Thursday, March 31, 2016

Food for Thought ~ Birthday Edition

Food for Thought - Birthday Edition @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Yes, it’s my birthday. [No, there is no 3 in my age. Ha!]

I’ll pause the Oregon Coast pictures to post links and quotes and videos from the past month.

Enjoy the buffet!

Living a Good Life

:: This Could Be the Difference Between a Life of Suffering or Joy @ UnTangled [I adore this one. Go read it.]

Suffering is resistance to what is.

Suffering is opposition to the present moment and demand for the next moment. Suffering is having this but wanting that. Suffering is the search for the next thing. Suffering is the mental roaming we do for what might be.

Suffering, for instance, is trying to read something brilliant, while wondering about something better.

:: Forty Days | Forty Sacraments @ CIVA [So gorgeous. Click on the link to see her paintings.]

I find myself in a time of waiting right now in certain facets of my life, and this project was birthed out of that—being present with waiting, present with solitude. These paintings are marking time, and they are also calling out beauty where you might not expect it—in the extremely ordinary.


:: On Jane Austen in the General Election by G.K. Chesterton [Relevant. And hilarious. And a tiny bit terrifying.] 

"A dictator has to be a demagogue; a man like Mussolini cannot be ashamed to shout. He cannot afford to be a mere gentleman. His whole power depends on convincing the populace that he knows what he wants, and wants it badly."

Books, Education, and Family Culture

:: As Soon As He Returns by my friend Nicole Mulhausen @ Book Riot

The human voice is my favorite instrument, and reading aloud is important in ways that I can hardly express. Ordinary and ancient magic: breath and sound and time, weaving a narrative. And whether it’s a story of return, Mole to his home, or a story of grand adventure, Marie-Laure and her Uncle Etienne with Jules Verne on the Nautilus, to begin aloud together, especially a longer work, always involves both risk and promise—the risk of interruption, broken narrative, and the promise that the reading will always be shared, requiring patience and fidelity, when, like Marie-Laure, we are tempted to read on alone.

:: Loving the Lost Boys: Some Thoughts on Boyhood and Reading by Zach Franzen @ Story Warren

Let me add one more point on this score: The failure to recognize male distinctness leads to a marginalization of femininity. I just read a sample reading from a 2011, fourth grade National literacy test about a girl wrestler named Daisy. A story for fourth grade boys about a girl wrestler? Why don’t boys enjoy reading?

:: For Useless Learning by Peter J. Leithart @ First Things

"Lewis points out that there is always some crisis, some alarm that demands our attention; there are always a million and one things more important than reading Homer. Yet we continue to read Homer because we are not creatures whose behavior is solely guided by a crabbed criterion of usefulness. We are creatures made in the image of a Creator who makes things that He does not need, things that are not of use to Him. As we imitate His excess, we play music and recite poetry and tell stories... We should not be ashamed of the uselessness of the liberal arts, for making what we do not need, and doing what we have no ordinary use for, is part of the glory of being made in the image of the infinitely creative God."

Constraints and Creativity

:: Two teenagers started a street school to educate poor and homeless children in Pakistan

:: Edible Spoons


:: Richard Turere: My invention that made peace with lions [This reminds me so much of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.]


Art [Movies and Music]

:: I’m a Christian and I Hate Christian Movies by Alissa Wilkinson @ Thrillist

Christian theology is rich and creative and full of imagination, that's broad enough to take up residence among all kinds of human cultures. It contains within itself the idea that art exists as a good unto itself, not just a utilitarian vehicle for messages. (In the Greek, the Bible calls humans "poems" -- I love that.) There is no reason Christian movies can't take the time to become good art. Each one that fails leaves me furious.

:: J.S. Bach - Crab Canon on a Möbius Strip

Looking for the Helpers

:: Walking The Beat In Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, Where A New Day Began Together @ npr [Sob. This one is exquisite.]

"Yes, I have been talking to you for years," Rogers said, as Clemmons recalls. "But you heard me today."

