Monday, March 24, 2014

The End of My Rope

It's been weeks since I've felt caught up on sleep.

Nearly a month since I've written in my journal.

More than a month since I've really read a book.

Days since I've had a good hour to dig into the Word.


It's been a while since I've felt in control.

On top of my happening life.

Ahead enough to plan for new things.


Most days I feel like I barely keep my head above water.

Like it's a struggle just to stay current with day-to-day events.

Then taxes loom in front of me.

And expenses descend upon me.

And my room's a mess.

And there are emails unwritten.

And phone calls unmade.


My spirit begins to cry out in thirst for true Water.

And my soul begins to shrivel in the cold.

And my temper's suddenly short and brittle.

And in desperation, I finally throw myself at Your feet.


Ignoring the thousands of chiming voices -

The hundreds of chores and to-dos yet undone.

The clamor grows louder, but I know, yes, I know.

First things not put first only grow desperate cries.


I'm at the end of my rope.

With naught but a frayed strip 'twixt my fingers.

And I can't afford to listen to the canyon, deep below.

So in pain, hands bleeding, muscles quivering, I focus -

Focus, on the rope, held taut, far above me.

And the deafening cries subside.

And I'm drawn up by You.

And I realize that, here, I always should dwell:

At the end of my rope.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

And the Winners Are...

Coloring in her zone

Are you ready for this? It's the moment you've all been waiting for - sitting on the edge of your seats, refreshing the page every 10 seconds, dying to know who the ecstatic new owners of these fantastic books are. And I don't blame you one bit. These books are the bee's knees, the cat's meow, the...why do all the "top-notch" sayings have to do with animals/insects? Who wants anything to do with such creatures when books are in one's sights?? Who -- wait, seriously, are you still reading this? If I were you, I would have scrolled down to see the winning names ages ago. I probably wouldn't even have read this paragraph. At least not until I skipped to the end and found out if I was a lucky book winner. I mean, seriously. What's the point? Who wants to read rambling words and tired thoughts when she could be doing a happy dance over new additions to the library? Aren't you sick of this yet? I am! :p

Sadly, there will be no video, as originally intended, to record the heart-stopping moment, as...well, you know all about Polly. Howsomeverso, I have the bowl of names right here, and as I reach into the bowl, I draw the name...

Congrats! You have won The Book That Made Your World!!

Hooray! Can we hear a round of app- what? Ok, fine, I'll draw the next name. You ready for this? The winner is...

Huzzah, Gracie! You have won Peter Pan!!

For all those of you who read, commented on, and participated in my bloggy-birthday: Thank You - you are truly the bee's knees!

And for those of you weeping now for not being a lucky winner: do not loose heart. There will be another just-for-fun giveaway in a few short weeks, courtesy of an adventure I am going on. Stay tuned!

{photo credit}

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day, Give-Away Ending, the Death-Of-All-Things-Battery-Operated, and Lessons from Anna

Inspiring title, no?

This is a post wherein I hereby bestow upon you a potpourri of such thoughts and happenings as have so defined my wee Monday.


Part I:

Happy St. Patrick's Day!! I almost forgot to wear green, had soggy iceberg lettuce instead of cabbage (apparently brothers don't tend to notice the differences between the two when shopping...I mean, the label "iceberg lettuce" and "cabbage" have at least 3 letters in common) and didn't even remember to watch this 'dorable tradition-of-a-video with the Littles:

Nevertheless, the sentiments expressed in this post (coincidentally one of the first posts on my blog) remain the same as I consider the day. Pray for Ireland!

Part II:

I realized there was rather a lack of information regarding last week's give-away! It officially closes Tuesday night (March 18th), at 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time. Wednesday's video post will reveal the winners!

Part III:
And now, for a sad tale.

Once upon a time there lived a girl (that's me) who had a job (that's music teaching) to go to upon a Monday morn (that's today). She ventured forth into the sun and cold (that's March weather), only to be rudely stopped dead in her tracks by a dead car (that wouldn't even start!). Said girl (still me) called upon her helpful bro (Mr. Doesn't-Know-Cabbage-From-Iceberg-Lettuce) to assist her, and since said brother was brilliant (despite some minor deficiencies in reading skills), he righted the aforementioned wrong (that is, a dead car) in record time. Thankful girl (who had only had to cancel the first two lessons of the day) drove off into the sunshine, sure of a happily-ever-after ending.

But it was not to be.

