September 30, 2008


September 30 is the remembrance of Jerome. I choose to remember his story because it's a reminder of the history of the Bible. Sometimes I think we think (actually, without thinking) the Bible has been around forever, and too, in people's hands. Yes, currently it's in about everyone's home and can be found almost anywhere. We take it for granted. In fact many of us probably have many copies and in many translations.

BUT, for thousands of years the Old and then the New Testament were oral tradition in churches and gatherings. The common populace could never own scripture, let alone read it for themselves till still a period of time after the printing press. For those thousands of years it had to be handwritten and not on today's abundant paper.

Grouping of texts were coveted and guarded. Some monasteries built up around one such text. But a whole canon of what we today know as The Bible didn't begin to come together until around AD400. And then not to the common people. The Hebrew canon was finally established about 100AD. The New Testament began first around the texts written or authorized by an apostle of Jesus. Initially what was used in churches was oral readings for edification of the body.

Jerome had devoted the bulk of his life preserving and caring for early church documents. Jerome was a master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldaic. In 383 Pope Damascus I commissioned Jerome, his secretary, to make a good, complete Latin translation of the Bible. It is called the Vulgate, meaning "common" or "popular". It took him 21 years to complete.

Jerome wrote many commentaries on books of the Bible and was doing the commentary on Ezekiel when Rome was being ransacked and fell, and likened the book to what was then happening. He lived his last years from 386 to 420 in Bethlehem, living as a monk and finishing the Bible translation.

There's so much history in connection to the Bible and it is fascinating. Throughout church history there are many people, who being able to read scripture, would tell the church leadership a thing or two!... And too, when the Muslim peoples started pushing on all the borders of Europe and Constantinople fell, Europe had not had any original language documents, and with the refugees came a lot of original manuscripts and art and all. Which began both the Renaissance and Reformation (both the arts and spiritual attraction to what had not been seen in Europe since the barbarians' destruction). And that starts a whole new era that we're just now maybe attempting to alter into a new era (like every 500 years a transformation of the church)?!

Jerome was noted as a cantankerous, codgy, feisty character, so I wonder about the spirit of his translation! But it was the only one for a thousand plus years and it did spread the Gospel through the known world.

September 29, 2008

Rosh Hashanah

"In the beginning ..." I posted earlier today about when the Christian calendar begins. The Jewish Year begins sometime around September. In Leviticus 23 God says, "These are My appointed feasts which you are to celebrate ... On the first day of the seventh month - mark it with loud blasts on the ram's horn ..." This year, since the Jewish calendar is lunar based and it never falls on the same date every year, Rosh HaShanah begins this evening.

Rosh Hashanah, or Feast of the Trumpets, is the Jewish New Year (year 5769 this year). In the rhythm of my own life I look at this time of year as a new year for me too. School starts, and I get the house cleaned and back together after the busyness of summer. Our January New Year doesn't do anything for me.

Because it's the beginning of the ten High Holy Days, or Days of Awe, leading up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, it's a time of remembrance, of reflection, and of restoration - especially of relationship with God and others. It's a time of putting our physical and spiritual house in order. The shofar (a ram's horn) is blown as a call to awaken the conscience to a time of introspection, contemplation, and prayer, praise and worship.

Jews remember the story of the binding and release of Isaac every year at this feast. They also celebrate the beginning or the Birthday of the World. This would be a good time to bake a birthday cake and read Genesis 1 for the story of Creation.

God asks us to remember and retell the stories. When I read II Chronicles 34 and Nehemiah 8 I was shocked to find hundreds of years of gaps, where many generations of peoples did not tell the stories, and God was forgotten. And along with that would come a lack of identity of not knowing who they were (same with us).

The Hebrew feasts always have special symbolic foods for meals. I love anything that will give me ideas for supper! Rosh HaShanah is a sweet meal because of the hopes for a sweet new year ahead - like apples dipped in honey. I make a sweet challah bread. And instead of the typical sabbath day braid, it's a round loaf - desiring a full round year.

A typical greeting is, "May you be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a good year." I've often thought of sending out the yearly family news letter at this time instead of Christmas, but haven't.

"Keep your soul diligently, never forgetting what you've seen God doing, lest they slip from your heart as long as you live." Deuteronomy 4:9

Christian Calendar

The Christian Calendar begins with the season of Advent - when God incarnated Himself, entering our human history. God asks us more than 300 times in scripture to "remember", and the calendar is a great tool for remembering. Remembering what? All the God-in-our-midst stories - past, present, future - First and Second Testament, and then Third Testament stories. Rather than linear time, view it cyclically, revisiting the stories.