:: It was a touching sight at a Dutch Bros Coffee stand in Vancouver, where workers comforted and prayed with a woman who just lost her husband. [FOX 12 Oregon]

"We're going to do what we do every time we get someone who’s in pain or hurt. We're going to give them our love."

:: 'If We Left, They Wouldn't Have Nobody' @ npr

"I just couldn't see myself going home — next thing you know, they're in the kitchen trying to cook their own food and burn the place down," Rowland says. "Even though they wasn't our family, they were kind of like our family for this short period of time."

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spring Break ~ Oceanside [continued]

Oregon Coast (20) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After spending a while at my new favorite beach, we meandered up the road just a bit and stopped at the lighthouse. Above is the view to the north.

Oregon Coast (21) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Below is the view to the south. That rocky area is where we were just a few minutes before. The weather held out while we walked to the lighthouse and back, but it was still hazy (as it usually is on the Oregon coast, even when it’s a warm day).

Oregon Coast (22) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring Break on the Oregon Coast ~ Oceanside, Day 1

Oregon Coast (1) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We headed over to the Oregon Coast on Sunday evening (after church, nursery meeting, Costco, packing, and a 70th birthday party for Grandpa Ron at Chuck E. Cheese). The weather was decent when we started out, but as we headed over the mountains it began to rain. And then we had to pull over because Russ couldn’t see. That’s saying something for these native Oregonians. But we made it to the Rockaway beach house in one piece, unloaded, and crashed into bed.

Russ was working remotely most of the week, but he started early Monday morning while the rest of us lazed about. He finished up in the early afternoon and we drove down to Tillamook to pick up a few things at the store. We decided to drive over to Oceanside and explore because we had never been there before. We figured it might be raining but we could hang out in the truck and see the sites. We came across this pathway at a little pullout on the side of the road. I cannot resist pathways like this one, so we decided to brave the weather and take a hike.

We headed down and down and down.

Oregon Coast (2) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

And we discovered my new most favorite beach. The roaring sound of the waves and the backwashing rocks was deafening. I wish these pictures came with audio!

Oregon Coast (3) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Can you see the speck of Levi up on the smaller rock above? He was ecstatic.

Here’s a closer view.

Oregon Coast (7) @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesOregon Coast (10) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

All this beauty.

Oregon Coast (9) @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesOregon Coast (8) @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesOregon Coast (5) @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesOregon Coast (4) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I wanted to stay forever. Wouldn’t you?

Oregon Coast (11) @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesOregon Coast (12) @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesOregon Coast (13) @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesOregon Coast (14) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The weather improved, bit by bit, until we had some blue sky and sunshine!

Oregon Coast (15) @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesOregon Coast (16) @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesOregon Coast (17) @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesOregon Coast (18) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I wanted to stay forever, but we decided to drive up a little further and see the lighthouse. More pictures tomorrow…

Oregon Coast (19) @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Easter @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

“Come then; leap upon these mountains, skip upon these hills and heights of earth. The road to Heaven does not run from the world but through it. The longest Session of all is no discontinuation of these sessions here, but a lifting of them all by priestly love. It is a place for men, not ghosts—for the risen gorgeousness of the New Earth and for the glorious earthiness of the True Jerusalem. Eat well then. Between our love and His Priesthood, He makes all things new. Our Last Home will be home indeed.” ~Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb

Easter Table @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Belated Good Friday Sunset

Good Friday Sunset @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

:: In Spite of That, We Call This Friday Good by Jonathan Rogers @ The Rabbit Room

"I’m trying not to skip ahead to Easter. I’m trying, these two days, to sit in the grace of the stripped altar and enter imaginatively into the place of the disciples, who only knew that their Lord had died, not that he would rise again. Flannery O’Connor’s stories are a help in that regard. Her characters suffer and boast and finagle their way through a broken world, unaware that grace is streaking silently toward them like a meteor that will throw everything off balance."

