Sunday, December 30, 2007
Prayer for Protection from the Wicked. For the choir director; for flute accompaniment.
A Psalm of David.
1 Give ear to my words, O LORD, Consider my groaning. 2Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, For to You I pray. 3 In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. 4For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You. 5The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity. 6You destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit. 7But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You. 8 O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; Make Your way straight before me. 9There is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction itself Their throat is an open grave; They flatter with their tongue. 10Hold them guilty, O God; By their own devices let them fall! In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out, For they are rebellious against You. 11But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You. 12For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield.
Anticiating a sermon on Psalm 5, I am reading this slowly before church.
Here's a link to last week's on Psalm 4.
Here's a link to what we're eating after church.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Usually on Fridays I highlight a piece of artwork on my xanga site and a piece of clothing on my blog. Fashion is an essential part of our lives and an expressive method of communication. One may think that she is not interested in fashion, but that does not keep her clothing from telling others about her.
Here's an interesting commentary by historian Paul Johnson on statesmen and what they wear. After reading this I am more intrigued by statesmen and what they wear and when they wear it.
Consider the recently assassinated Benazir Bhutto and the contrast between the civil and military cultures of Pakistan.
How does fashion factor into your daily dress?
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Here's a different view of my dining room,
showing my china cabinet.
A close-up of my inexpensive centerpiece, made with discounted glass balls arranged in a glass bowl.
I'm pleased with the way the meat turned out. The recipe was easy.
Preheat the over to 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Make sure the meat is brought to temperature before you place it in the oven, cooking for 5 minutess per pound. Then turn off the oven. Do NOT open the door for three, even four hours. Slice as shown. Served au jus and with horseradish sauce. Oh, and sauteed button mushrooms!
Yes, I did sprinkle seasonings on top before roasting.
Here are the veggies ready to be steamed.
Do you like my Christmas theme?
Green and red!
Sorry, forgot to photograph the rice and the croissants.
We visited over coffee and opened a few presents.
Then it was time for dessert!
Poached Pear with Chocolate Sauce
This meal was preceded by a wonderful worship service in which we sang some Christmas hymns, heard a sermon based on Psalm Four, celebrated the Lord's Supper, and ended with the psalter hymn based on Ps 4.
There is no day more special than one spent this way, especially this week :)
Update: We ended up drinking a Merlot (2005 Ghost Pines)
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Sunday December 23rd
Standing Rib Roast
Red Peppers, sauteed
Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce
Christmas Day, Six O'clock
Honey Baked Ham
Hash Brown Cassserole
Brownies, Fudge, Haystacks, Candy
Usually I print the menu on a special card or paper and post it, so guests wont ask "what's for dinner?"
Friday, December 21, 2007
and less expensive
makes me feel any more
than a pair
of red gloves.
How do you dress for the holidays?
Here are a few words to remember, when you put on your gloves.
Glove of Friendship
If the heart is true
a friendship will last
If it's built on mistrust
it 'll become a thing of the past
If the heart is honest
a friendship will thrive
the bond will be solid
and never implied
If the heart is open
and truly willing to love
a friendship will flourish
and should be worn like a glove
by Jock Ridi
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Our modern day Diogenes, Richard Weaver, continues on his quest in the final chapter of his far-reaching diatribe, Ideas Have Consequences, by examining the roles of piety and justice in reversing the decay of civilization.
Like the ancient philosphoser seeking a man of integrity (wholeness), Weaver wonders whether modern man wants to be well.
It doesnt matter whether man desires health.
Weaver knows that it is his duty as one who can foresee (prophet) to shine the light on the path illuminating the way.
So, dear reader, if you peruse my words no further, be advised that this short volume is indispensable to your health. I cannot make you read it. My summaries might make you feel better temporarily, but like true medicinal aids the prescriptions are lethal and necessary. I can only pray along with Weaver that you will read and catch the imagination of those who look to you for guidance.
Now for a little recap.
After six chapters explaining the miserable state of society (civilization), Weaver proposes a solution which involves 1) a right relationship with property, 2) repaired communication (skills), and 3) a major attitude adjustment. The last of which is the concept addressed in chapter nine.
