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Archive for January, 2011

With All My Heart

I hope my kids have specialties. I want them to be broad and liberal-minded, but I want them to have things they love and enjoy. But I hope it feels a lot less creepy than this video. Apparently there’s a whole subculture of youth in the Yankee Candle movement.

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Here is a brief primer on the fuss going on in Egypt.

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This is one of the best Presidential addresses I have ever heard, and it’s stunning on several fronts. It’s worth hearing several times. Brilliant. Poetic. Historical. Consoling. Gritty. Heroic.

“The future doesn’t belong to the faint-hearted. It belongs to the brave.”

If you weren’t born when this happened, you should know that this event was a much bigger deal than shuttle launches are now. The publicity was heightened even for this one (I remember anticipating it for weeks) and it had even more attention because of Christa McAuliffe’s addition to the crew as the first teacher in space.

The speech was written that morning by Peggy Noonan.

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Rowdy Catechising

Well this video is rough. It’s a little more loose than normal at our table, because sometimes an open mic causes silliness to notch up. We started wearing this little catechism book out when Karsten was 3 or 4, used it for a year or two and just picked it up again a few months ago. We are plugging along further than we have ever been and with room to keep learning. Memorization leads to understanding which leads to wise living.

Catechism is a boon to the soul. It’s a formal instruction in the faith that over time allows truth to be rooted into the heart. Wrong answers aren’t harmful unless they go uncorrected.

With a big gulp, we welcome you to our after-dinner table…

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Learn when to let your heart be still…

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This lake is only fished one day a year, so these guys are extra eager.

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Here’s a fascinating article about saffron.

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Women’s Ear Pull Competitions

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How to prepare muskrat for dinner.

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This is helpful in defining the moderate Muslim position.

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We are the people of the book. We love our books. We fill our houses with books. We treasure books we inherit from our parents, and we cherish the idea of passing those books on to our children. Indeed, how many of us started reading with a beloved book that belonged to one of our parents? We force worthy books on our friends, and we insist that they read them. We even feel a weird kinship for the people we see on buses or airplanes reading our books, the books that we claim. If anyone tries to take away our books—some oppressive government, some censor gone off the rails—we would defend them with everything that we have. We know our tribespeople when we visit their homes because every wall is lined with books. There are teetering piles of books beside the bed and on the floor; there are masses of swollen paperbacks in the bathroom. Our books are us. They are our outboard memory banks and they contain the moral, intellectual, and imaginative influences that make us the people we are today.

–Cory Doctorow

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I loved this story of redemption and renewal from Sunday’s New York Times:

Cunning, Care and Sheer Luck Save Rare Map

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…but not on basement Main Streets.

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I saw these both for the first time yesterday. They are both done in different ways but good in their respects.

The first is what I call Wormwood’s Song:

The second is an interesting church promotional video striking to the illogic of evolution and the hope of the Gospel:

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Men of Grit

We saw Into the Storm last night, a myopic of Churchill during WWII. It closed quietly with these words:

In War: Resolution.

In Defeat: Defiance.

In Victory: Magnanimity.

In Peace: Goodwill.

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This is a fantastic post from Dane Ortlund. He asked a scrum of pastors and theologs to summarize the entirety of Scripture in one sentence. There’s plenty that is left out and that doesn’t need apology.

Here is my favorite, but you should read the whole yourself:

Scripture tells us the story of how a Garden is transformed into a Garden City, but only after a dragon had turned that Garden into a howling wilderness, a haunt of owls and jackals, which lasted until an appointed warrior came to slay the dragon, giving up his life in the process, but with his blood effecting the transformation of the wilderness into the Garden City. – Doug Wilson

And, just thinking further on it, I’ll refer to the modern-poet I just posted about in the last post. One of his songs reminds us,

The world was good. The world is fallen. The world will be redeemed.

 

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Isn’t It Love?

As the modern poet hath written and sung

And when I think about that prodigal son,
I’ve got to smile when I see the old man run.
And I know that You love us the same,
‘Cause the sun came up today;
Just as if we deserved it –
Just as if any one of us fools was worth it;
Truth is that we’ll never be perfect, but You love us just the same.

I’ve been having a hard time getting away from these lines.

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Need the Big Picture?

A little S.M. Lockeridge Jr. of sorts.

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It’s really impressive when the biography of a 9 year old, can be longer than 15 words and can extend past “she will be missed” stage. This tribute says more about her gumption and drive than what is able to be said of most adults.

Aspiring politician Christina-Taylor Green was born in the midst of tragedy on Sept. 11, 2001, and died Saturday morning while trying to meet Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

The strong-willed 9-year-old third-grader had gone to meet Giffords with a neighbor when she was shot. She died later at University Medical Center.

Read the rest.


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This will be a hot potato. But this is a very insightful Wall Street Journal article comparing the Western (American) and Eastern (Chinese) styles of parenting. You’ll hate it to the tippy top, but it will leave you wondering.

What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up. But if done properly, the Chinese strategy produces a virtuous circle.

Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior


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This is mesmerizing. I love even the sound. This man is a brain surgeon and is has a deft in this world-record-setting video.

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Read “seasoned and mature” as hoity-toity. I bet you never practice new ways to tie your shoes, either.

Increase your typing speed while racing against others: TypeRacer.

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The singing finished. The council fire roared and lit every face with its glow. I looked around at my people and realized, Every one of these folks is as ugly as me.

And ain’t that beautiful.

I’ll say it again. I am no sort of expert on modern [or other] fiction. I’ve read so very little of it. I used to indulge on occasion in John Grisham and…well maybe it was only John Grisham and the one time I bemused a sister by reading a Janette Oke book.

I think that my put-offishness has been a stifling detriment to me. While my elementary years were marked by multiple trips per week walking back and forth from the library (before book bags were invented), I put away the fiction reading as a teen and young adult. I dove deep into Narnia only 4-5 years ago to get back into the stream. The long absence of good fiction has limited my imagination and dried me in some way.

Thankfully, my vocation also demands that I make a lifestyle of the ideals that I promote, and I heartily promote the value of a beautiful story–story that reflects The Story. And so over the past year and a half as I have begun reading this new fiction of Andrew Peterson, Pete Peterson, Nate Wilson and now Jonathan Rogers, it has been a joy to see my mind shifting from the notion that fiction is more than an indulgence, but it’s good for the soul. It’s good for rounding out and adding depth, and it doesn’t have to be a waste of time when used in moderation as part of the reader’s healthy diet.

And so this book by Jonathan Rogers (a fellow Nashvillian) came highly recommended by AP; he likened it to Mark Twain and C.S. Lewis rolled into one. And it does feel very Mark Twain-ish, and it’s a really fun read set in something very similar to our old American South.

It’s the story of an boy who doesn’t belong, a youth who said, “I only know one man who might be able to tell me where I come from, and that man is a liar and a fraud.” The conflict comes from his deep desire to belong to something, almost anything, while all the while hanging on for dear life through a fracas of misadventures and huckster exploits.

This would make a great read to your kids, also, although the narrator’s voice is a low-flying-level of hick English, which is beautifully written but probably more difficult to replicate out loud.

This copy was provided for review by Waterbrook Multnomah, and I commend it to your reading also. Enjoyably, the sequel will follow later this year.

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1. The first prerequisite of true leadership is a happy home. The private life is the proving ground for the public life.

2. Leadership is the art of pursuing the ideal in the midst of a world that is something less than ideal—and never losing sight of either notion.

3. A leader is an idealist who is simultaneously blessed with a strong dose of reality.

4. A leader knows that what is really important in life rarely puts on airs of importance.

Read the others on Eleventary.

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