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Needed Respite

Others may go to the beach for spring break, but we’re headed to the coast. What’s the difference, you may ask? At the beach it is sunny and warm. At the coast it will rain and storm all week long. At least we have a beautiful place to stay, and we’re taking a truck-load of books and games.

See you on the other side.

Friday, March 18, 2016

I can’t guarantee it, but…

…this will likely be my only political post/link on the blog this election season (though I won’t guarantee a politics-free FB page).

There were so many articles and videos I could have chosen (a plethora, really), but I will let David Brooks at The New York Times say it for me, because he truly does “have the best words.”

No, Not Trump, Not Ever.

[I’m not picking out quotes. You’ll have to click and read the whole thing.]

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

On Potential Energy, Constraints, and Creativity: Conversations with a Teenage boy

On Memorization @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

On Energy

My son and I just had a conversation about this the other day. He's in the "this is useless; when will I ever use this?" phase. I told him it's a little like energy. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. He has to gather energy from other sources in order to make his own spark. And he'll never know what combination of energy sources will make that spark until the moment it happens.

The more energy gathering he does, the more potential creative energy he has.

On Constraints

Another day we were driving to the swimming pool for practice. This son, who is always coming up with fantastical solutions to everyday problems, said, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could earth-bend a bridge all the way to the swimming pool?”

I countered, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could bend the earth so that wherever we wanted to be was suddenly just a step away?”

Let’s talk about the word fantastical, shall we? It means “conceived by an unrestrained imagination.” The word I want to focus on is “unrestrained.”

God is the ultimate Creator. He created staggering vastness (in its extent, proportions, quantity, and intensity). He created staggering minute-ness. He created staggering beauty in material, texture, form, color, and pattern. He created staggering diversity and variety.

Sheer excess, friends. There is nothing practical about a thousand of varieties of fruit.

Every day, by the witness of His own creation, I learn that God delights in creating.

But God also created constraints.

Physical law. Natural law. Moral law. Chronological time. Biological systems.

God is a God of cosmos (form and harmony), not a God of chaos.

The greatest creativity I’ve witnessed has not occured in unrestrained environments.

Anyone can plink random notes on a piano and call it a song. But if the musician uses his imagination within the constraints of rhythm and harmony and tempo and dynamics, he achieves a certain masterful creativity.

In fact, the greater the constraints, the greater the creativity.

That seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

In writing, the tighter the form (paralellism, poetry), the greater the requirement for a precision of words and ideas.

In fantasy writing, authors who are able to conceive of consistent constraints for their fantasy world and plot constraints for their characters are able to create a more masterful story.

I would not hesitate to say that creating beauty within constraints and overcoming restraints to solve problems show a higher degree of creativity.

The greater number of constraints (either within a form or as problems to overcome) or the greater the complexity that is brought into harmony, the greater the creative skill.

In many ways, we fight against this as a culture. We don’t like constraints. My teenage son doesn’t like constraints. I don’t like constraints. Constraints aren’t fair. Constraints aren’t fun. Constraints aren’t easy. Society should have solved all our problems for us by now.

But, made in the image of God, we are still hard-wired to know, deep inside, that constraints are necessary. We are still hard-wired to need constraints to grow in character, in skill, and in creativity. We are still hard-wired to value those traits when we see them in others. Do you know how I know this?

Do you want to watch a movie about a character who has nothing to overcome?  When someone is given everything they need or want without restraint, are strong character, skills, and creativity likely to follow? Are a man’s accomplishments worthy of praise if he puts no effort into them? Don’t we love an underdog story?!

Skillful creativity is not unrestrained imagination.
Skillful creativity is bringing chaos into harmony or form.
Skillful creativity is perseverance in adversity.
Skillful creativity is acknowledging restraints and solving problems in spite of them.

Why do I want my boys to read books like Wonder, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, A Long Walk to Water, and The Boys in the Boat? Because these are characters [particular (historical) and universal (fiction)] who are faced with constraints, great constraints; they work within their limitations to do incredible things, they show astounding perseverance in the face of adversity, and they grow in character as a result.