So, some current calendar things:
CS Lewis became a Christian September 28, 1931, while riding to a zoo in his brother's motorcycle sidecar. "When we set out I did not believe that Jesus is the Son of God and when we reached the zoo I did." Lewis had already become a theist, but his conversion followed a long talk he'd had the week before with two Christian frinds: JRR Tolkien and Hugo Dyson.

Some sad dates:
In 1498 a Tomas de Torquemada, of Jewish blood, died Sept 27. He had been made grand inquisitor in Spain. Thousands of people completely at a loss as to what they were supposed to have done, were tortured to death as 'guilty' victims. By 1492, he had all unconverted Jews expelled from all the Spanish kingdoms. (Makes me remember in sadness Salem Witch Trials and other inquisition stories, as well as the many persecutions and massacres of Jews throughout history.)

In 1565 nearly 500 Huguenot settlers in Florida - having fled persecution in their native France - were slaughtered Sept 29 by Spanish soldiers. (Makes me ask, "why do we not like people who are different from us?" Or remember the the apostle Paul, who as Saul, so thought he was doing what was right, when he was persecuting and killing Christians!)


Today is Michaelmas Day. Ever hear of Michaelmas Daisies? They are perennials we can plant that are fall blooming every year. We have wildflower daisies that are purple with yellow centers that bloom in our area all fall - one of the last flowers of the year.

There's a permanent rafia wreath hanging over our kitchen table, and I just removed the summer bees (made of wool with tissue paper wings and yellow embroidery floss stripes) that were hanging from it. I made a felted dragon that I pull out this time of year (and again with my Christmas Nativity). It sits on a rock in the center of the kitchen table. A white sheep wool angel with gold threading and a sword, hangs over the table from the center of this wreath. This visual is for reminding my heart of stories to remember, and help me live my days fuller, because so many ordinary calendar days are full of meaning. Our daily small stories we live, are a part of a larger ongoing story that I want to be aware of!

"A woman, robed with the sun, standing on the moon, and crowned with a garland of twelve stars, was giving birth to a child crying out in pain. There was also a huge dragon ... in front of the woman in childbirth, waiting, ready to eat up the child as soon as it was born ... War broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought the dragon..." What a fantastic story! That reads like Greek mythology ... Read Revelation 12:1-9.

Archangel Michael is mentioned throughout scripture. Like when Daniel was praying for three weeks and on the 24th day he was surprised by "a man dressed in linen with a belt of pure gold. His body glistening and as if sculpted from the precious stone beryl. His face radiated light like lightening, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like polished bronze, and his voice sounded like a huge choir of voices." He had been detained in spiritual warfare which is beyond our vision - that larger story.

If all the mentions of angels in scripture - bringing good news, warning of danger, guarding from evil, guiding and protecting, nourishing, and instructing - functioned as such then, wouldn't angels still be doing this on into today?! Do we live believing this? Each year I give a special focus to this piece of my faith in God, and thank Him for His angels.

Michaelmas is one of the four cardinal points of the year, opposite the Resurrection. In art, Michael is sometimes depicted with balance scales as if he's weighing the souls of men. Do we have our own dragons in our lives? An art piece has Michael gazing at the child lying in an animal feed trough - the child that asks to be born in each human soul. It's a time for contemplation and resurrection refueling of the soul.

"Thank you God for your awesome provision for me.
Help me see the realities of the spiritual realm all around me."

September 28, 2008

Wenceslaus and Vincent de Paul, and Marty

I went to a Quilt-a-Fair with my friend Marty yesterday. We had a full-of-fun day. Marty's and my paths crossed often since highschool and we are very good friends and we live an hour apart, so don't see each other as often as we could. In fact, if she weren't currently a Mentor Mom with me in the MOPS group, we'd see each other much less. And Marty's husband Jim had been one of Monte's housemates prior to us getting married. So there's lots of memories, and we carry on creating more memories together.

Our goal was to walk around seeing the many booths and beautiful quilts hanging around the building, but we first walked around a farmer's market in the parking lot. When you 'walk around' with Marty, everything is an adventure! Her enthusiasm for everything is infectious, and besides her striking grey hair and turquoise jewelry (she grew up on Indian reservations with Wycliffe Bible translator parents) people love her smile, her easy laughter, and talking with her. After the quilt thing, hungry, we ended up walking around downtown Boulder, then sharing a Mexican fajita. 

