Friday, June 29, 2012

A New Find...

For a few years we have driven by an old bookshop here in Nashville, invariably it was closed.  Today, we made our plan to visit, knowing we'd be in the area during business hours. After a quick breakfast, we babbled on over to the bookstore hoping it to be as good as our imaginations had surmised-  "Elder's Bookstore - Tennessee's Oldest and Finest", that's what the card reads -after our short seventy minute visit and a grocery bag of books -we vehemately agree.  We made many finds, our eyes were definately bigger than our pocketbook and the fact, we really did leave with a Harris Teeter bag full of finds, attests to our delish choice to eat rice and beans or whatever else is already in the cupboard, for the week, to feast on printed page.  What fun!

The great trust between man and man is the of trust of giving Cousell.  For in the other confidences men commit parts of their life; their lands, their goods, their children, their credit, some particular affaire; but to such, as they make their Counsellours, they commit the whole: by how much the more they are obligated to all faith and integrity.  The wisest Princes need not thinke it an diminution to the greatnesses, or derogation to their sufficiency, to rely upon Counsell.  God himelfs is not without; but hath made it one of the great names of his blessed Sonne; The Counsellor.  ...Principis est virtus maxima nosse suos... The true composition of a Counsellor, is rather to be skilful in their master's business, then in his nature; for then he is like to advise him, and not feed his humours. -Francis Bacon The Effayes - Of Counsell
We picked up a leather bound copy of this, by Easton Press, along with a copy of Donne's poetry and Moby Dick for K.  We also got a few old copies of other books - Boswell's biography of Samuel Johnson and some sermons.  It was a delightful, productive I am sure we'll repeat as soon as our pocketbook rebounds.  Have you gleened from this post, that if you ever visit Nashville, you should make the trip to Ellingston Place to find Elder's - you should - you definately should.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Prayer on the door of St. Stephens Catherdral

God make the door of this house
wide enough to receive all
who need human love and fellowship,
narrow enough to shut out
all envy, pride and strife.
Make its threshold smooth enough
to be no stumbling-block to children,
nor to straying feet,
but rugged and strong enough
to turn back the tempter's power.
God, make the door of this house
that gateway to Thine eternal kingdom.


I ran across this prayer again, today.  I have often prayed it for my home.  As my friend and I did craft projects we talked about the trials of life.  My friend and I - we are direct opposites and love each other's strengths - isn't that funny!  Sometimes, opposite's directions when coming upon the same problem can cause strife.  It is wonderful when it can be a means of blessing eachother. She is teaching me how to be direct, which is wonderful when I talk with my daughter and  she says I'm teaching her how to talk preschooler when addressing her two year old.  Isn't it a blessing that we can learn from eachother's giftings how to grow in our own lives and to His kingdom's glory.  Blessed be His name.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Love deep and wide and full and free

We started a new study on Pilgrim's Progress.  This is a really beautiful book, especially for young ones. The introduction included the editor's poem about the work...

The shadow of a wooden cross

A rising Son displayed.
In that place and on that day
An ancient debt was paid.

Prophetic Word merged with flesh,
With love bound to a tree.
There justice met with mercy
For all the world to see.

Divine the name of Him who hangs
With emblem wounds of glory,
Page of light that turned the night
Into a different story.

Joy was mixed with agony
That day upon the tree.
Reflecting on the Book of Life
My Savior thought of me.

Love deep and wide and full and free,
Love priceless and apart,
Love stained with crimson hues and tears
Has entered human hearts.

Look up, dear soul, and fix blind eyes
Upon the Savior’s tree
And you will find as others have,
He makes the sightless see.

An unexpected resting place
Was found beneath that tree,
Where all my burdens came undone
And I found liberty.
-CJ Lovik

Now, this is one of several different copies at our home, our favorite and most precious is the one K. brought back from London, however, with the lovely typeset and beautiful illustrations ( a must for an allegory) I find this edition simply irresistible.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Growing Up in Earnest

Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children's games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups-playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits, so that the pretense of being grown-ups helps them grow up in earnest. -C S Lewis

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Testing Point

Courage is not simply one of the virtues,
but the form of every virtue at the testing point,
which means at the point of highest reality.
A chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger
will be chaste or honest or merciful only on condition.
Pilate was merciful until it became risky.
-C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters

I am cleaning out my office and found a church bulletin from last summer.  It had this Lewis quote.  I thought it might be from Mere Christianity, I googled it and it was not. But, my favorite passage in the Hebrews (10:39) came up in the search - where it admonishes "but we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed but of those who believe and are saved."  Dr. Piper links this quote and verse together here
I had to smile when I saw that; as true courage is never of ourselves - it is one more gift in His plethora of grace to us.  There is always a breaking point in the testing, a condition I cannot withstand without more grace; more grace than has been granted to me up to that point.  God is always about the business of beckoning me to trust Him more; the gift of testing points make me utterly dependant for His greater grace in my, our lives.  McManus said it kind of  like this, "when it comes to a God - sized challenge, self sufficiency ceases to be an option."  True.  Don't you just love that? Reality check - It's not about me, it is always, always about HIM.  When the testing points come, as they inevitably must, if I am to grow into who He is calling me to be - it is HE who holds me and not other way around. Phew! Now that's a relief.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
- Psalm 139

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Word Pictures

The Altar

A broken ALTAR, Lord thy servant rears,
Made of a heart, and cemented with teares:
Whose parts are as thy hand did frame;
No workman's tool hath touch'd the same
A HEART alone
Is such a stone,
As nothing but
Thy pow'r doth cut.
Wherefore each part
Of my hard heart
Meets in this frame,
To praise thy Name:
That if I chance to hold my peace,
These stones to praise thee may not cease.
O let thy blessed SACRIFICE be mine,
And sanctifie this ALTAR to be thine.

George Herbert is a new find for me.  I was flipping through Norton's and found this.  Shaped and spaced poems particularly appeal to me... an elude to my visual learning style.   This subject matter is weighty.  A broken altar - that reoccurring paradox - that in dying - we are raised to life.     It is one study that no one wants to descend to - but once studied, no one would dare resend it's gift.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Happy Birthday...

We celebrated K's bithday today... she is eighteen. Her favorite dinner, tuesday at the movies and fresh flowers from our neighbor's garden.  My, how the years have flown.  Our girl loves to write ... we realize it is not just words on the page that she writes - but also a life.  The words of Richard Wilbur becomes ours, "It is always a matter, my darling, Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish What I wished you before, but harder."

The Writer

In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.

I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.

Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.

But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which

The whole house seems to be thinking,
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.

I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago;
How we stole in, lifted a sash

And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark

And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top,

And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,

It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.

It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.

-Richard Wilbur

In your book were written every one of them;
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them.
How precious are your thoughts, O God!
How vast the sum of them!
...They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain.
Search me, O God, know my heart.
Lead me in the way everlasting.
-Psalm 139
May your life ever be a beacon of His goodness
and a refutation to His enemies.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Antique Valentines

Today was a good day.  We had a particularly hard week and we have been talking about getting away for some time.  Yesterday, we made our escape, we packed a bag quickly and headed off - not going anywhere in particular but just somewhere to decompress.

As we headed down the road I mentioned to E. that I'd seen a few antique shops somewhere along that highway - I didn't know if it was 40 minutes or two hours - so  after driving for some time, and seeing no shops we took an exit that looked promising for food and lodging.  The road curled around and I considered it definate providence that inside of 10 minutes the antique shops I had mentioned appeared in view.  We just had to stop there! 

This morning E. had a Skype conference so I thought it good chance to check out those shops.  E. didn't protest- he walks into antique shops with many of the same thoughts, I suspect, as getting out the mower and making my yard pretty.  He does it for the pleasure of seeing my face brighten, period.  Good man.

The dishes and table linens were lovely, and one booth had a whole mess of antique valentines, I perused and chuckled and moved on - a bit pricey -  I didn't like them quite as much as booth's owner did. Cute as they were.

Next on my list was the books.  I love old books and great deals.  I found one book on biblical economics, a buck, what a steal and then to my surprise, I found a valentine. 

 My valentine, from the lover of my soul.  I have had that book on my Amazon list for at least 5 months - I'd never ordered it  because I have it on kindle. I grabbed it up, no price.  Strange.  I took my finds to the register and waited.  The clerk asked me where I found it, "It was on the same shelf as the other", I replied. I paid the $2.28 and walked out of the door, and out of his earshot, and squelled, "Thank you Jesus, isn't that just like you" - thinking - to send me a valentine after a tough week.

 I was no longer wanting to browse antiques, the second shop would need to wait for another day.  I wanted Fivebucks Starbucks and to read my valentine.

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
(Php 2:1-4 NRSV)

Christ is, indeed, our encourager and consoler.  And now, for another chapter of my valentine.