Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ally's Dollhouse Desk

We painted Ally's desk. Clean and white, like a doll house table. We followed the instructions on Young House Love, except we used a brush and sanded with very fine grain sand paper between coats. The desk is still not perfect, you can see a few brush streaks.

We think it much improved from the days it belonged to the raccoons, obviously having done a good bit of cleaning and sanding before we took that picture.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Opening the Father's Hand

In the mind of English Puritans prayer was a duty. Prayer may have been a duty of delight, but still a duty. Duty: a moral obligation, a required action.

In my own mind prayer has been an act of worship, therefore an emotional response. I pray when I feel like it. Or I've thought of prayer as a gift. I'm not gifted. I rarely feel like praying. Just not a prayer - my common excuse. Then, too, prayer takes time. I must slow, I must quiet my soul, and those are qualities too rare in all of our lives.

I am reading William Bridge, A Lifting Up for the Downcast. A Puritan who published these thirteen sermons on Psalm 42 in 1649. It seems even then people did not "go to duty" as they should have. Bridge urges not discouragement, instead gives comfort and recommends humility. Come to God as a beggar.

Hundreds of years later the heart of man is unchanged, still sinful before a holy God, still fighting for our own ways. But God also is unchanged, faithful, with mercies new every morning.

Indeed, God seems to deal by us sometimes as a father does by his little child. He holds a piece of gold or silver in his hand, and says, If you can get this out of my hand you shall have it; so the child strives and pulls, and works, and then the father opens his hand by degrees, first one finger, then another, and then another, and at last his whole hand; and the child thinks he has got the money by his own strength and labour, whereas the father intended to give it him, but in that way.
 -  From Chapter 3: A Lifting Up In the Miscarriage of Duty      

A little pulling, a little working, a little labor, a little opening of the Father's hand.

Friday, August 17, 2012

On Reading

In a conversation with a fellow book lover, soon after pleasantries, there is always the inevitable question, "So what are you reading?" This is old, familiar, comfortable ground. This is just what I wanted to talk about. And a true book lover is inevitably reading something I want to go and find myself. I leave each conversation with a library list.

Book lovers keep to another well-worn path. One, who claimed to be a bad reader (a claim I know to be false), told me he never read Shelby Foote's novels because he had learned Foote was good friends with Walker Percy and that launched a complete reading of Walker Percy. This is how it goes. Thomas Merton, who wrote The Seven Storey Mountain, comes recommended,in part, because he was a friend of C.S. Lewis.

I'm making slow but steady progress on my book list for the year. Reading Money Saving Mom the other day I was discouraged by the numbers, then tempted to turn up my nose. "Well, of course you can read more than twice as many books as me if that's what you read." But, aside from the Bible, it doesn't really matter. I have seven books on this year's reading list over 700 pages. As of August that seems too ambitious. Playing the comparison game I was tempted to count each as three or four books. But it doesn't really matter whether I reckon them as seven or 21. I chose Shelby Foote not for the 700 pages, but because I was interested, and his Civil War Trilogy was highly recommended. And if I read Foote, then I'll want a Walker Percy volume to go along with it.