Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

When Patrick did my job for a week...

Camille thought he might need her bear.  She's nice like that...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What I've Been Reading

My friend, Lisa, had Silence by Shusaku Endo on her reading list for this year.  I'm not sure if I want to recommend this one or not (Lisa loved it if that changes anything).  I found myself thinking about it for days afterward.  It was certainly not a book I couldn't put down, and yet it was complex and thought provoking.  It describes persecution of the Christian church in Japan.  The ending surprised me.....that's always nice.

You should definitely add this one to your reading list...and then call me so we can discuss it.  "In his compelling new book, Radical, David Platt delivers a powerful picture of the church in America today that, on key points, stands in sharp contrast to what the Bible shows us about the person and purpose of Jesus Christ. David challenges Christians to wake up, trade in false values rooted in the American dream, and embrace the notion that each of us is blessed by God for a global purpose—to make Christ’s glory known to all the nations! This is a must-read for every believer!”
—Wess Stafford, president and CEO, Compassion Intl.

One point that stuck out to me was if you make more than $50,000 a year, you make more than 99% of the people in this world.  99%!!!  What are we doing with the awesome responsibility God has given us with our wealth?  I found this book challenging, but not in an everyone should sell everything and move to Africa tomorrow kind of way. 

I just finished a Dorothy Sayers mystery, The Nine Tailors.  It was good, but again, not one I couldn't put down.  I figured out "who done it" earlier than I normally do in mysteries.  Just like Sherlock Holmes, this is just fun-to-read detective work without any horror or real terror in it.

My friend, Krista (who writes excellent book reviews, BTW), recommended Half Broke Horses.  Since I read Jeanette Walls' childhood memoir, The Glass Castle and loved it, I thought I may enjoy this one too.  I did!  Wow.  Walls tells the story of her grandmother's life.  I was absorbed in this story.  Get this one!

Brave New World was suggested by our book club selection committee last year, and Patrick insisted recommended that I read it.  It is a science fiction novel written in the 1930's.  It is uncanny how some of the concepts parallel our society today.  Basically, Aldous Huxley creates a society engineered for "happiness."  There is always prosperity, people are content, and they are programmed to love everything and everyone around them.  There is no free will, no room for passion or true love (because that could lead to heartache).  Apathy, self-absorption, and mindless activities are all pieces that prevail in this society....sound familiar?  Great book to get you thinking...or for a discussion.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Now this is romance...

I haven't been posting a lot lately.  Life's been a bit crazy.  I can't relate.  ;o)

I worked three days last week, and I am working Mon-Fri this week.  Patrick took a week of leave to stay home with the girls.  They are getting some great bonding time with daddy, and we don't have to pay a babysitter....nice.

Yesterday they went to the grocery store, Home Depot, Panera for a snack, and the park.  Today, they went to story hour at the mall followed by lunch at Chick-Fil-A (this was after doing laundry and cleaning up last night's dishes of course).  When I came home, they were sitting on the steps outside waiting for me....

My husband They had worked so hard...

I am SO sure I don't want to know what she put in that cup...

Camille:  What is this really meant to be?

...a hat of course.

They couldn't wait to show me this...

This is WAY better than flowers or candy (not that those things are EVER a bad idea).  I was squealing with joy when I pulled in the driveway.  I love Adeline's cheesy-so excited grin here.  What a way to set the tone for our evening.  Sweetie, I can learn so much from you...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Case for Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"

(by Patrick, on the eve of the RPCB Women’s Book Club 2010-11 selection meeting)