Today's Christian calendar remembrance is Wenceslaus, but why I don't know, since he was murdered January 6 (my source says) by his brother around 930. He was king of Bohemia and strove for unity amongst the pagans (who ruled) and Christianity (which was persecuted). I think of him around Christmas with the carol "good king Wenceslaus" who was killed on "the Feast of Stephen".

Yesterday was Vincent de Paul's day, dying in 1660. French, he dedicated his life ministering to the oppressed. Founder of the Vincentians, devoted to serving invalids, orphans, war victims, convicts, and galley slaves. Vincent himself once traded places with a convict in the galleys, having heard the man despair of ever again seeing his wife and children. Vincent slaved for weeks until his followers bought his freedom. His name to me is "St Vinny", since we always go to that second-hand store in Wisconsin (along with the Amish) when we visit Monte's parents.

September 26, 2008

Cosmas and Damian

Today is the calendar remembrance day of Cosmas and Damian, twin brothers from Arabia, that nothing is known of, other than that they were martyred during the persecution of Diocletian, around 303. But there are stories (typical hagiography :-) and art work-

Legend says they were skilled doctors, known as "moneyless ones" or "the silverless", because they took no money for their services. My fun saint book mentions a "famous feat of transplanting a healthy white leg onto a plack patient (or vice versa)." Though I didn't read of it elsewhere, there's a picture of it on Wikipedia! I drew a smiley face beside this in my book. Was it a mistake? or probably a shortage of leg possibilities!

The fun stuff of hagiography - like in describing their death. Most serious writings will just tell you they were tortured till beheaded. My book says their bodies caused stones and arrows to boomerang back to the executioners, until giving up, they beheaded them.

So why do I even remember their story? My imagination has fun with what the art piece was wanting us to remember - like living in that man's shoes after the operation! Consider the era - we have surgeons today who do amazing things, but back then? And why martyred? In what way was their life choices a threat?

September 24, 2008


What makes a book a classic? When was the term first used?

On this day in 1904 a Joseph Malaby Dent began to flesh out an ambitious vision of reprinting classic books in what would be called the Everyman's Library.

Are books of old dry, uninspiring, and hardly suited for the fast-paced world the Industrial Revolution brought to the twentieth century - and what do we call today?

I've read, read aloud to my kids, and listened to audio classics for years. I have to put myself into the shoes of the characters and author, desiring to see from their perspective what was going on in their culture. What of their culture drove the events, the inventions - what were the era's questions?

What if all we read are current era/popular books?

CS Lewis said, "A good rule, after reading a new book, is never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between ... A new book is still on trial and has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down through the ages."

How many of today's books will transcend beyond our culture?

This is what defines Classics: an ability to adapt themselves to various times and places and thus provide a sense of the shared life of humanity over the course of space and time. They stretch, shape, and confront us - and are ever new.

Could books help us rise to another level? Do we sometimes habituate ourselves to companions of small statures? I like to visualize it as standing on the shoulders of others, a great cloud of witnesses, for a better view. Reading can take us away from ourselves to where we can step back and see the whole, instead of just 'me, myself, and I', and self-success thinking.

Maybe the more books we can live in, we could be more rehearsed in life: knowing the stage, recognizing the plots and props - having tried out many characters and scenarios. With my kids I thought of the unencumbered time they had to invent their own images, explore thier own fantasies, to create their own possibilities - with both books and movies. They seemed able to get on with meaningful living when they left the nest of home.

Someone said, "In a very real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read ... It is not true that we can have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish."

"A good book is not problem-centered; it is people-centered. It reveals how to be a human being and what the possibilities of life are; it offers hope," wrote Gladys Hunt in her Honey for a Child's Heart, speaking about how many books are agenda driven, with many children's books being moralizing and sermonette style stories. These do not touch the heart.

"The importance of poetry and novels is that the Christian life involves the use of the imagination - after all, we are dealing with the invisible [like God]. And imagination is our training in dealing with the invisible - making connections, looking for plot and character."
- Eugene Peterson

September 23, 2008

Dawson's Giraffe

I just have to post pictures of what Dawson made for his special girl, Splarah, for her birthday this week. I just downloaded them from my camera onto my computer, and looking at them ... they're TOO Cute!

I guess Splarah picked out the material and I find it interesting that Dawson cut the spots out of the patterned material with the brown material underneath, instead of just sewing brown spots onto the surface. He didn't have a pattern, so traced a giraffe from a book and figured the rest out.

After trying to figure out my sewing machine as a young boy (who wouldn't wait until I could be home and show him how everything works!)(and he made the cutest patchwork denim stuffed horse for his sister's birthday), he now knows how to sew. (Sometimes I think it's good to put my foot down and say, "No I can't right now!" cuz he's taught himself how to do a lot of things.)