Ask kids, ask yourself: what constraints (and how many) did each of the people in the following videos face? Did working within these constraints require a higher degree of character, skills, and/or creativity for the people who solved them? Would their creativity have been better served without constraints?

Friday, March 4, 2016

Reading List Challenge 2016 ~ February

February Reading Round-Up @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

[The boys sit down to their math, and I sit down to my book stack and a refreshing drink.] 

Completed in February

I feel like I cheated just a bit in February because the books I finished were rather short. I still read a good variety, however—dark modern classic, classic mystery, sweet children’s book, theological modern classic fiction, and non-fiction. I started several new books (my “in progress” pile is getting ridiculously huge) and completed a few short stories and essays.

:: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad [This wasn’t as hard to read as I thought it was going to be. The prose was exquisite in places. His descriptive writing reminded me of Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, though this one was not nearly so lovely. The forward movement felt slow, and the characters less appealing (though one was fascinating). 3 1/2 stars]

"There were moments when one's past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare to yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect."

:: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie [I love a good mystery. I watched this as a play years and years ago, but it was high time I read this, one of A.G.’s most famous stories. 4 stars]

:: Understood Betsy [This is such a beautiful classic children’s book, but it is just as important for adults—particularly parents and educators. The author of the story, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, brought Maria Montessori’s teaching methods to the United States and was also named by Eleanor Roosevelt as one of the ten most influential women in the country. 4 1/2 stars]

:: The Man Who Was Thursday, A Nightmare by G.K. Chesterton [Loved it. Review here. 4 1/2 stars]

:: Becoming Human by Jean Vanier [This fascinating non-fiction book on the value of every human and the tension between individuality and community was a book club selection this month, paired with the middle grade novel Wonder. I’ll share some thoughts and quotes when I get my copy back. It’s making the book club rounds at the moment. 4 stars]

In Progress

:: Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories [I read The Life You Save May Be Your Own and Good Country People this month.]

:: Mystery and Manners [I read a couple more essays this month.]

:: The Iliad [I’ve stalled, but I’m determined to finish… sometime this year… ]

:: Words Aptly Spoken: Short Stories [I’m reading this collection and discussing with Levi and McKinnon over the next few months. We read several of the stories this past month.]

:: Listening to Your Life [I continue to enjoy this daily devotional filled with excerpts from Frederick Buechner’s writings.]

:: Ambleside Online Year O Reading List [I’m reading all the books on this list aloud to Lola this year.]

:: Plutarch’s Lives [I am attempting to slow-read this one with the boys this year. I may chicken out and read the Greenleaf Guides Famous Men of Greece and Famous Men of Rome instead. Or even Augustus Caesar’s World.]

:: Julius Caesar retold by Leon Garfield [I’m working through both story volumes with the boys this year.]

:: The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers (re-read) [One of my favorites.]

:: Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper (re-read) [Another favorite.]

:: Beauty for Truth’s Sake by Stratford Caldecott (re-read) [And yet another favorite.]

:: The Law by Frederic Bastiat

:: Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw


Maybe by next month I’ll have a more complete 2016 Master List with links and up-to-date reviews…

The Beginning Stages of the 2016 Reading Challenge Master List

(Books marked out have been completed)


Listening to Your Life by Frederick Buechner [in progress]

Real-Life Schole Sisters

The Terrible Speed of Mercy: A Spiritual Biography of Flannery O’Connor [I loved this biography of Flannery O’Connor. It is peppered with quotes from O’Connor’s own writings (letters and essays) as well as details about her stories. I feel much more equipped to understand her fiction writing. 4 stars]

Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories [in progress]

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor [in progress]

Online Schole Sisters

Awakening Wonder: A Classical Guide to Truth, Goodness & Beauty [There are some gems in this book, but I feel as if I had to work so hard to mine them. The last chapter of the book is fantastic, though. 3 1/2 stars]

Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper (re-read) [in progress]

Beauty for Truth’s Sake by Stratford Caldecott (re-read) [in progress]

[Also discussing Flannery O’Connor with this group.]

