Even knowing the pride is one of the things God hates most, and knowing that I wrestle with my own measure of that distasteful stuff, I will still talk about what bothers me in the general discussion of pride and humility (the topic seems to rise cyclically in Christian circles).

There are those who seem to fixate on how proud they are, knowing it’s something that’s hard to ever be free of they’re continually “confessing” it. (I’m more of the opinion that confession is to convict us and change things– not just to report the status quo– or to excuse the way you talk about things.)

And then there are those who speak of humility as though it were self-abasement (humiliation).

A more accurate description, really, is that humility is utter honesty– to see things as they truly are.

While I still feel that is a fine description, at church the pastor’s been talking about how humility has everything to do with our relationship to God, and I came across a quote this weekend that brings both these ideas together so well:

The true way to be humble is not to stoop until you are smaller than yourself, but to stand at your real hight against some higher nature that will show you what the real smallness of your greatness is.

Phillip Brooks

Human Words

I knew a blind man whom a surgeon helped to see.
The doctor never had a lover such as he.
It is in such a way that singers love composers.

–Calvin Miller
The Singer

I could say nearly the same thing about certain writers. Or, at least what they’ve written.

Being a Believer I feel a certain sense of… awkwardness? tentativeness? when I find that I quote human writers as quickly as I quote scripture.

Anyone who pokes around this blog very long knows I enjoy Story, and frequently interpret my experience through that prism.

As I’m sure I’ve said before, I see folktales as the ultimate distillation of human nature– the good and the bad– and am quite willing to use them as examples to make a point.

In Christian circles, however, this seems to be an iffy choice.

Once the topic of a wife’s influence came up, and the analogy of kings and queens. I eagerly added to the conversation that the image of a queen interceding with the king is a common theme in folklore. An older Christian woman seemed bothered by my choice of example.

“But where do you see that in Scripture?” she asked.

“Esther!” I replied after a blink, not sure if she was challenging me or just quizzing me.

I have a memory that seems wired for remembering quotes (or at least their essence) and turns of phrase. I frequently find myself using those words from other people– other writers– when attempting to best express myself.

Sometimes I remember the queen exchange, and I feel like I’m not supposed to be so attached to human words, Scripture being our only/ultimate authority and all that.

But then I figure, I’m human, and no one is expecting my words to be the oracles of God. Why should anyone assume I think another human’s words are?

Strengthening Marriages

I’m just beginning to explore the website, but Smart Marriages has already given me a lot to think about.

I love the concept of specifically creating a project out of finding ways to strengthen marriages.

One idea that sounded both simple and effective was the celebration of anniversaries (to the same or greater extent as birthdays, for example) as one way to honor and promote marriage. Such a practical idea. And I’ve already got dozens of anniversaries in my PDA along with birthdays…

~ ~ ~

Here is a quote without a footnote, but very intriguing:

You need only do three things in this country to avoid poverty –
finish high school, marry before having a child, and marry after the age of 20. Only 8 percent of the families who do this are poor; 79 percent of those who fail to do this are poor.

William Galston, Clinton White House

What I Love About My Husband

Kathy at Mudlark Tales did a post celebrating the details of her love for her husband, and I liked the idea so much I wanted to follow suit.

(If you find this kind of celebration cloying, obnoxious or anything else negative, please look at this recent post.)

Otherwise, I hope this list gives you warm-fuzzies, and inspires you to think of all the little things that add to your delight in the package-deal that is your husband.

What this exercise does is force one to notice details, and once that began, I remembered more and more. I expect to record more as I think of them, but they will probably go in my home journal, rather than here.

This list was such fun to make I could have kept going, but I decided to stop at 50.