But I do help him when he asks me and I'm able. He did ask me several times for suggestions with the giraffe. So when I woke this morning and the finished product was sitting on the kitchen counter, I could see how he made our dialogues turn into a cute thing. I'm always glad when suggestions work!

He needlefelted wool onto the giraffe for the hoofs and head detail. Too Cute! It's got personality!

The Hobbit

Two dates this week for JRR Tolkien fans. On September 22, 1921, Tolkien began to recount the stories of Bilbo and Froddo Baggins, hobbits of Middle Earth. And on the 21st, 1937, The Hobbit was published (see the link for the special 70th anniversary edition).

Professor of Anglo-Saxon and medieval literature at Oxford, Tolkien was grading papers, and he turned one of those papers over and wrote, "In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit", not knowing what a hobbit was or what that meant. He started with drawing a map of the sort of world a hobbit might live in.

With 'a little help from his friends' like CS Lewis, Sayers, Williams - the Inklings - Tolkien was encouraged to write and finish the story. Which of course carried on into The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

I'm posting the cover of the 70th anniversary edition because the picture is one Tolkien drew himself. How do I know this? I have his Father Christmas book that is full of all his pictures in letters he wrote to his children over the years, which includes cute postage stamps he drew too.

"Never laugh at live dragons."
JRR Tolkien 1892-1973

September 22, 2008

Albert Einstein Quote

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and science."

September 20, 2008


I'm relaxing. I got unexpected company. Monte came home from Calgary, Canada, a day early, and brought his partner Stan and a Norwegian, H(o-aw)ken, home with him Wednesday evening. Stan left yesterday and Haken leaves tomorrow.

I harvested the broccoli and cauliflower from our garden today - it's blanched and in the freezer. There was 26 pounds of broccoli! Now we'll be getting side shoots that we can eat as they come.

I could harvest chokecherries, but as their name implies, they do do something weird to my mouth, not exactly choking ... but they take so much sugar to make palatable. Some homesteader, maybe seventy years or so ago, planted them here along with rhubarb (the remains of a home is on our property, with outhouse, and a smoker, and spring water storage).

We've been eating BLT's with heirloom tomatoes (Brandywine). The plastic 'greenhouse' Monte covered them with is working great. I can raise the plastic whenever I want to let them enjoy the beautiful weather and for harvesting. I love eating the 'like-candy' cherry tomatoes.

(As I'm sitting here typing, there are several bull elk bugling non-stop outside!)

Did I say we joined a 'local' organic farm a few weeks ago, this late in the season? I weekly go to a pick-up place for our bin of produce. We figure with what we can't grow, and our season about to freeze and be done, and the farm shares go through mid December, we'll be getting fun stuff. I like the surprise of what's in the bin and making creative use of them through the week - like we've gotten these baby artichokes! ...

And oh, you should see the grapes in our greenhouse! We've been eating them. Our guests love them, not only the taste but just the environment of wicker furniture, grow lights and hanging clusters of grapes all over! If we don't eat them all, we put clusters in zip-lock bags and freeze - tiny popsicles!


On this day in history a Vice President was sworn in as president, succeeding James A Garfield, who had been assassinated. Chester A Arthur loved fine clothes and elegant living and had been involved with the corrupt New York political machine.

In spite of his questionable record, Arthur was nominated VP. When he became president in 1881, there was fear. Somehow the responsibility of that high office seemed to transform him into a man sincerely dedicated to the good of the country. He earned the nation's gratitude ...

September 19, 2008

Signs of Fall

Elk are bugling! It's a Fall thing we listen for. It's a 'rut' thing. Out of curiosity I looked up rut in my desktop dictionary: "an annual period of sexual activity in deer and some other animals, during which the males fight each other for access to the females" - that's it! That's what happens, sex education, from our windows' views. (Our houseguest was awakened last night by one bugling "by my window"!) 

The bulls bugle, beginning in late August, the females having hormone surges throughout Fall. They're trying to sound bigger than the other and see who can gather the largest harem. Sometimes we hear (and watch) the clashing of antlers, as they fight for supremacy. Then the rest of the year the big bulls are off in their all male fraternity clubs. (I might pull a picture from the internet Brian :-) (I don't have any pics in my computer photos, but I do think we have more pictures of elk than we have of our kids! I tease Monte.)

