Thursday, April 30, 2009

Top Ten Thursday

(Yes, I know this is typically supposed to be "Top Ten Tuesday." But when have I ever been determined to follow the pack?)

Ten Things I'm Thankful For

10. Cool evenings when you can sleep under a blanket with the windows wide open.
9. Carrots and peppers and tomatoes and basil growing in the garden.
8. Goldfinches in the bird feeder.
7. Hot chocolate, a good book, and a comfy chair on a lazy Saturday afternoon.
6. Legos and coloring books.
5. Clear starry nights when you can see the Orion Nebula and the Milky Way.
4. A growing church community with "Biblical Christianity, Anglican Worship."
3. Our cat, though thoroughly wicked, who will curl up next to me and purr when I'm in a funk.
2. Friends and relations, both near and far.
1. The philosopher. "For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live." 15 years on May 22. Wow.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Librarians Wish Publishers Knew

OK, I'll call this a shameless plug. Read THIS. ::grin:: It's a brochure created by my favorite library comic strip Unshelved. They spent a large amount of time soliciting opinions from readers, booksellers, and librarians for comments on things they wished they could tell publishers. Then they illustrated it, and will be distributing it to publishers and all other unsundry takers at BookExpo America.

My favorite? "The cover artist should read the book!"

(And I promise you, there are some atrocious covers out there, especially among the philosophy books. I mean really, do you want to read a book on Neoplatonism that has an aqua blue and lime green abstract cover? Blech!)

Monday, April 20, 2009


1. Alabama Spring Onions
2. English Peas
3. Cucumbers
4. Broccoli
5. Eggplant
6. Baby New Potatoes
7. Zucchini Squash
8. Cherry Tomatoes
9. Lettuce
10. Strawberries

These are the items we are receiving in our farm delivery tomorrow. I just can't say how excited we are! I'm thinking eggplant parmesean, fresh broccoli, zucchini bread, roasted new potatoes, cucumber-and-cream-cheese sandwiches, and lots of strawberry jam. (Not all at once of course, but it really is nice not to have to plan meals based on a trip to the grocery store.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Praise and Prayers

A blessed Easter to you all - Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Prayers of Thanksgiving

1. My grandmother is back at my mom's house, and resting comfortably. She's under hospice care now and that has been a real blessing, albiet a difficult transition, for mother. Since we sold the small commercial property grandmother owned, we now have enough cash on hand to meet any immediate needs she may have. I hope if I live to be 97, that my years can be as productive and fruitful as hers have been.

2. Along the same lines, we are preparing the family home for sale. It's listed with a real estate agency (you can see it here, if you're interested) and getting a number of showings a week. It's in a poor town, so that's not helping... but we're hopeful! The more pressing concern is the 120 years of stuff our family's six generations have accumulated - currently tucked into every nook and cranny of the house and the four outbuildings. We were planning a yard sale. A big yard sale. A REALLY REALLY BIG yard sale. Unfortunately, the burden of that fell mostly on me, a physical and emotional burden that I was dreading with every fiber of my being. So I convinced the rest of the family that we should hire an estate sale company. Praise God!

Prayers for Peace and Comfort

1. My cousin, who had been helping with the house prep, has been diagnosed with a heart problem. She's going to have a heart catheterization next week, which will hopefully ward off a possible future stroke. She lost her mom (my mother's sister) when she was about the same age as her son, so you can imagine the fear and concern she's having right now. So please pray for peace and a successful procedure.

2. A longtime family acquaintance lost her home to fire yesterday. The family is all fine - they weren't home when it happened - but it appears they lost nearly everything, including their precious dogs. (We are hoping that their oldest daughter's wedding dress - she's getting married in three weeks - was not in the house!) I pray for peace and comfort; may they rest in God's gentle embrace during this traumatic time.

Keep watch, dear Lord,
with those who work, or watch, or weep this night,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary,
bless the dying, soothe the suffering,
pity the afflicted, shield the joyous;
and all for your love's sake. Amen.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Prayers for Holy Week

Since I'll be offline until the weekend, I wanted to offer up these prayers for Holy Week...

ALMIGHTY God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

O MERCIFUL God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor desirest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; Have mercy upon all who know thee not as thou art revealed in the Gospel of thy Son; Take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

May God be with you this holy season, and may we rejoice together at His glorious resurrection!

Monday, April 6, 2009

I Protest!

I live in Alabama. It is April 6. And the Weather Channel has SNOW on the forecast for tonight. Noooooo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!!!!!!!

I would like to lodge a formal protest, if I may.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Higher Education.

I'm employed in higher education. My husband is a college professor. We've both worked at a Christian college and at secular schools. We both deeply lament the loss of a coherent liberal arts core in most institutions, and wish there were a way to bring that kind of curriculum back.

A new blogger on Mere Comments has posted this brilliant piece here. One particular snippet stands out to me:
At the same time, formal higher education is under competitive pressure from alternative sources. The number of online options continues to increase. Students in many fields may find themselves pursuing Microsoft certification (or the equivalent) in a corporate setting rather than at a university. To make matters worse, the evisceration of the classic liberal arts core curriculum has left many scratching their heads at why they have to spend two years taking a cafeteria style core that imparts no particular foundation of knowledge. Unless it can answer these challenges, higher education may be in store for a major reversal of fortune.

He goes on to talk about Christian institutions, and how they can answer the challenges by emphasizing their intellectual and moral formation. I would change that to "emphsizing their intellectual and moral foundations". I don't think you can do the former unless you do the latter. I am seeing first-hand what happens when you don't teach students how to reason, how to write, and how to think critically. The author goes on to say:
[T]he Christian schools should place a heavy emphasis on a rigorous and classical liberal arts core curriculum. This curriculum should not have a lot of choice in it. Students should journey together under expert guidance through the great conversations of the ages. The teachers should look for opportunities to connect their teaching to their understanding of the Christian faith.
Amen! Yes! A smorgasborg "core" doesn't build a foundation. To do that you need students taking the same classes in sequence, so each class builds off the other. Once the students complete the core, they go on to their chosen disciplines with a solid background and a deeper appreciation for all those fields they didn't choose.

And I do have a small quibble with our current Christian liberal arts institutions. To teach *philosophy* in the core means you need to have a professor with a *philosophy* degree. Too often Christian colleges are staffing their philosophy positions with theology profs, perhaps with the ill-conceived notion that the two subjects are comparable in education and content. Philosophy and theology are not the same, however, and to teach philosophy in no way undermines the Christian basis of the college itself. Alas, I know a deeply commited, conservative Christian philosophy PhD who would excel at the things this article espouses, if ever he's given the opportunity once again. ::Sigh::