up, taking on one plan B at a time.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Millions of peaches

Gma and I have been enjoying lovely ripe peaches for the past few days. Every peach I have taken from the basket has been as near to perfect as a peach can get: juicy, tender, sweet, with not a spot or blemish in sight. At supper last night I commented along these lines to Gma and she thought it might have something to do with these peaches having been bought at the very start of the season.

I had never connected the two before but as she said it, I realized that early crops are usually better. I did know that the first cut of hay is usually better quality. It makes sense. At first fruiting, the plant is overflowing with vitality and gives its best to the fruit.

Something else I hadn't connected until this discussion was that this better crop is the first fruits that we are to give to the Lord! I had only thought the idea of giving Him first fruits had to do with being so eager to give that we do not put off the offering. But if we think of our first fruits as not only the first but the best, it intensifies the standard.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

pic of the day

(and not even yellow!)

In His Courts

I like Psalm 84; I was happy to read it today as part of my devotions. One thing that struck me this time through was the flow between verses ten & eleven; I realized that I had never viewed them as building one off the other.
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

When verse eleven talks of "no good thing will he withhold" my mind has always had a tendency to think of it refering to my list of 'good things' or things that I would really like to have. But the context of what is good is set in the preceding verse.

Long life is indisputably a blessing yet to be in the courts of our God for one day out-balances ten times the length of days anyone can expect to live! When I saw that, the next verse took on a different meaning than I had seen previously. This means that if we are looking merely for temporal blessings we are underachieving! God had promised us eternal life in His Kingdom. Not one day, not a thousand days, but forever! How does that match up against time on earth?

May we learn to align our schedule and priorities with Christ that we may long for time in His courts!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

purty posies

A cheerful vase-full of evening primroses.

This boquet lasted for quite a while. Even though each flower lasts only one day, there were enough buds ready to open for several succeeding days.

telling lyrics

People who know me know that one of my favourite musicals is The Music Man. I love the catchy tunes and clever lyrics. I also love the moments where Meredith Wilson (she wrote the music) drops some of the silliness and deals with interesting issues (she retains the word-play, though).

Marian (the librarian) sings My White Knight, a song I could have sung not that long ago (with some details changed). She sings that dreaming of falling in love is not enough, someone you love must fall in love with you (or you must fall in love with someone who is already in love with you). This sounds awfully complicated but thankfully things like this seem to be worked out every day (what are our chances without God's help?!). I also like the lines starting with "all I want is a plain man..." (just forget that Professor Hill is a con-man for a minute!).

My White Knight

Being in love used to be my fav'rite dream.
Oh, yes.
I've been in love more than anybody else has.
I guess.
My first love heroic'ly ran the streetcar.
I tingled at ev'ry clang clang.
Next I fell for the principal
But, oh that teacher who sang "In the Gloamin'."
Knee-deep in love--what a lovely dream!
And yet, somehow,
Me deep in love's only half of what I'm longing for now.
I still love my being in love with someone,
But tell me, why couldn't there be
Somebody being in love with me?
All I want is a plain man.
All I want is a modest man.
A quiet man, a gentle man
A straightforward and honest man
To sit with me in a cottage somewhere in the state of Iowa...
And I would like him to be more interested in me
Than he's in himself and more interested in us than in me...
And if occasionally he'd ponder
What makes Shakespeare and Beethoven great.
Him I could love 'til I die.
Him I could love 'til I die!
Being in love--what a lovely dream!
And yet, somehow,
Being in love's only half of what I'm longing for now.
And so then,
Tonight I'll be in there dreaming
And hoping that someday there'll be
Just once!
Somebody being in love with me...

A toast to the father of cool

104 years ago yesterday, the fore-runner of the modern air conditioner was invented by Willis Haviland Carrier. It was intended to help a print shop maintain quality printing throughout the dog days of summer but soon the idea spread. By 1915 he, with several other engineers, started their own company and air conditioners were helping different manufacturers consistently to produce products of a higher standard.

By 1924 different benefits pertaining directly to human comfort were seen when people flocked to the first air-conditioned department store. Other stores and movie theatres soon caught the trend and benefited from the popularity of a cool hang-out spot.

1928 was the year that the first home-sized air conditioner was produced. With the Depression and war, sales were not that hot to begin with but as general prosperity of the populace picked up, more and more families picked up one of Carrier's units.

Carrier remains a well-known name in air conditioning to this day. I think we have much to thank this man for so I would like to propose a toast (of something suitably cool like iced tea) to the father of cool who has made our summers livable.

For my main source click here


Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. -Plato

Monday, July 17, 2006


I'm listening to the title song from Gigi. It isn't a top favourite of mine but I have like it ever since first finding it in one of Dad's music books.

It is interesting how a song can bring back memories. This one not only reminds me of playing through Dad's songs but also of a young friend I have. I haven't seen much of Heather since she was in the first few grades of school but at the time that I did see and play with her frequently she would occasionally call me "Gigi". This was not from the song at all (I doubt she had heard of it) but from a shortening of my name.

Many of my memories are connected with songs but few songs connect such unconnected memories!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Last week (while I was absent) mold was discovered behind my bed. This may seem like a horrible thing and it did cause disruption, extra work & inconvenience, yet looking at it in retrospect I can see how several good things came from the incident.

First, casters were affixed to the bottom of my bed. This may not seem that exciting, yet it is something that has been on the long-term to do list for a long time. Not only does it raise the bed from the floor (it's a captain's bed) but it makes it much easier to change the sheets (a simple roll away from the wall and all sides are easily accessible).

Second, my room was cleaned thoroughly and vacuumed (need I comment further?)

Third, my room was rearranged. I tend to take after my Mom in that once furniture has found a place, I am not eager to move it again. Yet I enjoy new things and this move has made my room look like a whole new place to me (doesn't take much to make me happy!).

Interestingly, it often seems that emerging from times when we feel as though we are at our worst (mold isn't pretty!) we tend to advance/grow the most. If the mold hadn't been discovered, my room would have remained unchanged (for who knows how long) but because it was brought into the light, a thorough cleaning was necessary.

I only hope that I remember this lesson when God chooses to mould me by showing me my moldy parts.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

yellow jellow

My favourite colour is yellow; it is so cheerful and bright and beautiful. At the same time it can be clean and fresh yet warm and homey.

I will admit, there are some rather horrible shades of yellow and that some yellows look better in some circumstances than other yellows. I will also admit to wearing many more blues (and maybe even more reds/burgundies) than yellows. But no other colour gives me that same immediate joy on seeing it.

But enough of words! Have some yellow, and may it brighten your day!

little reminders

Yesterday returneth not;
Perchance to-morrow cometh not;
There is to-day; misuse it not.

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Matthew 6:31-34

Some Enchanted Evening

In honour of our first occasion of seeing an open-air performance of Shakespeare this summer, I shall call for a song (or a sonnet).

Sonnet 18
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Though art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall Death brag thou wand'rest in his shade;
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st.

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
- W.S.

It was a performance of All's Well That Ends Well that we had the pleasure of attending yesterday evening. It was enjoyed by all (despite the rather chilly temperatures!) and I am happy to say that it ended well this time too.

In this sonnet Shakespeare touches on the idea of the immortality of writing. Watching the play last night, I was struck how the acting brought the play to life. It can be fun to think about how some words written on paper can become an entity and live on down through the generations; just think how many Helens there have been over the course of time. And yet, although he was speaking of the immortality of the work or the subject through the work, I think that the author also has claim to some of this extra life that seems to be floating around here.

But I'll leave it there since there are so many paths branching off that I don't want to have to keep them all straight.
Just some pots to thonder...