Like I posted last Spring, I used to make a Fall chart too, for the kids. Now it's just ingrained that we're aware of the Fall changes. Like the hummingbirds leave after Labor Day, and we look for the flocking of bluebirds or robins, as they're readying to leave for the winter. I always write the first frost on the calendar (last year's was Sept 3) - which we've not had yet this year, which is late (and very nice!). I love looking for the color changes. (We may see Wisconsin's and New England's colors this year!) I've got bear postings on my calendar too, like the time a bear had a well-rounded meal from our freezer!

Aha! I got the elk picture from Dawson's photoblog from last October that he titled "The Sacred Cows of Evergreen". I wish we could have captured pics of all the things we've seen in elk antlers: Christmas lights, hoses, clotheslines with dragging poles (that woke us one night!), our kid's big-wheel, and almost our dogs! We were awakened one night by the house shaking: the bull saw his reflection in our window and thought he'd 'fight' with it! It didn't break our "Hurd" window!! 

September 18, 2008

Galileo Galilei Quote

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."

September 17, 2008

Hildegard of Bingen

Today is the Feast day of St Hildegard of Bingen. I know her story. And like other stories I share, like in August of St Lawrence, from the church calendar, they are stories to remember/retell each year. The protestant movement threw the church calendar out with the bath water, yet it's all a part of church history. People used to wake up and say, "Oh this is so-and-so's day" and remember their story--a God-consciousness. I consider it all a part of the Third Testament, of God-in-our-midst stories. A good reminder that if God was there for them, He'll be here for me.

I googled Hildegard, and knew what I'd find. I wanted to hear a representation of the music she wrote and found some (similar to Gregorian Chant). Most sites tell her story. She's a person of the 1100's, who died September 17 (thus her birthdate into heaven, which is the way the calendar is set up) at the age of about 83. At the age of 8 she began living in a convent. Her education was for what she needed for her daily rounds of prayer, so she did learn to read and write. She had migraines and she had visions. And in her middle age she started writing to kings and popes, and traveled preaching, and people visited her.

Some have passed off her visions to a neurophysiological basis. But not every migraine sufferer can claim Hildegard's achievements. She wrote many hymns, many letters, and many books--some of which are on natural history and science. Once she told about her visions, people, including church leaders, thought they could be from God and encouraged them to be written down.

There's a few sites I knew I would find that are feministic in nature. If I could read German ... I don't know her actual usage of pronouns, but some have translated her writings referring to God as 'she'. The book I have, translates God as 'he'. But, we are all created in the image of God, both male and female, which means 'whatever' God is, we all are representations of that image. So differing pronoun usage doesn't bother me.

BUT...her story, along with some other female saints', remind me of a small book by Virginia Woolf called A Room of One's Own. She was asked to come speak at a male college (male and female were divided in her day). She would be reprimanded throughout the day about things she couldn't do--no sitting on the grass, no leaving the sidewalk, no entrance into the library or classrooms. She had to be met at the door by a man who had invited her. But the message of her book was the fact that women didn't write books. She talked of Jane Austin hiding her writing under papers when servants or guests entered the family room. Women were only to write letters. So if women could have had five pounds of money a year and a room of their own, there might have been more women writings.

So when you start learning the stories of many of the women in the church calendar, you see that the church gave more women a voice than was normal.

A 15th century painting. Hildegard is the young kneeling child.

For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.
-Virginia Woolf

Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But in fact they are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman.
-Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) Woman in the Nineteenth Century, 1845

I meant to write about death, only life came breaking in as usual.
-Virginia Woolf, Diary, 17 February 1922

September 16, 2008


This morning I was thinking "I want to make a scarecrow", so I ordered a couple books from the library for ideas (and some folklore). We used to have a scarecrow on our front porch sitting in an old rocking chair, and I miss it. 

I remember one year when driving through Wisconsin the end of September, a town that went all out with scarecrows - like every home and building were responsible for 'decorating' in front of their place or lamp-post. It really was fun to see.

We do have a scarecrow in our vegetable garden, but we call it our "scare-elk". Someone left this metal knight in our driveway and it's been in our garden since. So I walked down to the garden and took a picture of it, as well as some other scenes from the garden. 

I have tons of broccoli ready to freeze! And forget the giant zucchini - they'll go in the compost bin.

I love the old sink in the garden to wash the dirt off right there, so I can eat stuff while I'm watering or weeding. Right now the carrots are great! I ate some snow peas while there today. We still have spinach, lettuce, and beets. Don't know if our winter squash will mature this year - it started off too cool.

September 14, 2008

GK Chesterton again

"If there were no God, there would be no Atheists."