Several hours later, tired girl (that is, the first person) returned home and opened up her computer to check email (that is, paperless communication). No sooner had she loaded the page then said laptop (that is, Polly) "popped off as you might say" (who knows that quote?), never to be resurrected again. Aforementioned girl (SarahJayne) nearly cried with remorse that all things battery-operated were thus withering beneath her touch, and bravely called her father (on a battery-operated cell phone which did not die), who promptly reassured her all would be well.

And so she hopes for her happily-ever-after ending...

Part IV:

We were studying Anna this last week in our girls' Bible study, and I found these discussion questions particularly convicting. Too often, I am tempted to think merely that how I act around people is testimony enough to my Savior. I mean, with the Holy Spirit in me, how could the difference not be obvious? These questions challenged me to look for every opportunity to faithfully, verbally point to Christ. If I am the only one who could speak to them of Truth...what a tragedy for me to say nothing and wait to be asked.
We don't know what happened to Anna after the experience described in Luke 2. We can only imagine that she told everyone she knew about God's revelation. What do you tell everyone you know? If their encounter with you is their only spiritual encounter, what are they learning? - John MacArthur, Twelve Extraordinary Women
What are ways you speak of Christ, even when just having met someone?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Birth Announcement ~ A Guest Post by Lauren

He may have already stopped hoping by the time Hope was born.

Over 400 years of silence from God overshadowed this man’s ancestors.  It was a silence that rivaled the 430 years of Jewish slavery in Egypt.  And this Jew, born in the Egypt that had enslaved his ancestors, thought he may as well have been hoping for a resurrected Moses liberator as for a Messiah after all that silence. 

The way this man Philo saw it, it was time for God to step out from behind His curtain and once again declare “I AM.”  But Philo Judaeus wasn’t seeing even a rustling of the curtain, so he decided to yank it aside himself.  Moses was lost up on Mt. Sinai, and Philo took his cue from an impatient Aaron, building his own Messiah in one Greek word: logos

He used a little dab of Plato, a good helping of Hebrew Scripture misinterpreted as merely allegorical, and sprinkled his new creation with the other philosophies of the day. 
He married philosophy with God and birthed his own mediator between God and man: logos, which in his mind meant “reason.” 

Meanwhile, the true Logos was being born of a virgin in a forgotten stable in a conquered Israel

Philo, looking back on the baffling centuries of silence, said that God was unknowable.  He said that the world was senselessly evil, and that since God could not come in contact with such blackness, He could not have directly created it.  This is where Philo’s logos came in, the neither unbegotten nor begotten second-in-command to God, the mystical mediator of God’s powers to humanity, the philosophical substitute for the Messiah. 

Meanwhile, the true Messiah was getting to know fishermen and tax collectors.  He, as one with God, was performing miracles and changing lives.  He was getting dirty and tired and hungry in villages and on roads, yet He was utterly and completely God at the same time.

Philo saw his logos as “reason:” impersonal, archangelic, the Idea of Ideas. 
Yet the Messiah on the cross was not impersonal, nor merely angelic, nor a mystical idea.  He was Someone greater: the Word become flesh who dwelt among us (John 1:14). 

“In the beginning was the Logos” carries with it a declaration as weighty as the entire history of the world:
Jesus is the Logos who spoke the world into existence.
Jesus is the Logos who fulfills the Ten Logoi: the Ten Commandments.
Jesus is the Logos who declares “I AM.”
Jesus is the Logos who broke 400 years of silence.
Jesus is the Logos who was seen by human eyes and touched by dirty human hands and heard and known by His creation.  He was just as much the Word when He was in Mary’s uterus as He was when He was bleeding on the cross or sitting at the right hand of God. 

Yet Philo may have already stopped hoping by the time Hope was born, settling for a God who needed the universe to avoid a death of loneliness and a logos no greater than the limits of Philo’s own human creativity.

But when John divinely penned, “In the beginning was the Word” and “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” God divinely shattered Philo’s idol of reason and his convenient pseudo-Messiah that fit his culture, emotions, and demands of God. 

With “In the beginning was the Word” God divinely shattered the convenient idols of my age, too: the pseudo-Messiahs that fit nicely into my boxed traditions of who I think God should be.  John used the very Greek word Logos that Philo had twisted, with all the weight of the Jewish history, and bridged the way to the the Word for both Gentiles and Jews.

