Wednesday, March 30, 2011

THE All-American Past-time

Fighting the commotion of 100’s of people funneling through turnstiles, you shuffle through the mob. By now, you’ve missed the first pitch. Slowly you climb to your ever-comfortable stadium seat—in the optimal back row of left field. Pinstripe pants, knee socks, and oversized T-shirt jerseys dot the grassy clay diamond. Sunglasses help little against the gleaming sunrays that leave a red brand along the edge of your shorts, jumpstarting an uneven summer tan. Faces shadowed by ball caps focus intently on the umpire and their catcher. Crass and paunchy, your neighbor successfully spills his nacho cheese sauce in your lap and knocks over your coke. Great. Player #47 steps up to bat, taping home plate, stretching his shoulders, and smacking his gum. From the pitcher’s mound comes a glare a subtle signal, a ball hurling just out of reach. Strike three. Bottom of the sixth inning: dinnertime. Sticky with sloshed beer and dissolving cotton candy, the concrete smacks with hundreds of flip-flops pushing, shoving; the lines at the concession stand are an hour long. Booming speakers add to the incessant noise, screeching with 5seconds of a familiar tune and a mumbled rundown of the game. Still no one has scored.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Let Thy Blood in Mercy Poured (CC 261)

Let Thy blood in mercy poured,
Let Thy gracious body broken be to me,
O gracious Lord, of Thy boundless love the token.

Thou didst give Thyself for me,
Now I give myself to Thee.

Thou didst die that I might live;
Blessed Lord, Thou cam'st to save me;
All that love of God could give Jesus by His sorrows gave me.

Thou didst give Thyself for me,
Now I give myself to Thee.

By the thorns that crowned Thy brow,
By the spear wound and the nailing,
By the pain and death, I now claim,
O Christ, Thy love unfailing.

Thou didst give Thyself for me,
Now I give myself to Thee.

Wilt Thou own the gift I bring?
ALl my penitence I give Thee;
Thou art my exalted King,
Of Thy matchless love forgive me.

Thou didst give Thyself for me,
Now I give myself to Thee.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Juno and Whatnot

so this is what happens when you've been slaving away in college for 8 weeks, finals hit, and you're still sane (right?)

when you don't know what to listen to:
-play your top 25 most played (skipping the first 5--psalms that you have memorized, of course)
-find what your friends on grooveshark have been listening to
-just listen--there's nothing, just the stillness, YES that can be good. Think, you don't have to listen to anything! novel.

when you're hungry:
1. pull out a container of feta...there's not much left
2. open and get a spoon
3. sprinkle in some italian seasoning; taste; add more
4. crack some peppercorns on top
5. delight in the flavors! heaven.

when your evening is unexpectedly free:
-let a friend invite herself and a friend for a movie/studying...
-laugh historically and have to rewind the movie because you didn't hear what was going on, only to find out how extremely awkward it yeah.

SO, what about this movie?
I watched Juno. One of my friends owns it and and her accomplice brought it over; little did I know what I was getting into. This is was a shock. WOW. And it was only rated PG-13?
It's a story about a pregnant, 16 year-old-girl who decides not to abort her baby. Awesome! But first you have to get past the immature and shallow view of sex. I suppose that for the targeted audience (modern youth pop-culture) this is appropriate. Yuck. Juno, the mother-to-be, seeks out a family for her child. Great. But then she develops a relationship with the husband. Not so good. In the end she does give her baby to the lady (man divorced the wife because of the girl) and Juno is in "an official" relationship with her boyfriend. That makes it all okay, right? Morals really aren't addressed and it takes a pretty soft hit at the teen's responsibility in the situation, quickly placing the focus on the adoptive family drama.
This film is highly praised by my one of my professors (the esteemed ND Wilson, if you happen to have heard of him), and, in truth, as far as the poignant effectiveness of the arguments are concerned, it is a jewel. Pathos is deftly gained and the audience is easily pulled into siding with the girl and her supportive father. However, there is so much that you have to wade through to get to the point, that unless this is the culture and problems that you face regularly, it probably isn't beneficial to watch--especially for guys. Though most of it is full of wit, the humor that makes the movie so funny is mostly sexual innuendos, mixed with suggestive scenes and stupid gender jokes.
I'm not gonna lie, I laughed through most of it, and made fun of the rest. But I won't be watching this one again.

when you don't have a final until 3:30:
-catch up on email and letters you have been putting off
-post something other than a quote or paper on your blog
-sleep in a bit!

Monday, March 7, 2011

by E.A. Robinson

Miniver Cheevy

Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,

Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;

He wept that he was ever born,

And he had reasons.

Miniver loved the days of old

When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;

The vision of a warrior bold

Would set him dancing.

Miniver sighed for what was not,

And dreamed, and rested from his labors;

He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,

And Priam's neighbors.