  1. I love that he has a job he enjoys and is happy to go to.
  2. I love that he sets the alarm on his watch so he remembers to come home on time.
  3. I love how he provides for me to be home with the children.
  4. I love how he comes home and works along side me without complaint.
  5. I love the example he is to our children of working whole-heartedly at something. At everything.
  6. I love when he surprises me by saying just what I was thinking– before I do (especially to somebody I shouldn’t have said it to, but he could).
  7. I love how he can follow my convoluted way of thinking without getting lost.
  8. I love how he listens to me to let me process; how he invites it (“Tell me about your day”).
  9. I love how he is actually engaged while he does this, and gives me the feedback I need to refine faulty ideas.
  10. I love to hear him laugh when he’s reading a book I gave him that I have enjoyed.
  11. I love to hear him read aloud something that struck him, and seeing how his mind works.
  12. I love how he can fix anything.
  13. I love how gently he ignores the world’s opinion– the way he is absolutely un-vested in any stranger’s opinion of him.
  14. I love how he asks me for more details.
  15. I love how he sings with his whole heart, even though he doesn’t have a trained voice.
  16. I love how he began the tradition of creating silly songs at bedtime, making up nonsense while I was still stuck on how I sounded instead of focusing on my children’s delight.
  17. I love how he tells me exactly what he’s thinking.
  18. I love knowing he loves me enough I never have to be afraid of what he’s thinking.
  19. I love that he notices whatever I’ve gotten done on the house, even if it’s not all clean when he gets home.
  20. I love how he enjoys everything I cook.
  21. I love how he doesn’t complain about my picky eating and knows he got a special treat when I make him something I’m not fond of (e.g. lasagna).
  22. I love that he shares my passion for ice cream.
  23. I love that he never talks about weight or exercise while we’re enjoying it.
  24. I’m so thankful he is a left-overs eater.
  25. That he values my opinion.
  26. That he trusts my judgment (sometimes more than I do).
  27. That he believes my instincts.
  28. That he is concerned with self-improvement.
  29. I love how there has never been a joke in my house about how I look in the morning.
  30. I love how he plays with our kids.
  31. I love the look on his face when he walks in to show me he got the baby to sleep.
  32. I love the look on his face when he watches me in the mirror.
  33. I love how he matches his rhythm and stride to mine whenever we walk together.
  34. I love that he drives most of the time, because I hate to drive.
  35. I love that he doesn’t complain when I drive.
  36. I love having him as my own personal furnace to pre-warm the bed each night .
  37. I love that he lets me put my cold feet on him.
  38. I love how he notices when I take extra effort with my clothes, hair or make-up, and compliments me.
  39. I love how he’ll cut the last slice from the loaf of homemade bread and take the heel to leave the slice for me. (If I’m in the room he’ll look over at me and say “I love you” when he does it.)
  40. I am thankful he doesn’t complain about how much money I spend on books.
  41. I appreciate so. much. that he will eat one-handed (i.e., with the baby) so I don’t have to.
  42. He read my novel. In it’s original, unedited, post-NaNo form. Sure, this was something of a trust-exercise on my part, but it was also a tribute to his worthiness of that trust.
  43. He liked my novel, but also had incredibly useful and constructive things to say. (My current version is massively influenced and improved by two of his three general suggestions.)
  44. He was upset that it wasn’t all written yet. This is just the coolest thing to a writer: that a reader would want more.
  45. I love how patiently he endured my brainstorming about the pattern I am designing, letting me talk until the time I could actually start drawing and cutting and sewing.
  46. I love how like-minded we are. How there are so few things to argue about because we agree on all the big things already.
  47. I love the sense of security and confidence I feel just having him around.
  48. I love how it’s sometimes hard to make birthdays or special days extra special because we’re already doing nice things on normal days.
  49. I like it that he still tries.
  50. I love that he likes to be with me, and misses me when he’s gone.

There is a quote from Jane Eyre that summarizes very well my feelings about my relationship with Jay.

To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company… to talk to each other is but a more animated and audible thinking.

All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character– perfect concord is the result.

Indirect Attack

In the movie Amazing Grace, after years of “frontal” attacks failed, the opponents of the slave trade decided to dog-leg an attack.

By imposing a restriction that would put the pinch on slave ships, the law made it hard to continue in the current system, even while it remained legal.

I have not been able to determine the veracity of that segment (though it was very good storytelling), but have wondered if the Pro-Life supporters have ever looked for or found a similar sideways attack.

The law seeking to make the murder of a pregnant woman a double-homicide is the closest I can think of (as no “average American” could object to the emotional appeal of the law).

However, it was strongly opposed by the abortion supporters who recognized the assault it was on their “values.”

(The chief of those values being the inconsequence of the “by-product of pregnancy.”)

~ ~ ~

A suggestion I have (though part of me hopes it’s out-dated) is to begin making surprise-inspections of all clinics that perform any sort of in-room surgical procedure, to verify each is in compliance with the codes of cleanliness and sterility expected of surgical sites.

This would, by the specific wording of the bill, include abortion-providers.

Years ago I remember hearing pro-lifers (and abortion survivors) lament that there was no oversight to abortion clinics, and a claim was out there that veterinarians had more regulation and oversight than abortionists did.

There have also been some serious allegations of post-abortion deaths directly linked to improperly cleaned surfaces and/or equipment.

Even if things have cleaned up since then (and without oversight, how do we know?), instituting equivalent governmental oversight would continue to chip away at the sacred, all-knowing, infallible sanctity of “Choice,” and those revered suppliers of choice.

Something that could only help the fight for the unborn.

As such, I’m sure this too would be recognized for the attack it is.