It was the birth announcement of our Hope.  And with that, 400 years of silence was shattered by the Word, crying in a stable.
Lauren’s best friends are her family–her parents, Steve and Jennifer, and her five siblings. She is passionate about history, good music, and being a feminine woman in a feminist culture. You’ll find her blogging at One Bright Corner with her twin sister, Mikaela, and typing behind-the-scenes on the Christian Heritage blog and newsletter. When she’s not doing that, she loves teaching music, being outside, and ministering with her family!

{photo credit}

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I Mean, Logically, It's Impossible ~ A Guest Post by Benjamin

{Psst. If you just got here, don't forget to hop over to Monday's post and enter the give-away drawing! Two books that I totally love are waiting for a happy home!}

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The Naturalist viewpoint is the most prominent in academic society. One cannot enter a study of the sciences and not be bombarded with this concept, and why not? It is scientific, reasonable, and really the only logical set of answers for reality. Let’s examine some of them, shall we?

The world began billions of years ago. From completely natural phenomenon, the entire universe came into existence via some form of explosive energy. Then, over billions of years through the process of natural selection, life and the division of species evolved into what it is today. The process has not changed, and we are still in the midst of it!

Well, actually there is no proof that the earth is billions of years old (how could there be any direct proof about the age of the earth?). In fact, in a uniformitarian environment, our planet could not have continued to its current state – due to erosion, for example, we would be a giant ocean planet. In addition, it defies the First Law of Thermodynamics to think that everything could come from nothing. And while macro-evolution has never been observed, we’ll still call it science, despite the fact that science is an observational study…

But of course, it’s all completely logical…

Let’s move onto faith and science. Faith and science should not be intermixed at all – one is a personal view of their inner self, while science is what actually explains the world around us. Your five senses, and the equipment built by man, are the only things we can trust. No, faith has absolutely no place in science.

No, of course my “worldview” doesn’t affect how I view data at all. Scientists have absolutely no bias based on their personal beliefs, unlike every other human-being on the planet. And yes, our senses have deceived us on multiple occasions, and our equipment is bound to fail at certain points. No, I’ve never seen an atom, and I definitely DO NOT have faith that it exists, I just believe it without seeing it…

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Yes, well, um… final point:

If you can’t see, touch, smell, taste, or hear it, it absolutely cannot exist – it’s simply random firing of neurons in your brain. Look at us – we only rely on what we can for sure predict to be true. Human philosophical inventions have no place in modern society – only what is observed to be true.

Gravity? Well, yes, it exists and we can measure its effects, but to actually touch it… um… macroevolution? Well, it hasn’t been observed, just deduced from microevolution… Numbers?... well, numbers are… they’re…

But I assure you, all our assumptions are completely realistic, rational and observable. I mean, logically…

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. – Romans 1:20-23

Ben is the younger [big] brother of SarahJayne. In addition to composing rather satirical pieces, he enjoys composing music, re-enacting at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, and working at Hewlett-Packard. He’ll be graduating from college in May, after which he plans to travel the world… or at lease France, England, and China. He used to blog once-upon-a-time at White Knuckles, which his older {little} sister hopes he will resume upon graduation.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Grown-Up Neverland ~ A Guest Post by Karlena


I know that most of you are probably tired of hearing bad news about the sorry state of the world today.  You might feel fed up with people constantly repeating more evidence of a society in demise.  Perhaps you find it depressing to hear of the news of the day.  Please, bear with me.  The following news is too important for you to ignore.


And not just Peter Pan either.  Wendy, John, and Michael have all grown up with him.
“How do you know”, you ask.

Simple.  Just listen to the way today’s adults talk (or “speak”, as my mother would have said!).

Children everywhere are being subjected to horrendous things, like “soup”.  When did adults stop serving “pottage” to their “crew”?  Instead of combining their “pottage” with a “Dagwood”, kids are expected to eat “sandwiches” with their “soup”.

And whoever heard of telling a child to “stop eating with your mouth open”?  I remember when adults said fun things, like, “Quit masticating like a cow”.

Why, when I was a child adults understood that kids wanted to be told, “Your conveyance awaits”.  Nowadays you only hear, “Get in the car”. 

I, personally, am about fed up with that nasty new phrase, “Use your inside voice, dear”.  Is this not truly atrocious?  Who decided to stop telling children not to be so “boisterous”? 

I am sure that you have heard some adult say, “Walk your feet, honey”.  (I always wonder if the young person has the right leash?)  Why should children “walk their feet”?  Has no one taught them how to “tippy-toe softly- we don’t want to wake the mice babies”?