Minever mourned the ripe renown

That made so many a name so fragrant;

He mourned Romance, now on the town,

And Art, a vagrant.

Minever loved the Medici,

Albeit he had never seen one;

He would have sinned incessantly

Could he have been one.

Miniver cursed the commonplace

And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;

He missed the mediƦval grace

Of iron clothing.

Miniver scorned the gold he sought,

But sore annoyed was he without it;

Miniver thought, and thought, and thought,

And thought about it.

Miniver Cheevy, born too late,

Scratched his head and kept on thinking;

Miniver coughed, and called it fate,

And kept on drinking.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Called to be Educated

The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.

High school graduation is looming; the vast unexplored years that lie ahead linger ominous. The pressure unexpressed is oppressive. All that she has known is about to come to an end; adult concerns and cares surface. Next comes the barrage of questions countless, the excited inability to think. Should she stay home and attend classes from the junior college? How about ministering to her community and church family? Why not pursue personal interests and skills? Or, college is always an option. “Why? What’s the point—you’re just going to be a mom, right? Which college? What major? How will that help you?” Sensibility has fled and the future stares back blankly. Right now the years seem endless, unstoppable. What is a girl to do?

These unique single years only come once in a lifetime. There is no family to cook for and clean up after, there are no lunches to make and dirty diapers to change, there are relatively no worries and the financial problems are someone else’s. What most girls are missing is a drive, a purpose for what to after the high school requirements have been met. Focusing on something, be it a rigorous academic education or pursuing specialized interests, a young woman need a vision of where she is headed and what her end goal is. It is not enough to dream of being a mom and someday becoming the ideal woman. It starts now. Taking an active interest in personal improvement is essential. Until there is an objective, no progress can be made in any direction—all roads will eventually lead somewhere, the key is to have a road map aligning the twists and turns to get to the intended destination. No matter what a girl does, it is important to realize that the decision is not strictly a personal choice, but rather a culture-fashioning commitment that will affect the generations to come.

Potential bursts in at every corner, a wealth of intentionality screaming. God has called every woman to have not a single vocation but rather to strive to be well versed in many areas, no matter how menial or extraordinary the tasks may seem. Avocational, the woman’s role in the home has long since been forgotten as an esteemed job—it is a full-time occupation. Knowing how to run a household, train and nurture children, minister and live in community, and be a competent helpmeet to her husband, all the while leading a God-centered life requires a dedicated woman, one who has deliberatively set out to counter and exceed the substandard expectations of the American worldview. However, without a solid heuristic foundation this is extremely hard to achieve. Anyone can attend classes that are comfortable and not challenging, but it is in finding a passion for learning and a reason to devote concentrated energy to gain knowledge and persevere through difficult situations that the mind is improved.

The time between high school and marriage can be spent learning all kinds of skills and devoted to pursuing a higher level of education. There is freedom to sit down and read a book for hours on end or study latin conjugations late into the night or write and re-write “brain-barf,” crafting words and phrases to most accurately convey particular ideas. Life presents challenges and they must be faced with stern reality, not enjoyed, sugar coated. As William Sprague commented about the role of education in a woman’s life,

While you profess to be a student, regard study as your main business; and make your amusement subordinate, and, so far as possible, subservient to it. Recollect that the period allotted to your education is comparatively short; and that every wasted hour of this golden season will tell fearfully on your future destiny.

Independence comes with this new phase of life and it is empowering, but at the same time the burden of such liberty is overwhelming. The world is her oyster; the stars are at her fingertips. Who is it that has the most profound impact on children? Who is the one who gives everything she can to further her children's lives? Who would rather die than see her children hurt and in pain? Her name is Mama. She should be capable and proficient, able to think well and accomplish any task given. Called to be widely learned and vastly educated, women ought to take the advantage of the single years given to them and use them to the fullest.

Why is female education so important? Since women are the culture shapers of the world—they are the ones teaching school, bandaging cuts and bruises, comforting heart, and inspiring minds—it is essential that they have a solid foundation and a generally cultivated intellect. Even if they never get a job or make a first-hand difference in the public workplace, the impact made by simply being a wife and mother is tremendous. After all, education is not for the purpose of leveling the playing field between the sexes. Men are the unfortunate creatures called to dedicate years of their lives solely to making money and providing for their families. Women on the other hand, have been blessed with the freedom to invest time and talents into their work, making it beautiful and enjoyable all the while.

This said, a certain deliberative attitude toward continual mind improvement is necessary, otherwise it would be easy to slip into an apathetic state of learning. Not only are women called to be educated, but also to consider how their actions affect those of fellow brothers, sisters, and most especially, children.

In an age that is so proud of the experimental history of science, the most epoch-making scientific feats have been performed in a space no larger that a parlor or a nursery. It does not seem to me in the least odd that so mysterious and momentous a business should have been surrounded by virtues of vigilance and loyalty.