Symposium at Parnassus (Facebook Group)

Understood Betsy (re-read)

Jack and Jill (Alcott)

Little Women

Little Men

Rose in Bloom

Norms and Nobility: A Treatise on Education [in progress from 2015]

Plutarch’s Lives [In progress]

Potato Peel Pie Society (Facebook Group)

[Ambleside Online Year O book list with Lola] [in progress]

Dragonflight [Classic fantasy, and Russ’s favorite author. Fantasy is not my genre, but this one was enjoyable. Definitely some adult situations and not for young children. 3 1/2 stars]

Julius Caesar (re-telling by Leon Garfield) [In progress]

The Taming of the Shrew (“)

The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers (re-read) [in progress]

The Green Ember/ Black Star Rising

Surprised by Joy

ChocLit Guild

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy [This was my first Thomas Hardy novel, and I loved it. His descriptions are vivid paintings, and I laughed out loud more times than I could count. His characters sprung to life. This is an early contender for 2016 favorites. I enjoyed the new movie version as well. 4 1/2 stars.]

The Man Who Was Thursday, A Nightmare by Chesterton [Review here. 4 1/2 stars]


Becoming Human by Jean Vanier

Book Detectives

The Family Under the Bridge  (re-read) [This short children’s chapter book was a re-read for me. Our Book Detectives group had a wonderful literary analysis discussion on this one.]

Dominic (re-read)

The Cricket in Times Square (re-read)

Symposium Read-Alouds (with boys)

Shakespeare (Leon Garfield, both volumes –Hamlet and The Tempest) [in progress]

Heidi [I don’t know that I had ever actually read this one all the way through before. The boys LOVED it. Every day they would ask for me to read just one more chapter, and then just one more! In fact, one evening Russ sat down and listened with us and he wasn’t content with the two extra chapters, so he sat next to me after the kids went to bed and I watched a movie and he read the rest of the book, laughing out loud and reading passages to me from time to time. 4 1/2 stars]

The Princess Bride

Tuck Everlasting

Roman Roads Western Culture Greeks with Levi

[Also discussing with online Schole Sisters]

The Iliad [in progress]

The Odyssey

CC Challenge B short stories [2015-16] (with Levi and McKinnon)

Words Aptly Spoken: Short Stories

God Lives by Hans Christian Andersen
The Teapot by Hans Christian Andersen
The Bet by Anton Chekhov
The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde
Little Girls Wiser than Men by Leo Tolstoy
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke

Araby by James Joyce
The Schoolboy’s Story by Charles Dickens
That Spot by Jack London
The Red-Headed League by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Celestial Railroad by Nathaniel Hawthorne
A White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett
A Man and the Snake by Ambrose Bierce
The Cop and the Anthem by O. Henry
The Necklace by Henri Guy de Maupassant
The Hammer of God by G. K. Chesterton
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain
The Bird on its Journey by Beatrice Harraden
The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde
A King in Disguise by Matteo Bandello
The Startling Painting by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Last Lesson by Alphonse Daudet

Classical Conversations Parent Practicum (“Navigating History: The Art of Argumentation”)

Rhetoric by Aristotle

The Law by Frederic Bastiat [in progress]

The Peacemaker by Ken Sande

Family Life/Parenting

The Young Peacemaker by Ken Sande

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey


Daddy-Long-Legs [Easy, short, old-fashioned, charming, funny, romantic novel. Brain candy I don’t have to feel guilty about. 4 stars]

The Martian [Gripping, fascinating, hilarious, and stressful sci-fi novel. The most interesting scientific and technical “manual” I’ve ever read, and science/technology/sci-fi are not my things. Lots of language and short, choppy journal-style writing for most of the book but it fit with the story. It is a fantastic tribute to human ingenuity and spirit, with an up-beat can-do attitude. 4 stars]

So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger

Heart of Darkness

The Diary of Ann Frank

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw [in progress]

Children’s/YA Novels

The Ranger’s Apprentice

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Readers Edition)

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Food for Thought ~ “Permanent Things”

Permanent Things @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

:: What Art Can—And Can’t—Do by Philip Yancey @ First Things [This is an older article, and it’s not a short one, but please, please read it. Let it breathe life into your soul. (Hello, Flannery O’Connor.)]