But, as with Laci and Connor’s Law that acknowledges two victims when a pregnant woman is killed, my hope and prayer is that the basic sense of such requirements would help it withstand the attacks against what it represents.

The Washington Post had an excellent quote from President Bush.

“Today’s decision affirms that the Constitution does not stand in the way of the people’s representatives enacting laws reflecting the compassion and humanity of America.”

I have never dwelt much on what Bush says, but that line just thrilled me.

Yes, humanity is woefully fallible, but nearly all the good work God has done since creation has been accomplished through the will, minds and hands of we who are created in His image.

A New Perspective on Spending Time with God

Some of you who read this blog know I was raised in the Church, and have always struggled with how much… whatever I was “supposed” to do. Fill-in-the-blank for whatever: Bible-reading, “quiet time,” prayer, service.

I have not, like some Christians, ever felt compelled by my church to do more. I only see new perspectives that make me reevaluate what I might be doing, or not doing.

(If you’ve been hanging out a while you’re probably also aware that “reevaluation” is for me sort of a cross between a running-gag and a need in my mind).

Right now I’m thinking about “spending time with God,” something that (rightly) is portrayed as necessary for spiritual growth, and frequently seems to involve chunks of time alone.

I am not the only mother of pre-schoolers to confess this is not a regular practice.

At a new bible study group I visited yesterday, the study-book brought up the image of God waiting for us to join Him in a special meeting place, and of Him missing us when we don’t show up.

The point was to see God as someone who values us and wants to spend “quality time” together. The idea that the interaction is not just for our benefit. It is a thought-provoking image. And a guilt-inducing one.

I had a new image come to me today (for any, like me, who have seen a certain part of the Lord of the Rings audio commentary).

What if, instead of a meeting in the drawing room, tête-à-tête by the fire, our relationship with the Lord was represented by something more like Frodo and Sam– a quester and his “back-man.”

Continue reading »

The State of my House

I’m so glad this isn’t a photo-blog. I’d be tempted to share the disaster area that is currently my house.  I just found a quote (don’t even know the person who said it, but that’s beside the point) and had to share:

If your house is really a mess and a stranger comes to your door, greet him with, “Who could have done this? We have no enemies.”

Phyllis Diller

On-line Quote Database

This I like.

I suppose there’s no way to be *really* sure what you’re reading is for real, if you’ve never heard/read it before (this is how I feel about Wikipedia), but it still looks like a lot of fun for browsing.

Yes, I’m the sort of person who enjoys browsing quote collections. I also used to read my mom’s old World Book Encyclopedia set too, when I was supposed to be looking something up for a report.

Obviously the tangent-accessibility of the internet is nothing new to me

“Don’t complain, just adapt.”

“I can’t do that! Suppose they catch me at it!”
“Surely you won’t let them catch you at it? A clever girl like you.”

From The Perilous Gard (a book I recommend without reservation).

This type of exchange drives me mad. I start out with a genuine (legitimate) concern, and someone counters with, Oh, it’s nothing really for *you* to be worried about.

That they are right is really beside the point when one is feeling insecure.


One of the disadvantages of modern femininity is that one is allowed a moment to “vent” as she seeks to do her duty, but it seems she is not allowed a moment of helplessness. This is true even in religious circles where it may be characterized as “lack of faith” or fearfulness.

While both may at the root be true, that doesn’t mean the “offender” has chosen to act in unbelief or fear (as the correction would imply). We are simply reacting, and this shouldn’t be treated as a shocking surprise.

After all, we’re not perfected yet.

Callings and Being: a patchwork of thoughts.

God makes each soul unique. If He had no use for all these differences I do not see why He should have created more souls than one. Be sure the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to Him; and one day they will no longer be a mystery to you.

C.S. Lewis

I discovered this quote the summer after my freshman year in college, and latched on to it. I still love it.

  • What you do doesn’t determine who you are; who you are determines what you do.
  • No person can consistently live in a manner that is inconsistent with how he perceives himself.

Both from Victory Over the Darkness by Neil Anderson

I know some people take issue with his writings. I also still think these statements are valid.

His [Jesus’s] divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

2 Peter 1:3

We’re not just hanging on until we go home with the get-out-of- jail-free card he bought us. We have also been equipped to live this life while we’re here. He’s given us everything we need.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age

Titus 2:11-12

The same grace that called us away from what is destructive also trains us to live a life pleasing to God.

All this is mixed-in with my mis-reading of this post which gave me the great line:

We all have things that He [God] did not give us.

As a multi-talented (multi-interest) person, it is a good reminder. There are things I’m just not meant to do.

And because God’s design has purpose, the not is as much my identity as the doing. Or, so it seems reasonable to assume.

Something to think on, anyway.