                First, the negatives:  1)  The length.  I “read” Atlas Shrugged in 2008 by listening to it on audio while driving to and from work.  It had the feel of a 200, maybe 300 page book.  So I was flabbergasted when Lynn brought home AS in the flesh -- a 600-page, small-print tome (she almost capitulated to my entreaties to read it).  2)  What you’ve heard is true.  Objectivism, Rand’s system of ethics which is illustrated by AS, is antithetical to Christianity, and to Western Civilization, for that matter.  Whittaker Chambers, ex-communist, reviewing AS for National Review in 1957, pulled no punches, saying Rand’s “shrillness is without reprieve,” hearing it in the echoes of the worst totalitarian regimes of the 20th century.  Rand, through AS’s heroine Dagny Taggart, exalts promiscuity, one reason why AS is met by some aversion in Christian circles.  (But, book club, if you can stomach “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” surely you can stomach Atlas Shrugged.)  
                And one can go on.  So why read it?  First, it is widely regarded as one the most important books of the 20th century.  Second, reading AS, if anything, will contextualize the “Who is John Galt?” bumper stickers that are starting to appear around Bowie (ah…you’re sold!).  But the primary reason (which is behind the latter two) is that AS, for all its “shrillity,” is an effective explication of what I would call extreme libertarianism (though Rand shunned that word).  The economic bent espoused by Rand in AS is apropos today, especially with midterm elections looming.  If you maintain a grain of cultural competency these days, then you are bombarded by a constant stream of statements (some overt and some covert) that illustrate the far left of political philosophy (embodied in a socialist utopia), with the result (I think) that the American populace is pulled by degrees farther and farther to the left of center, where it historically occupied the right of center.  Over the last 80 years, this shift has lead to a monstrous welfare economy, and an implicit, unchallenged assumption that we need the government’s help in all, but especially economic, circumstances.  Now we quietly hand over a large portion of our personal property in taxes, while the government grows larger and more overbearing, the latter illustrated by the fact that, for the first time in history, legislation was just passed that REQUIRES private citizens to spend their own money to purchase a product or face heavy penalties (the “individual mandate” of Obamacare).  Atlas Shrugged offers a still fresh discussion of liberalism’s economic converse. If we must listen to the ramblings of Fool A, then let’s also give Fool B a hearing.  Then we’ll be better able to navigate the middle.  In my limited reading, I haven’t found such a discussion, stated so effectively, anywhere else.  And so the advantage of AS, as I see it, is that it gets us asking questions that have not been asked, by Americans anyway, for a very long time.  It helps us to conceive of a counterpoint to the propaganda we are spoon-fed everyday by a liberal media and culture.  It helps us to conceive of the dignity of conservatism, which is based on the dignity of the individual, while rejecting (as we must do if reading as a mature Christian, or with the guidance of a parent) those elements of Objectivism which are manifestly evil. 
Let me return to my first disclaimer:  if you are put off by the book’s length (and I would have been), then I suggest you read John Galt’s 100-or-so-page monologue toward the end of the book (can’t quote page numbers here…sorry).  This is a concise explanation of Objectivism.  Or do like I did and listen to the novel on audio.  Or, book club, make it your 2011 summer reading. 
Next week:  The Case for Green Eggs and Ham

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Random Summer Tidbits...cont.

1.Yes, we did in fact participate in "Cow Appreciation Day."  We printed our costumes off of the Chick-Fil-A website, and enjoyed over $30 of delicious food.  That's right.  Just dress like a cow and you get free meals, free size upgrades, free kids meals, free milkshakes (have mercy)....oh, and of course they have coupons and games where you can win MORE free stuff for future trips.  I heart CFA.  Patrick may or may not have pitched a bigger fit than the kids and needed all forms of bribery to participate.  Pictures of him may have been forbidden, and he may have later admitted to having a blast and being willing to do it again.  Oh, and I may have enjoyed putting spots on my baby's backside...she wouldn't keep them on the front.

2.This is a nightly routine at our house these days.  When daddy gets home, he takes the girls out to collect our daily vegetable harvest, and they gorge themselves on tomatoes while I finish dinner.

I love watching those little hands devour this home grown goodness.

3.  Just a few shots of my baby in all her "sweet hat/ baggy bloomers" cuteness.  

4.  A few weeks ago, we joined our friends, Faris and Camille, and their boys, Luke and Nolan at Watkin's Park.  We looked at the animals...

Rode a pony...well, Luke did.  Adeline was having an afraid of my shadow day decided not to ride.

We all enjoyed the carousel and the train.  You can check out Camille's blog for more pictures of the day.

5.  All this summer fun is just exhausting!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

We had Bible school last week...

There mountain high enough...

No river wide enough...

No ocean deep enough...

(and sometimes she REALLY gets into the ocean part)

To separate me from God!

Camille loves it too.  She dances, tries to follow what Adeline's doing, smiles, and exudes all forms of cuteness...

Oh, and to all of you who actually know that song.  You're welcome for putting it in your head all. day. long.  

I'll try to get a vlog, but no promises.  She is a little performer at home (when there's no camera), but WOULD NOT get up front to do more than one song with the kids at Bible school.  Oh well!

Wordless Wednesday---Only the mom of girls...