Weaver jumps right to the point and blames modern man's attidude. He is impious. If you are not offended by this label it only proves that you are a product of modern civilization, killing off everything/one who came before you and unconscious that crimes have been committed. Weaver proposes that we discipline (or exercise self control) the will through respect (venerence) in three areas of life:
1) Nature - Find the middle ground, avoiding total immersion and total abstraction.
2) Neighbors - Accept others as being allowed to live their way. God made my enemies :)
3) History - The past has substance but only insofar as I can reflect on it.
It is disheartening to observe that modern man seems to have lost all sense of obligation, not feeling accountable because he does not recognize that anything is owed (due) these areas. This is where *Justice* seems to have been abandoned. It made me realize why some people dont believe in Hell.
Not one to skim over distasteful part of a discussion, Weaver explains how our impiety toward the distinctiveness of nature, the loss of individuality(personality), and the contempt for the past are powerful forces disintegrating the foundations which undergird our civilization. I liked best his dispelling of the myth of the equality of the sexes, which was a part of his proposal to restore the proper sentiment in nature.
Check out the word theomorphic, especially as it relates to the distinction between the disease of individualism and the tonic of personality. This is admirable as defined by Weaver:
that little private area of selfhood in which the person is at once conscious of
his relationship to the transcendental and the living community.
I'm sure Cindy will address these as well as his other examples. Be sure and read her synopsis.
Finally, Weaver admits that even his chosen field of philosophy doesnt have all the answers and if applied is very likely to blow up any government on which it is founded, pg 182. Carmon has an interesting essay about the presidental race, which will tie in with Weaver's statement that "every figure in modern public life feels called upon to stress the regularity of his background, habits, and his aspirations." Dont be fooled by political rhetoric. If you do anything political, I implore you to pay closer attention to local over national politics.
In the end, I admire Weaver for his dedication to the "fair goal of justice" through the implemenation of old-fashioned piety, although we may need to consult a spin-meister for a more marketable term, if we desire more companions. However, that may not be necessary since as students of history, we know that minorities have exercised control in the past.
Weaver devoted his short life to restoring civilization. That makes him a hero in my eyes. He learned the lesson of endurance and for that I credit him with substance. I hope you will too.
In a way he lives on as a force helping to shape our dream of the world.
Monday, December 17, 2007
For many years the tree was in the living room.
Hence the foyer location of our nine-footer.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Not exactly museum quality material but nevertheless very important artwork for our household because it was created by Grandpa Jago (d. 2001) and illustrates our genealogy back to the 18th century!!
As Christmas Day approaches, many get a pit in their stomachs wondering what they can give. Allow me to suggest this type of gift - that one of time well-spent. Many years ago, one of my sisters gave each of us the beginnings of a genealogy notebook. It may have been the topic of her required senior history thesis, but I know she spent a lot of time visiting relatives that year...some which I never had the chance to meet. Just this past week I telephoned an aunt and enjoyed a conversation about my grandmother/her mother.
This is a fantastic idea, low cost and truly one I've referred to often over the years.
Furthermore, I like the idea offered by Caroline Kennedy in a book of poetry dedicated to her mother. She relates that from a very early age her birthday/Christmas gift to her mother would be the recitation and or illustration of a poem.
What could be more simple, less expensive, or more priceless?
Now I'm off to search for that poem written for me by DD#2 a few Christmases ago.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
In just a few short weeks (that's January 7th), our *blogging bookclub* will read and review Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson. This book was chosen because we were disappointed in our incorrect answers to economics-related questions found in this online quiz.
So, in preparation for this assignment, I've scoured my bookshelves in search of all things Richard Scarry, the author of many a child's favorite books.
Today I commend to you his What People Do All Day because it illustrates clearly basic economic principles. This book is classified as juvenile non-fiction and proves that it is never too early to start teaching our children economic theory, poetry, or etymology.
Here's a quick list of the chapter titles:
1) What Do People Do All Day?