I'm mentioning his quote only because there was a time in history when Christians were called Atheists by the Romans. It was in the early Roman Empire and the Christians only believed in one God when the Romans had many gods.

Holy Rood/Cross Day

Today is Holy Cross Day on some liturgical calendars. Rood is the medieval English word for the "cross of Christ".

For me? it's to remember a piece of history and God's entering into our history. Constantine's mother Helena, in her 80's, wanted to visit Israel before she died. She wanted to find the places significant to Jesus' life. Having located what she thought would be the site of Jesus' crucifixion and then burial, she had the Church of the Holy Sepulchre built and it was dedicated September 14, 335.

The story is told, that Helena had a temple to Aphrodite destroyed before building the church, and some crosses were found buried on the site. There's differing tales telling of one of the crosses healing/bringing back to life a woman, so it's believed to be the cross of Christ (or pieces of it).

Helena herself desired to see and touch parts of the world touched by Jesus. As with many things, human nature tends to focus more on relics (souvenirs, buildings, traditions, ways of doing things) than on the One who makes everything meaningful.

As I posted a bit ago, about my curiosity - when did people start praying to Mary?, or I wonder about when the belief of purgatory began and why? ... I read something that has me curious as to the roots of "making the sign of the cross". Scripturally, Ezekiel makes reference to an angel sent to put a mark on the foreheads of the faithful, as well as in Revelation. Tertullian, 211, wrote that Christians seldom did anything significant without making the sign of the cross. There's more to the thoughts, involving Hebrew and Greek words and letters.

But something said by a preacher interests my visual imagination and is worthy of reflection: "Draw an I and then cross it out. As we make the sign, we first draw a vertical stroke, as if to say to God, 'Lord, here am I.' Then we cancel it with a horizontal stroke, as if to say, 'Help me, Lord, to abandon my self-centeredness and self-will, and to make you the center of my life instead. Fix all my attention and all my desire on you, Lord, that I may forget my self, cancel my self, abandon myself completely to your love and service.'"

God values my SELF, loves and died for me, Karey, as ME before getting myself together, and in my returned gratitude and love for Him, I'm drawn into His embrace, and am being made into a 'wholer' self!

September 13, 2008

Tapestry of Faith

A great blog article by David Neff titled "Three Little Pigs and the Life of Faith". He compares changes in theological systems using quotes from both Garrison Keiller and Robert Webber (two people I too, listen to, in analyzing my own theological system I grew up with).

David Neff ends with, "That is my experience as well. Leaving my little brick house did not mean being attacked by the big bad wolf. It meant discovering other houses, other people, other communities that (to shift the metaphor) presented a rich tapestry of faith.

But that tapestry, both Webber and I discovered, is not entirely woven of rationalist threads. Some of its fibers are images. Some are songs or poems. Some are inexplicable experiences. Some are miracles. Some are mysteries. Woven together they present us with a picture, an icon, of God. They do not contain God, but reveal him in glimpses. And that is something that brick walls can never do."

As a textile artist, I love his tapestry metaphor.

William Carey's Missional Influence

On this day in 1792 William Carey, a village pastor and cobbler, wrote An Inquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathen in which the religious state of the different nations of the world, the success of former undertakings, and the practicability of further undertaking are considered (there was an era of fashionable long titles!)(I see there's a biography of him with a subtitle "Obliged to Go", a take off from his book's title - and I had read it aloud to Dawson).

Carey wrote the book as a response to the popular pseudo-Calvinism of the day - which held that God would convert the lost when He wished and that nothing men did could possibly alter His timing. His book became a catalyst for evangelism. Thus he's known as the "Father of Modern Missions".

In fact, the times believed Jesus' commission to His twelve disciples of sharing the Gospel message died when they died. William argued that "preaching the gospel to the ends of the earth" carried on throughout time. A Reverend angrily replied, "The Almighty does not need a man to speak for Him. He will enlighten the heathen in His own way, when He sees fit. It is not our place to interfere with this process."

William Carey went to India. Not only did he work at translating and education, he indefatigably fought to change some of India's barbaric practices - like the prohibition of infanticide and sati. At 73, he died in India in 1834, having watched his children and wives die.
"Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God". - William Carey

September 12, 2008

Homemade book cover with felting

I'm getting ready to go to tonight's "Show & Tell", where artists (any who value creativity) from our church gather in someone's home. I'm bringing a book I made and added a piece of my needlefelting to the cover.

I've been making homemade books since I was in high school. My sister still has the many books I wrote, illustrated and put together for her. I had my kids make books. If they had an adventure, cool dream, or something they wrote, we'd often make it into a book and I'd have them illustrate it. We'd make extras so to give to the Grandparents as gifts.