For those of us who labor in the arts and who believe in transcendence, here is a place to start. Some are called to be prophetic goads, and some giants may hammer in firmly embedded nails. But the rest of us can aspire, with no tinge of shame, to scribbling in the sand. Spaces need filling. The father of cellist Yo-Yo Ma spent World War II in Paris, where he lived alone in a garret throughout the German occupation. In order to restore sanity to his world, he would memorize violin pieces by Bach during the day and then at night, during blackout, he would play them alone in the dark. The sounds made by the reverberating strings held out the promise of order and hope and beauty. Later his son, Yo-Yo, took up the father’s advice to play a Bach suite from memory every night before going to bed. Yo-Yo Ma says, “This isn’t practicing, it’s contemplating. You’re alone with your soul.”

:: After you have read the above article, go read this Facebook post by S.D. Smith.

You lose elections long after you lose the stories that shape. Elections are a hundred years too late to save us. In other words, an election only reveals the stories we believed, loved, and allowed into our hearts to shape our affections. Elections are more effect than cause.

:: Lord of the Flies: Evil Recognized Is Redemption Begun @ CiRCE. I read Lord of the Flies for the first time last year and am reading Flannery O’Connor this year.

Like a Flannery O’Connor story, Golding’s ending completes the meaning of his work, not by resolving it, but by creating the possibility of resolution. The characters are not saved, but they are prepared for salvation. And readers are prepared along with them, for they, too, have been given the opportunity to take a long, hard look at themselves.

:: Candor: What Jane and Lizzy Bennet Can Teach Us about Charity @ Roman Roads Media [The Four Loves | A Series Exploring C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves] What a beautiful essay! Again, I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time last year (though I had watched both movie versions numerous times) and The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis is on my to-read list this year.

This will sound very anticlimactic, but when we face our human enemies, we need to face them as literary critics. A good critic does not react to what he reads. He reads it. He reads it carefully, over and over if necessary. He considers its genre, its context, its author, its author’s intentions, stated and unstated. He considers what circumstances the author himself may have been reacting to. And then, given all that consideration, he gives the work the most generous interpretation he can. The virtues of a literary critic are patience and generosity, but something deeper too: the good critic has to want there be something in that book to be understood—something, however small, that is worth understanding.

:: My Wife is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World: C.S. Lewis on Eros, Beauty, and Plato @ Roman Roads Media [The Four Loves, Part 2]

But I would submit that our starting point and first response to the question, “What makes a woman beautiful?” should be “Participation in the image of God.” Man is created in the image of God, male and female, but woman is given a special aesthetic placement in that order—she is the glory of man. She bears the image of God in a unique way—a way that’s glorious and beautiful, a way that’s defined and measured by participation in something greater and more universal than herself.

:: The Eye of the Beholder @ CiRCE [Supper of the Lamb was one of my favorite books from 2015]

:: Harper Lee, Author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Dies at 89 @ The New York Times [Go Set a Watchman was one of my favorites in 2015 and To Kill a Mockingbird is in my all-time top 10.]

:: Christian Books and Christian Reading: Part 2 @ Center for Lit

Lewis realized that anyone who has never read widely is liable to become a prisoner of narrow and weakly held opinions, because his experience is limited by his own time and place. The one who participates in great literature, on the other hand, encounters the opinions of a host of other thinkers. He can see the consequences of their ideas without having to adopt their philosophies himself. In the process of comparing his assumptions with those of others, his own worldview gains strength and clarity.