When did we forget the beauty of words?  How did we allow our day to day activities to rob us of the great vocabulary of yesteryear?

When did we forget the joy of hearing the words, “an egregious error” roll off our tongues?  I remember enjoying that saying so much, I would whisper it to myself at night!  I thank God for a mother who said, “THAT was an egregious error”!

photo credit
Mother was no grown up Wendy.  She understood how words could change everything.  That is why she never said, “You kids go play outside”.  She said, “I think that there is a new foreign country somewhere in the backyard.  Why don’t you children go explore it?”

Father also enjoyed using words that were worth saying.  In fact, he enjoyed using words of too many syllables to be written down here!  Father is a theologian and always believed that his kids are bright enough to know what “justification”, “redemption”, “sanctification”, and “eschatology” meant. 

I think that Dad and Mom understood that words were gifts from God.  They also understood that it is through words that we are introduced to God!

Do adults still read aloud to their children from the Bible?  Or do they think that their children are too dumb to understand what God has written to them?

As a child of God, I am thankful that He did not choose to speak to me in simple, nursery rhyme fashion!  Nor did He write a simpler “child’s version” of the Bible.

Let’s stop treating our children as though they are too weak to be given large ideas and big words.  Allow them to grow into theologians and sesquipedalians.  

It is truly a sad world to live in when we reduce our language to words of single syllables.  Let’s emancipate the minds of children everywhere!  It is time for Peter Pan, Wendy, John, and Michael to find their way back to Never Never Land.

Let me encourage you to try a few new phrases on your fledgling brood this week:

“Eschew obfuscation”  instead of “Stop making things so difficult!”

“Allay that cacophony” in place of “be quiet”

“Galloping is prohibited” rather than “stop running”

Take a cue from our Heavenly Father.  Use big words to express even bigger ideas to little ones with even littler understandings!  They, like you, are able to comprehend much when spoken to in love!

In addition to her love for sesquipedalian phrases, Karlena is someone who loves the LORD with her whole heart. She is an encourager, a fellow book-lover, a good friend, and a lovely example of a virtuous woman to all of us blessed enough to know her. Happily married to her high school sweetheart (who is Prince Charming in disguise) for the past 20 years, she has 10 of the world's most beautiful children with him.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I'm Three! I'm Three!!

Banish all thoughts of a grey & cloudy morning and take a deep breath on this fine Monday! Are you sensing an air of excitement? Because you should be. This week is (drum roll, please)

My Third Bloggy-Birthday!!

For the last 1,093 days, this corner of the world wide web has been my home for thoughts, pictures, brainstorms, smiles, and insights. I've written through conviction and triumph. Through struggles and adventures. Through life-changing moments and daily memories. I've written when every word seemed forced, and when words just spilled out. As an open journal, this little blog has been an outlet for sharing where God has taken me thus far in life -- a memory of words.

How is it that characters on a page impact us so deeply? Cause us to be happy or sad, frightened or secure, adventurous or timid? Remind us of full months of our lives or unique experiences? How is it that using specific words, and arranging them in precise order, can have such an impact on us every moment? Words have always been a beautiful mystery to me.

So, in honor of 3 years of typing words for you, my dear readers, to, I have three wonderful guest bloggers who will be visiting this week to share their thoughts on "logos"! Believe you me, these posts are wonderful, and something you certainly don't want to miss, so be sure to check back in over the course of this week!

And now, for the entertainment:

If you were to search "three" on a certain photo site, you would get pictures of three cute dwarf otters, with the middle one sticking out his tongue...
But, mom! Everyone knows I'm the cutest! Please-oh-please give me the snack!
Or three sleepy owls, in various disgruntled stages of awake-ness...
That. Coffee. Doesn't. Feel. Caffeinated.
...Or three zebras in someplace warm, dry, and colorless, wishing they could be here in Washington where life is green.
Ooh! Look guys! Color! I think it's gras-- oh, nope. Just a snake.
Ok, so, I know looking at pictures of animals doesn't traditionally count as party-level entertainment, but parties are supposed to be fun, and fun things are supposed to make you smile, and you can't tell me that those didn't make you grin, so it's kind of the same thing.

Moving On.

Of course, no self-respecting blog would dare to have a celebration without a GIVEAWAY! Right? Right. Do you want to see what kind of wonderfulness you can win? Here it goes:

The Book That Made Your World, by Vishal Mangalwadi.
Front Cover
Yes. I've been quoting this book. And reading it. And loving it. And thinking everyone else should, too! It's about the Word, and the words used to defend/study it throughout history. Incredibly insightful and thought-provoking, I am convinced that it should be in every Christian's library.

Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie
This book...ahh. I've spoken about it here. It holds a special place in my heart. This edition is absolutely the best, with gorgeous illustrations by Scott Gustafson. If this book isn't in your collection, it should be.


Pretty excitingamazingwonderful, isn't it? Here's how you can enter:

1. Be a follower of the blog (required to be entered at all) and leave a comment accordingly. {1 point}
2. Respond with your thoughts to the posts going up this week, then leave a comment on this post telling me you did! {1 point per comment}
3. Blog/Facebook about this here party and leave a comment with the link. {2 points}

Sound easy-peasy? It is! When you comment, be sure to tell me which drawing you would like to enter. See you back here soon!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Heroes Among Us - Part I

Heroism. It is praised, sung, recounted, aspired to, and even worshiped, but how do you define the heroic?

Having grown up as children of this age, most of us would identify a hero as one who risked and sacrificed much - most notably his life - for the well-being of others. It's a definition deeply rooted in the Christian concept of love (John 15:13) and firmly fastened, even in non-believing American culture, by the weight of tradition - tradition that gave birth to our country as the founding fathers signed their death warrants to stand for the better future of coming generations. Of course, heroism as we know it today didn't begin with Declaration of Independence any more than the shifting definitions of our culture are original to the 21st century. Powerful deity-claimers, adept warriors, chivalrous nobles - all have, at some point in history, asserted this title. From whence have these claimants come, and have we begun, once again, to accept their less-than-worthy definitions?

In his fascinating study, The Book That Made Your World, Vishal Mangalwadi identifies three main phases of conceptual heroism: the classical hero, the medieval hero, and the modern hero. Classically, Mangalwadi observes, the Greco-Roman world lauded whoever held the greatest power. Requiring absolutely no moral guidelines or conscience, the "heroes" of this era (Alexander the Great, the Caesars, etc) were evil, self-absorbed, oppressive murders, able to claim deity and the right to be worshiped merely by virtue of their power. Evidence of this warped definition is further seen in the Greek mythologies, whose gods were good or evil as they liked (mostly the latter) and immoral, yet worshiped for the power they held. The classical era was a hopeless time for heroes.

Medieval heroism improved little upon the classical definition, the church's ornamental modifications failing still to address the heart issues of self-denial and elitist, upper-class superiority complexes. In exchange for power-hungry dictators, knights were the worshiped idols of the day. Exhibiting vast ability with a wide range of weapons, these "heroes" were those who could kill the best, and often did so with little regard of friend or foe until the Catholic church began to intervene. It was not enough, insisted the church, to be a nobleman who was good with the sword; thus the words "chivalry," "honor," "bravery," and "loyalty," began to embellish the peoples' definitions. Yet, in the end, these heroes were still the powerful upper class: those able to cut down opposition and threats one moment and turn to awe and flatter with words and courtly graces the next. The medieval era was a dignifying and adorning time of the classical hero.

Then, suddenly, unsuspectingly, all the swirling facades of gallantry and heroism were cast aside as one truly heroic man stood before the culmination of all past professions of heroism. Mangalwadi points to Roland Bainton's Here I Stand as the most succinct representation of the moment:
"The scene lends itself to a dramatic portrayal. Here was Charles, heir of a long line of Catholic sovereigns - of Maximilian the romantic, of Ferdinand the Catholic, of Isabella the orthodox - scion of the house of Hapsburg, lord of Austria, Burgundy, the Low Countries, Spain and Naples, Holy Roman Emperor, ruling over a vaster domain than any save Charlemagne, symbol of the medieval unities, incarnation of a glorious if vanishing heritage; and here before him a simple monk, a miner's son, with nothing to sustain him save his own faith in the Word of God. Here the past and the future were met."
 Martin Luther, a lowly monk of no prominent family, with no merit save his faith in God and iron-will resolve to stand by the Scriptures, confronted head-on hundreds of years of heroic claims and proved them all wrong. He was the real hero of the moment, and the people, reformers, and ages to follow him would recognize and rally to this "new" depiction of heroism: one who stands for what is right, and for the rights of others, even at risk of his own life. The era of the modern hero, marked by Luther, was a time of imitating Christ's heroism.

to be continued...

{Hello all! I missed last week's post! (I claim illness.) To make up for this sorry omission, there will be two posts this week, the next one being on Thursday. :) }