2) Everyone is a Worker
3) Building a New House
4) Mailing a Letter
5) Firemen to the Rescue
6) A Visit to the Hospital
7) The Train Trip
8) The Story of Seeds
9) Wood and How We Use It
10)Building a New Road
11)A Voyage on a Ship
12)Where Bread Comes From
There is a companion title by Scarry called The Busiest People Ever, and it includes a chapter *Busy House Workers*, which is unfortunately omitted from the newer editions of What Do People Do. I can remember spending hours looking at Scarry books, pouring over the details and pictures.
Do you own any Scarry?
It wont take you an hour to read this fine article about one father who reads to his youngsters, teaching economics at a very early age. Even philosophy can be taught early on ....and not by reading aloud Richard Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences, but by recording for posterity Yellow and Pink, an out-of-print volume which is charming. It's never to early to talk about the first question of the Children's Catechism.
It is always perplexed me when someone asks a SAHM *What do you do all day*. I guess I am at a loss for words because it seems so obvious to me that taking care of a family is a full-time job full of all kinds of tasks, no matter whether your children are younger or older. Have any of us consider how we will keep our children connected after they are grown and married? While my mother has never worked outside the home, she has to be one of the most industrious people I know. Here's a link to how she stays busy.
If that does not answer the insipid inquisitor's question, I guess I will refer him/her to Richard Scarry.
Oh, and the word derivation assignment for today is *economics* . Answers in this link :)
Monday, December 10, 2007
Words and language, subjects near and dear to my translator heart are the topics covered in Chapter 8 of Ideas Have Consequences. No doubt my poet friend, Cindy, is thrilled with the concepts in this chapter as well. Surely, editor Carmon is wooed by Weaver’s efforts to restore America’s communication skills. Kelly? not sure which area fits her personality best. I’m more concerned that her daughter’s health is greatly improved.
Seriously though, now that we’re safe and hunkered down in our (underground) pieces of private property (that last metaphysical right), Weaver establishes the next offensive line of attack to rescue society from the perils he recognized in his short lifetime. Whether one agrees or not, community depends upon the ability of men to understand (one another). And I am here to lob metaphorical grenades from the trenches in an effort to keep the family together :)
My heart is further warmed by Weaver’s initial mention of the divine element present in language (Yay God!) and his quoting of Scripture (Genesis, John, and, everlasting life.) There was lots of background information on language. I suffered through the detailed explanation of the different theories of language and their various mutilations with dictionary in hand. It will make you feel better to know that I checked the definitions of the following words: teleology, tropes, noumenal, semanticist, atomist, positivist, and Charles Peguy. Have you ever read him? Not me, but maybe I should since this French poet is mentioned in almost every chapter!
Finally, Weaver gets to the heart of the matter.
Words are our reminders of knowledge.And
language is our great storehouse of universal memory
not imprisoning us, but aiding us to get at the true meaning of things. The common currency provided by words allows man to evoke the ideal or the proper sentiment. He supports these statements by quoting poet Percy Shelley and Wilbur Marshall Urban, a contemporary psychologist and author of Language and Reality.
I loved the examples of the relationship between speech, dress(attire) and manners, pg 160 and the chinks in the armor of French, Bolivian, and Japanese societies. Current professor Walter Williams weighs in on this *pressure to abandon* in this short article. Note how his John Milton quote is similar to Ralph Waldo’s, the chapter’s opening quote.
The corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language.
That’s the point! Weaver is trying to reverse the trend of lowering the level of abstraction behind the meaning of words. Weaver knows that there are absolute meanings which the opposition is trying to muddle or destroy. We live in an age frightened by the very idea of certitude. pg 163 Thankfully since Weaver quotes Scripture, I feel permission to as well in support of the fact that FIRST comes the corruption of man.
Nothing outside a man can make him unclean by going into him.Mark 7:15
Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean.
Futhermore, in light of the fact that the skill with which one uses his language is a solid indicator of success, Weaver rightly declare that dramatic poets would top the scale over scientists when rating *the best teachers*. Remember he's annoyed at the scientists development of the atomic bomb. And so, it should come as no surprise then when Weaver plops the task of rehabilitating the *word* in the lap of educators. That, dear reader, is YOU and the very reason that you are reading Ideas Have Consequences in the first place.
