Monday, September 29, 2008

Poetry Reading

My lovely friend Virginia hosted an evening of poetry reading and sipping tea last Saturday night. We dressed up, shared desserts and read aloud to one another (some quoted by heart) a wide variety of verse, reminding me how much I enjoy good poetry. One guest had been a literature major in college, and brought a nice stack of thick anthologies to browse through, so we continued to flip around and find more and more forgotten favorites.

Several people brought original verses they had composed for the occasion, including myself. Mine was a tongue in cheek limerick written in answer to a challenge from our friend Micah. I had mentioned the kind of poetry I'd written in college wasn't edifying -- more man-hating and obsessed with eating disorders. Micah suggested I write a poem contrasting my old mentality with my current happy state. I'm truly not a good poet, but these are the lines I dashed down:

There was a time when I nibbled on leafs
And glared at you all snarfing beefs
but now all that has changed
Josh my heart rearranged
So I guess you could say "love's a feast".

***Edit: Girls, you're quite mistaken if you imagine reading poetry to be a chiefly serious activity. Of course, there were occasions to ponder the words read, but for the most part, everybody read things that drew more than a few chuckles. Josh's original work "Deep Darkness", which was a satyr on the dread life of singlehood (clearly a JOKE) brought hearty guffaws, and I must say I got not only a standing ovation, but also a couple tee hees. One girl read this horridly hilarious poem called "The Lady's Dressing Room" by Jonathan Swift in which a devoted young man discovers, to his disgust, all the gross things his young lady does to beautify herself. We roared. So let me dispel any "refined" myths.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Meditations on Sin and Mercy

Tonight I'm just about overflowing with joy and blessings, not because of any one event or happiness, but because of God's grace measured out to me all day today. I had an extremely long work day today with a myriad of events and conversations (several really meaningful ones) followed by my discipleship class tonight where I was blessed beyond measure by God's goodness to me through the women in my class. So I can't pinpoint it to one THING that is making my cup overflow, but I think I can pinpoint it to one idea.

This morning I "randomly" picked up a new book to sort of thumb through and see what it was about. This is the sort of thing people do in bookstores when they consider making a purchase, but I had been given this book by a kind soul and I set it on my "to read NOW" stack because of the author and title. T
he book is Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul Tripp. I read the intro, the "story" about David and Bathsheba (which I had recently read in my Bible, as well as considered when reading through another good book) and then the Psalm that David wrote after he was convicted of that sin. Then I skimmered through and read chapter 3 "Something in my hands I bring" which is like a streams of conscience-type poem about bringing words to the Lord. Hm. Very original thought.

So I think I have been chewing on this idea of my sin and God's mercy ALL DAY. Sometimes I've been more aware of it and sometimes it's been more seeping in my sub-conscience. But now I come to the end of this long day and I am nearly in tears for all the mercies that have been new to me -- nearly each hour this day. I am so grateful for the opportunity to SEE the mercies. I stumble around so blindly trying to make things happen by my own effort so often that I miss them.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Book-Themed Birthday Party

My sister-in-law Kari threw a first birthday party for her son Max, last weekend. She chose Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? as the theme, because it is Max's favorite book. Guess which Auntie bought that book for him? :) Kari did a great job, and the party turned out really well. I'm so proud of Kari for being such a great mom, and among other things, reading to Max so much. He's sure to grow up loving books and reading with this kind of care! Here are a couple pictures from the party:

If you look closely, you can see the blue horse on the side of Maxy's little cake. He wasn't so sure why EVERYONE was looking at him and singing, but he fell to once the cake was in his reach! (and the candle safely out).

Story time! Kari reads Max's favorite book to all the guests. She has it memorized, and quotes it to him all the time. Maxy was pretty excited and lunged for the red bird page! I just love it when babies love books!

Here is Maxy playing with his present from Uncle Josh -- a real Louisville Slugger with his name on it! Good thing it's still a little bit heavy, or watch out!

Great party, Kari! I wish I had some more pictures of the cake and things, to show the Brown Bear theme, but you get the gist. Have any of you done book-themed birthday parties? I think it's such a fun idea!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lessons Learned in the Dark

So Hurricane Ike sent some of his winds up to us last Sunday -- no rain, just wind -- and wiped out the power in our lovely city. A couple pockets were not affected, but hundreds of thousands of people lost their electricity for a few days -- many have still not been restored! We were out for 3 days, and I tried to take a few pictures here and there to document the lessons I learned in the dark. Some are practical, some more thoughtful -- but here they are:

Lesson 1: You can do a lot of cleaning without electricity. For instance, look at how great my freezer looks!
Lesson 2: Unbelievers can be enormously generous (often putting Christians to shame). Josh and I were fed like kings at the Louisville Slugger Factory where Josh works as a tour guide. They gave us tons of ice as well. Lesson 3: You don't need electricity to enjoy the warmth of friendship -- in fact, you bond quite closely without it. We had a lovely campfire with several friends, singing and telling ghost stories around the fire. No outlets needed!
Here is a picture of me with my sister Emily and her roommate Faith. We had some nice bonding time charging our electronics at the local coffee shop. I appreciated their positive attitudes. Emily didn't complain once even when we had to hike to Java carrying all our earthly goods in backpacks.
Lesson 4: Our school has excellent leadership. Now I knew this before, but it was really good to see firsthand. After the first 24 hours passed without the lights, Dr. Mohler called a meeting on the lawn (where it was light) and updated everyone on how the place would run without power. Free food, canceled classes -- what did I say about generosity?! I really appreciate how everything was quickly addressed and organized. We are so blessed to have this kind of humble leadership on our campus!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Kingdom Kids Prayer Festival