:: The Necessity of the Imperfect Community (Inspired by Jayber Crow) by Angelina Stanford @ CiRCE

"I think Berry makes a profound point about the community being imperfect and yet that imperfection is just what we need to grow. The Enlightenment has us all obsessed with creating the perfect environment for us to achieve our potential. But maybe our obsession is making it harder for us."

:: The book most people have lied about reading – and it's not War and Peace @ The Telegraph [As of this month, I’ve read 11 of these, not counting half-heartedly listening to Alice in Wonderland. I have Anne Frank on my to-read pile.]

:: Punctuation in novels @ Medium [So fascinating!! Brief strong language alert.]

:: Words are for Lovers @ The Philology Institute

Third, words reveal the contents of our minds and hearts. That means words involve a certain amount of vulnerability. We are disclosing to the other something personal and private. We are uncovering something of our interior life, something of ourselves.

:: Standards, Grades And Tests Are Wildly Outdated, Argues 'End Of Average' @ nprEd

"Absolutely no one is precisely average."

The term he uses for this--jaggedness--is perfection. I have at least two kids who are much more jagged than average, for sure. This article is excellent, especially paired with a re-reading of the children's book Understood Betsy:

"'What's the matter?' asked the teacher, seeing her bewildered face.

"'Why--why,' said Elizabeth Ann, 'I don't know what I am at all. If I'm second-grade arithmetic and seventh-grade reading and third-gradespelling, what grade am I?'

"The teacher laughed. 'You aren't any grade at all, no matter where you are in school. You're just yourself, aren't you? What difference does it make what grade you're in? And what's the use of your reading little baby things too easy for you just because you don't know your multiplication table?'

"'Well, for goodness' sakes!' ejaculated Elizabeth Ann, feeling very much as though somebody had stood her suddenly on her head.

"'What's the matter?' asked the teacher again.

"This time Elizabeth Ann didn't answer, because she herself didn't know what the matter was. But I do, and I'll tell you. The matter was that never before had she known what she was doing in school. She had always thought she was there to pass from one grade to another, and she was ever so startled to get a glimpse of the fact that she was there to learn how to read and write and cipher and generally use her mind, so she could take care of herself when she came to be grown up, but in that moment, she had her first dim notion of it, and it made her feel the way you do when you're learning to skate and somebody pulls away the chair you've been leaning on and says, 'Now, go it alone!'"

:: Celeste Headlee: 10 ways to have a better conversation @ TED. I need to listen to this TED talk weekly, if not daily.

:: Death, the Prosperity Gospel, and Me @ The New York Times

"The prosperity gospel has taken a religion based on the contemplation of a dying man and stripped it of its call to surrender all. Perhaps worse, it has replaced Christian faith with the most painful forms of certainty. The movement has perfected a rarefied form of America’s addiction to self-rule, which denies much of our humanity: our fragile bodies, our finitude, our need to stare down our deaths (at least once in a while) and be filled with dread and wonder. At some point, we must say to ourselves, I’m going to need to let go."

This reminds me of the Flannery O'Connor essay I read recently (The Fiction Writer & His Country).

"He will feel that any long-continued service to [the topic of prosperity] will produce a soggy, formless, and sentimental literature, one that will provide a sense of spiritual purpose for those who connect the spirit with romanticism and a sense of joy for those who confuse that virtue with satisfaction."

In The Mind of the Maker (also on my "currently reading" stack), Dorothy Sayers quotes C.S. Lewis:

"There is kindness in Love: but Love and kindness are not coterminous...Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering... It is for people whom we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms..."

:: Misty Copeland Recreates Iconic Edgar Degas Artwork @ Coloures [Gorgeous!]

:: Master of Light: A Close Look at the Paintings of Johannes Vermeer Narrated by Meryl Streep @ Open Culture [video] Vermeer is one of my favorites!

:: Loving Vincent


More about the movie:


:: Music