Now I can make books with A LOT of pages because a couple Christmas's ago my daughter-in-love's sister Annie showed us how.

e e cummings quote

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.


I just read that today is the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary. This is new to me. The only reason I'm mentioning it is that I remember reading when my kids were doing a high school history curriculum, that praying to Mary began during Europe's plagues. I don't know if that's true.

What was mentioned was that people were so distraught, and maybe mad at God, that the mother of Jesus seemed more approachable. That people started praying to her thinking she'd pass it on to Jesus.

Like I said, I don't know if this is true. Maybe someone could enlighten me.

September 11, 2008

Wendell Berry Quote

"If we are to hope to correct our abuses of each other and other races and of our land, and if our effort to correct these abuses is to be more than a political fad that will in the long run be another form of abuse, then we are going to have to go far beyond public protest and political action. We are going to have to rebuild the substance and the integrity of private life in this country. We are going to have to gather up the fragments of knowledge and responsibility that we have parceled out to the bureaus and the corporations and the specialists, and we are going to have to put those fragments back together again in our own minds and in our families and households and neighborhoods. We need better government, no doubt about it. But we also need better minds, better friendships, better marriages, better communities. We need persons and households that do not have to wait upon organizations, but can make necessary changes in themselves, on their own."
-Wendell Berry

September 10, 2008

Aerating/Weeding ;^)

I can't believe what I just did!! I aerated our lawn with our electric drill!

ACTUALLY ... I read in one of my garden books about planting some very early Spring flower bulbs in the grass. Since we've been doing tons of landscaping this year, we left only a small bit of lawn. I ordered a bunch more flower bulbs to plant in these new areas. So when I read about putting this flower in the grass ...

I've been wanting to aerate the grass, but not rent this huge aerator, and overseed the grass with new grass seed. I got this auger that goes on the drill for planting bulbs, but it's rather big and these bulbs are really small. So I put the 1/2" drill bit in, and started drilling holes in the grass.

I threw out the 100 bulbs of Chionodoxa, Glory-of-the-Snow (blue flowers), scattering them all over the grass. Then I'd drill holes and periodically put a bulb in it. And you know what? It's a great way to dig out dandelion and other weeds. Then I scattered grass seed and compost over the area.

I wonder what our neighbor's think ;^) of our doings sometimes.

Peter Claver

Peter Claver declared himself, "the slave of the Negroes forever." Born in Spain in 1580, Peter became a Jesuit and gave his life as a missionary to the slaves. His mentor, Alfonso de Sandoval, who wrote about the evils of the slave trade, attacking the system, devoted his life to the service of the slaves too, working forty years before Claver arrived in Columbia, to continue his work.

Peter daily visited the slaves, bringing food, medicines, and clothing to the disease-infested holds of the ships. Columbia was the clearinghouse of the slave industry, where a thousand slaves arrived each month, one-third having died on the way over. Then the slaves were shut up in cages, like animals. Peter used interpreters, pictures and actions to tell them of their human dignity and God's love. It is estimated that he baptized 300,000 slaves.

Slave merchants and the local populace did not like or give support to Peter. They felt he profaned the sacraments, thinking negroes were creatures who did not possess souls. Peter died September 8, 1654, and had two funerals, one held by the white community and the other by slaves and Indians, the outcasts.

"We must speak to them with our hands, before we try to speak to them with our lips." -Peter Claver

September 8, 2008

The Mayflower

I'm a descendant of a great, great ... grandfather that sailed to America on the Mayflower. They finally, after lots of problems, set sail in 1620, on September 6, arriving in what was to become Massachusetts, 2 months and 5 days later! (Gregorian calendar would change that to Sept 16 and November 21.)

Use your imagination (I have Bradford's journal) landing in a totally new world at the start of winter?!! I don't like to imagine. It had to be awful!

101 passengers on a ship ninety feet long and twenty-six feet wide. Eating only dried fish, cheese, and beer. And only a single slop bucket for sanitary accommodation. No bathing ... and think of the stench of nausea - when only standing on terra firma abates that (I know!). Only one passenger died at sea.

The Mayflower didn't sail home until April and the passengers used it for their winter quarters. Only 53 people survived the winter.

September 7, 2008


I'm trying posting from my iPhone. It's definitly not the way to write a blog post! Since Dawson got the new iPhone I finally got this phone, his old one, totally functioning. Company is gone and I am Vegging Out!!!