If you want to avoid the vices of sentimentality and brutality, the unfortunate results of our government's educational system, employ the twofold training Weaver proposes (1)literature and rhetoric and (2)logic and dialectic in your academic schooling. Read Cindy. She covers poetry very well. I (grammarian and spelling-n*zi who minored in French and German) will promote the study of foreign languages. Just do it!
Nothing so successfully discourages slovenliness in the use of language as the
practice of translation.
Teachers of the present order have not enough courage to be definers; lawmakers have not enough insight, pg 164. Presidential candidate Ron Paul's defines Freedom in this short article, which is important, but not as important as Justice, Mercy, and Truth. So, be an evangel. Your audience (offspring) is ready and waiting.
It’s all about definitions - order and forms (and proper spelling - tee hee). ALL education is learning to name rightly, ...to discern, ...to have the courage to see truly what you see.... to have a stable vocabulary so we have stable law. Make sure you’re not climbing down the ladder of abstraction (pg 155) but rather up to the WORD which is deliverance.
When Jesus Christ utters a word, he opens his mouth so wide that it embraces all heaven and earth, even though that word be but in a whisper.
- Martin Luther
Addtl reading at the Heritage Foundation lecture on the power of language.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 1984
Here's a family photo taken after church on the day of our first child's baptism. I thought of it because this weekend I've been addressing Christmas cards and we included this picture that year...exactly 23 years ago.
I like to re-listen to a recording of what the minister actually said. We have audio from two of the our four baptisms. I'm not sure how/why we're missing two.
No doubt you recognize these promises:
For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him.
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house.
Then we were asked the following questions to which we answered affirmatively:
1) Do you acknowledge your child's need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit?
2) Do you claim God's covenant promises in her behalf, and do you look in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for her salvation, as you do for your own?
3) Do you now unreservedly dedicate your child to God, and promise, in humble reliance upon divine grace, that you will endeavor to set before her a godly example, that you will pray with and for her, that you will teach her the doctrines of our holy religion, and that you will strive, by all means of God's appointment, to bring her up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?
I dont remember much about the service after that because I think she and I exited for a feeding.
After church we traditionally had dinner together, and this Sabbath was no different. Grandma had come over from Charleston, SC, and we were living with my folks, so they were there. Usually I remember Sunday dinners right down to the very last detail, but in this case I only recall the Haagen-Dazs ice cream cake we had for dessert. Yum!
Here she is now....with her father :)
Ps 147:1 Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
Ps147:11 the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
What do you know about your baptism?
Friday, December 07, 2007
Looking for a delightful Christmas gift?
What could be more fun than to sit down in the quiet of your own living room and enjoy a concert suitable for all ages?
This year after dinner on festive china I'm hoping all my siblings will gather 'round to hear this symphonic story.
Presented in the style of a Broadway mini-musical, SECOND CHANCE CHRISTMAS is the uplifting story of how a troupe of traveling musicians and the children of a fictional town in West Virginia returned music and dancing to the holidays after thirty somber years.
This entertaining story is expertly narrated by Stuart Culpepper and features a small cast of additional voices, as well as the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the Murray County Chamber Choir.
Based on the original poem, THE HOLIDAY RULE, by Ric Reitz, the cadence of this production is reminiscent of classic Dr. Seuss, and follows Ric's first, very successful offering in this genre, THE JOURNEY OF SIR DOUGLAS FIR, which received tremendous reviews and the 2000 IPPY Award for Best Children's Audio Book.
Order one here.
There's a good chance you'll receive it in time :)
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Refreshing is how I would describe Chapter 7 of Richard Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences. After reading pages and pages detailing man's 400 year slide into a chaotic abyss, I was beginning to lose hope that Weaver in fact had a viable solution. I now know why Kelly chose to highlight this chapter in her review of the book last year.
Weaver has not been wandering aimlessly, however, in his search for a place where a successful stand may be made for the logos against modern barbarianism. He has carefully plotted the course of the ship which he navigated safely to the shores of the most free nation in the world. That is, a nation governed by a constitution which allows for small scale private property ownership.
The ordinances of religion, the prerogatives of sex and of vocation, all have been swept away by materialism, but the relationship of man to his own has until the present largely escaped attack.