Young women should continue their post-high school education in order to prepare themselves to raise the next generation, intentionally building on the foundation that they have already laid and working determinedly toward a goal, conscious of their influence on everyone around them. They have a very powerful position ahead of them. In modernity, and, I submit, in many ages past, women and their role at home as dictators is severely under-valued. Our culture says that if women are not out in the work force they are being suppressed and not able to realize their full potential. This, however, is a far cry from the truth. A woman is liberated in staying at home, not so she can be confined and restricted to only learning things from home, but so that she is able to pursue a countless number of hobbies, not hone in on one particular subject, perfecting all the minuscule details associated with it. This developing of secondary interests and talents creates a copious woman—a polymath of the domestic arts as well as a broad-minded individual.

Having this kind of education enables her to engage the people around her and instruct her kids to be fearfully equipped and empowered to wreak some damage on the culture for the kingdom of God. This results in culture-making mothers—the inherent, Biblical calling of all women. In order for a girl to use her time to the fullest, life in these post-high school years must be attacked with an intentional purpose and a forward-thinking, somewhat ambitious vision. All of which springs from a heart in line with God’s Word and a willingness to apply strenuous efforts and countless hours of brain power. As G.K. Chesterton so aptly said, a woman does not come into her own full potential until she has found rest and satisfaction in the realization of true femininity,

A bird who never makes a nest is not a complete bird; a woman who does not regard the home as more native even than the native land is not a complete woman.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

a work in progress....and it's only tuesday

this is my final declamation. what do you think? I don't like the part about cheese and peanut butter, but I am at word count now. ideas?

(you HAVE to read this out loud, at least the first time through)

Crackle of the chill September and the wind blows. Today is the day—we can all feel it. Two and a half hours to Dixons’ and a jug of cold, pressed cider; now back home. The car is loaded and we have lots of work ahead. Apples sacked pile on the floor, apples soaking fill the sink, apples peeled and sliced are ready. Sticky juices and squeaking shoes, the kitchen is bustling with eight hands, all sweetly moist and deftly skilled. Champagne for the tart, Sparkling Burgundy for the sweet, their firm pinkish flesh combine—a seductive piquant make. Cinnamon and sugar on the counter, Red Hots in the sauce, oats and flour crumble, the air is filled and zesty; it smells like fall. On the stove Great-Grandma’s speckled canner steams and boils jars of apples to last through the year. An open jar of peanut butter and a block of cheese in addition to the crisp apple-y goodness and chatting with mother makes the time stretch long into the night, by the end, browning cores and countless seeds scattered, a crockpot bubbling in the corner. But best of all, tomorrow morning, I’ll eat a slice of golden apple pie.

Crackle of the chill September and the wind blows. Today is the day—we can all feel it. Two and a half hours to Dixons’ and a jug of cold, pressed cider; now back home. The car is loaded and we have lots of work ahead. Apples sacked pile on the floor, apples soaking fill the sink, apples peeled and sliced are ready. Sticky juices and squeaking shoes, the kitchen is bustling with eight hands, all sweetly damp and deftly skilled. Champagne for the tart, Sparkling Burgundy for the sweet, their firm pinkish flesh combine—a seductive piquant make. Flavors meld, my tongue is singing, mellow spices on the crisp apple-y goodness. Cinnamon and sugar on the counter; Red Hots in the sauce; oats, flour, butter crumble; the air is filled and zesty. It smells like fall. Browning cores and countless seeds scattered, a crockpot bubbling in the corner. On the stove Great-Grandma’s speckled canner preserving the apple harvest and Nana’s cake is in the oven. Dishes stack, saccharine utensils coated, fructose hardens fast. Chatting with mother, the clean-up stretches long into the night. But best of all, tomorrow morning, I’ll eat a slice of golden apple pie.

The Man in the Moon

- Billy Colins

He used to frighten me int he nights of childhood,
the wide adult face, enormous, stern, aloft.
I could not imagine such loneliness, such coldness.

But tonight as I drive home over these hilly roads
I see him sinking behind stands of winter tress
and rising again to show his familiar face.

And when he comes into full view over open fields
he looks like a young man who has fallen in love
with the dark earth,

a pale bachelor, well-groomed and full of melancholy,
his round mouth open
and if he had just broken into song.

Mr. Nobody

- Robert Louis Stevenson

I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse,
Who does the mischief that is done
In everybody's house.
There's no one ever sees his face,
And yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
By Mr. Nobody.

Tis' he who always tears our books,
Who leaves the door ajar,
He pulls the buttons from our shirts,
And scatters pins afar;
That squeaking door will always squeak,
For, prithee, don't you see,
We leave the oiling to be done
By Mr. Nobody.

The finger marks upon the door
By none of us are made;
We never leave the blinds unclosed,
To let the curtains fade.
The ink we never spill; the boots
That lying round you see
Are not our boots--they all belong
To Mr. Nobody