September 5, 2008

Mother Teresa

I'm really busy with company, but just had to write that I'm remembering Mother Teresa on this day. On September 5, 1997, God called her home.

My daughter Heather and I watched a movie on her. With Heather's love for the elderly and caring for them in their last days - from nursing homes, assisted living, day care, and home care - I often told her she reminded me of Mother Teresa. Heather's desire, like Teresa, was to see them cared for and smiling in their last days, serving Christ.

September 4, 2008

Chesterton Quote

From the very quotable GK Chesterton -

"Paradox is truth standing on her head to attract attention."

The greatest paradox was Chesterton himself: a massive man whose nimble thought danced through his day, entertaining and enlightening millions, and on into the present. CS Lewis said that Chesterton was his mentor, as was George MacDonald.

September 3, 2008


Been working like crazy around here landscaping and finishing things up for this year's season. My high-low thermometer last night registered below freezing for the low, but nothing looks hurt.

We had our neighbor's tractor again over the weekend, so still 'playing' with stuff (in fact, friends that come and spend the night with Dawson, like learning how to operate a tractor! and melt metal in a forge ...). 

I had MOPS today and ran errands all afternoon, so I  haven't checked my veggie garden. What will show suffering signs first would be the green beans. I'll see tomorrow.

I love nature's colors. I'm glad I'm not the Creator - I might have done colors that are 'tiring' to the soul. So often as I see wildflowers, I see color wheel complementary colors - like lots of yellows and purples. I'm posting a picture of my purple clematis, sunflowers- big (planted by chipmunks from birdseed) and small, lavender, and then there's the ripening crabapples (and grape vine, and borage, and russian sage, and ... I garden 'cottage garden' style - crowded!)

Monte and me got the plastic cover, like a mini greenhouse, put up for the tomatoes yesterday (The pic below shows the wood pieces up, without the plastic, which is on the south side of our greenhouse that's attached to the house). We do this every year and it extends the tomato ripening season at least another month or two. Then we pull them out onto a tarp, and pull it all into the garage to ripen more (getting red tomatoes into December). Monte says the broccoli is looking beautiful, so I'll be freezing it soon. Gotta make zucchini bread!!

We joined a 'local' family organic farm last weekend. Their growing season goes into December. So once a week we'll start meeting a truck for our 'family share'. We're thinking it'll have produce from here on out that we can't grow with our cool and short season. So, looking forward to picking up these 'surprise' boxes. Whatever is excess for us we'll share with our neighbors.

I'm posting more pics of Dawson's rock-beds I planted. A back bed of permanent bushes, some with a winter visual interest. Then a bed that's a designated herb bed. I transplanted lots of my scattered herbs from other beds and pots into this bed. Most are perennial, and the few annuals I'm hoping might seed.

Then there's a swallowtail butterfly Dawson captured while doing his rock work and posted on his photoblog. He's always got his camera ready, since he tries and post pictures daily - great practice - always 'seeing'.

Did I say we have more company coming? Monte's partner in geology, Stan, comes in tomorrow. Then two Norwegians come in Friday. They all fly out for Calgary Sunday morning. I'll be 'home alone' for 1 1/2 weeks (not really with Dawson still sleeping here).

September 2, 2008

French Revolution Martyrs vs the 'Lapsi'

September 2 is a day set aside to remember all the massacred religious people during the French Revolution. They stand together in the church's memory because they all gave their lives for Christ. The French Revolution wasn't just against aristocracy, but also against the church. Over 185 persons who refused to deny their faith were killed. "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" was the motto of the Revolution, but apparently only if you followed the fashionable national establishment.

This reminds me of another era. During the Decian Persecutions in the Roman Empire, many Christians didn't want to suffer torture and die for their faith. They were called 'lapsi', and later some of these felt remorse for their betrayal of Christ, who had suffered and died for them. They asked to be readmitted to the church. A schism developed over this issue with some saying that no lapsed person should be readmitted. This controversy lasted for awhile and brought about deaths too. September 1, 252, the North African synod voted with Cyprian to give grace to these people. Cyprian was martyred two years later.

Some commitments demand our whole selves.

Jesus is my example. Jesus willingly went to the cross for me, for all. And He too forgave Peter for denying Him before others. I wonder at times ... what would I do under such duress?!

Calendar Riots

Today, in 1752, Great Britain and her American colonies followed the Julian Calendar for the last time. The rest of Europe was already using the Gregorian Calendar. In accordance with this calendar, the following day, after today's date, became the 14th of September.

But we humans are so silly at times. Because people thought the government had cheated them of eleven days of their lives, there were riots in the street.
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