Wednesday night was our end-of-the-summer festival for the kids at church. We had a prayer Festival around the world, as a fun conclusion to learning about unreached people groups in the 10/40 window. The kids got boarding passes and passports, and traveled around the world with their pilots. Each classroom was set up to represent a different people group in a different country. Here's a picture of my room. We were the Khamba people in Tibet. So use your imagination, that is my tent. My room was probably the most creative and imaginative and the LEAST accurate. Ha ha! We can't all have it all. Here I'm serving the cute kiddos Tsampa to eat when they visit my home. I bet when the Khamba make tsampa, it doesn't taste EXACTLY like cookie dough, but that's what it was when I made it. So mostly everyone really liked it. Also, the Khamba do not wear saris exactly. But that is all I had and I tied it differently so it's not so traditional-Indian.
Doris Stam hosting the China room. She's so cute! Her husband, Chip, is our Worship Pastor and the nephew of the John and Betty Stam who were martyrs in 1934. The Stams are some of my favorite people in the world! My friend Amelia, hosting the Turkey room (the kids had just come from the India room where they were shown honor with flower necklaces). Her husband went to Turkey this summer, along with a number of people from our church, Clifton Baptist. What a blessing to be in a community of believers who are so aware of God's movements in the world, and who desire to be a part of that!

Thanks, everybody, for helping! It was a great night of co-operating with a great team of competent , like-minded servants. I'd highly recommend the Caleb project material. The DVDs about unreached people groups are fabulous. Check out their website. I think you could even just use this for your family, or for a geography class in your homeschool group.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Comforts from the Cross

I just found out about this new title by Elyse Fitzpatrick, being published by Crossway in March. I was so blessed by her book Because He Loves Me that came out last spring -- this looks like it will be along the same lines: shorter passages to read everyday to cause us to reflect on the gospel! I would read a few paragraphs of Because He Loves Me each morning right before work, and it was so encouraging. This will be just the same thing. Here's a review I read (not sure why the font, spacing and color are doing this):

"Nothing comforts a woman’s soul more than a fully understood and embraced gospel. But many women aren’t finding solace in their relationship with
Christ because they don’t see how his life, death, and resurrection connect
with soccer practices and swim lessons. Besides, they just don’t have time
to sit down and read a theology book, no matter how much they might hunger
for God’s truths.

That’s where Elyse Fitzpatrick’s latest book comes in. Comforts from the
Cross provides those well-intentioned women with bite-sized readings to
remind them of their place in Christ and of his love and ministry in their
busy lives. It also dusts off the facts of the gospel to show how ancient
truths such as justification, sanctification, and redemption can free and
enliven their souls every day. Even more, these five-minute celebrations of
the gospel relieve readers of legalistic condemnation and empower them for
joyful obedience by engendering fresh love for the Savior.

A perfect choice for gift-giving or personal encouragement, Fitzpatrick’s
book helps active women grasp the practicality of the gospel message and
experience its deep comforts."

Looks like a good one! Here I am with Elyse last March wh
she came to campus.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Begin Reading!

Last night marked the kick-off of my junior high Reading Roundabout, with excited squeals from several of the girls -- okay, well at least from Chrissy. There was a bit of a skirmish over The Scarlet Pimpernel but since it was Caitlin's suggestion, I'm letting her read it first. We do ALL get to read them ALL!

I made some little bookmarks for each book. Here are some pictures of the books, journals and bookmarks. We're planning to get together and discuss after we've passed everything around a bit. I think booklovers cannot help but bond together over a cup of tea -- don't you think?

I've changed the first-round list for the RR, adding and dropping a couple books. For this small group, I figured we'd be better off to go in smaller rounds and change lists more often.
For anyone who's interested, here is the updated list:

1. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy
2. Tramp for the Lord by Corrie Ten Boom
3. These Strange Ashes by Elisabeth Elliot
4. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

In other business, I've removed the post I wrote about Michelle Obama because it was getting the kind of attention I did not want it to get. I know now I should never write about anything political unless I can back it up with some sort of fervent conviction. That post was simply my observations about a speech I watched -- not meant to reflect any sort of political affiliation whatsoever. I realize that for many people anything written about politics is backed up by strong feelings, so it was natural for this post to be interpreted in that light. I'm sorry for anyone I've offended -- I certainly didn't mean to do so. I appreciate the few who commented and knew what I meant and where I was coming from. You won't hear anything even bordering on political from me here henceforth! Even though I was rolling around in my mind a "First-Lady-Fashion-Contest" post . . . just kidding.