It was easy for me to grasp the concepts presented in this chapter because not only was I taught them at home from a very early age but also I studied them in college. Weaver's explanation of the superiority of private property ownership in one word *hisness* is assertive and convincing. As mothers, we all see this in our children and their toys at a very early age.
In the *hisness* of property we have dogma and there the discussion ends.
I dont think my children started to keep track of their private property because of my nagging and rules, but more because of this last metaphysical right that is planted in their very beings.
So, it is clear (to me) that private property is a suitable citadel for protecting us from the long arm of the State. Entrenchment is another good word that Weaver uses to describe the position we members of society must take in order to defend ourselves from the literal and symbolic starvation alluded to in the opening quote.
In a Country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation.
Now Trotsky (1879 - 1940) may have opposed Stalinism, but he was still a Marxist. But even he recognized the danger....all the evils that Weaver has catalogued, all flowing from a falsified picture of the world p 129. Providentially in my family, I (we) have been brought to see this quandary and have been driving afresh that wedge between the material and the transcendental.
Practically speaking, we have followed the moral solutions proposed by Weaver by supporting and being involved in small, local business ownership, occupying the homes we own, and enrolling in schools which provide a private liberal arts education (specifically independent of federal or state funds). While we dont have a family farm (at this time), most of us own land, in addition to the lots where we reside.
There is a price here. It costs time and money and backbone. It's tiring. It's satisfying.
Achtung! Dont drop your guard. The modern state does not comprehend how anyone can be guided by something other than itself. In fact, these days the State is jealous of any entity which competes with its position. Expect to be attacked.
Furthermore, many in society today are not healthy and ready for battle. They have tasted the apple of this evil mindset and are complacent. They need a prescription for healthy living. In order to follow the instructions, they will need nourished minds. Intellectual integrity provides clarity for the every.day.hum.drum of practice (or discipline as described by my blogging buddy, Cindy.) Recovery from this illness cannot be hurried.
So, while Weaver explains better the whys of private property than I have in this summary, I am here to tell you that it is possible to take a stand in this critical battle against the cancer of chaos just by reading Ideas Have Consequences and teaching the principles to your own children. Start by making sure they understand the vocabulary he uses.
One last piece of advice...
Make an assessment of your family's dependence on the State.
Then make sure your catacomb is safe and solid.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Thinking about the effects of the prevalant spoiled-child psychology manifested in our national character can be depressing, unless you're reading along with Cindy at Dominion Family. According to Weaver though, we are fast approaching mass psychosis (and that prediction was fifty years ago!) Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences was an effort to diagnose the ills of the age. He offers a remedy based on the right use of man's reason, acceptance of an absolute reality, and the recognition that ideas, like actions, have consequences.
While this book encapsulates many ideas which are dear to my heart, there are ideas more dear to my heart. Those are the ones found in Scripture. And so, today I call on you to read Mark 4:26-29 with me and contemplate this parable in light of Weaver's citizen of Megalopolis who expects redemption to be easy (instantaneous)
Here's Mark 4
26 He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man
scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets
up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by
itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full
kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to
it, because the harvest has come."
So, while Weaver acknowleges that if all he proposed were couched in spiritual insights, the case would be different, he does not do that. However, I like to think that he would approve of these correlating verses. Jesus's parable from Mark tells us how and where we will find the source of dicipline Weaver mentions in the last sentence of the chapter, pg 128.
I hope you will take the time, read this article commenting on the parable. It is written by a man whose little pamphlet changed my outlook years ago.
It will help you digest the rest of IHC.
"for everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures,
WE MIGHT HAVE HOPE
Christ uncrowned himself to crown us, and put off his robes to put on our rags, and came down from heaven to keep us out of hell. He fasted forty days that he might feast us to all eternity; he came from heave to earth that he might send us from earth to heaven.
- Dyer, W.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Isaiah 1: 10-20
10 Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 11 "The multitude of your sacrifices-- what are they to me?" says the Lord. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12 When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations-- I cannot bear your evil assemblies. 14 Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood;
16 wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, 17 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. 18 "Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Do I look forward to every, single Sunday, all 52 of them, each and every year, as I look forward to Christmas or Easter?
That is my prayer.