We humans spend a remarkable amount of time complaining (at least internally, if not verbally) about things that we're actually grateful for. With me, it's usually, "This job is boring, I'm tired, I don't want to be here." I get so caught up in one moment of how I feel that I ignore what a blessing it is to have a job at all, and especially a fun, convenient, flexible job with great coworkers.

Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Maybe our grateful speech outweighs the ungrateful, but all that leaves us with is a big jumble of hypocrisy. We can sing the Doxology in church, but if we spend the other six days of the week griping, our "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow" isn't doing us much good.

James gives complaints and ingratitude no quarter, no matter who we're complaining about: "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be." One person speaking both curses and praise--true praise--is like a spring that gives both fresh and salty water: impossible. It's one or the other, all or nothing.

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.


Summer Reading #3

Conventiculum left me with no time (or brainpower) for reading, so I lost nearly two weeks.

Alan M. Dershowitz, Reasonable Doubts: As a child of the 90's, I was too busy learning the alphabet to follow the O. J. Simpson trial. This book presents the case in full and explains why the jury didn't convict... hence the title. I feel broadened and educated.

Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo: Not what I was expecting, but nevertheless good fodder for my love of 19th-century French lit. But... my copy is an abridgement! Not cool.

Henry James, Washington Square: It can't compete with James's masterpiece The Portrait of a Lady, but still has its share of keen observations and finely-drawn characters in less-than-ideal circumstances. And, it's mentioned in The Big Oyster....

Mark Kurlansky, The Big Oyster: History on the Half-Shell: This book combines two of my favorite things, seafood and New York, into a fascinating portrait of a city, its industry, and its food. This and Salt have placed me firmly in Kurlansky's fan base.

Robin McKinley, Sunshine (not pictured): Not the best I've read from this author, but a pleasant diversion... if you like off-the-beaten-track vampire fiction. 14a (that's a Canadian movie rating) for language and one sketchy bit. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Eve Titus, Basil of Baker Street: The book that inspired my favorite Disney movie: a perfect birthday present, bite-sized at 70 pages. So cute!

N. D. Wilson, Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl: This world is a spinning miracle. I'm glad I finally took a minute to stand back and look at it from N. D.'s ever-fresh perspective.

Ben H. Winters, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters: This licks its zombie predecessor hollow, actually adding multiple twists and sidelines to the plot (rather than just inserting monsters into every other scene.) The result: delightfully bizarre.

Books: 8
Pages: 2321
If you read one, read: Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl (click for the Google Books preview.)
If you've already read it, read: The Big Oyster.


In the last ten years,

I've visited four new provinces, two new states, and two new countries.

I've jumped off of a cliff.

I've lain on my roof and watched shooting stars.

I've conquered my terror of public speaking, mostly.

I've swum across a river.

I've flown across an ocean.

I've eaten breakfast for all three meals of one day.

I've danced in a parade.

I've watched a baby fall asleep in my arms.

I've watched my big brother turn 20. Now it's my turn.

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord God our Father.


Variations on the Canon by George Winston

from the album December.


The body is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
(1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 53)

Dr Wilson gave us the creeps one day in science when he pointed out that when you look at someone, or yourself, every cell that you see is dead. Your cells are layered: the top rows serve as an expendable cushion so that you don't shred yourself raw when you get dressed in the morning. Dead cells rub off, and beneath the surface, another row rises to replace them.

It's shocking how dead we all are.

I've heard the mortal and immortal bodies compared to a seed and a flower. Seeds are great; flowers are greater. Given a knobbly brown bulb, white lilies and green leaves may come as a bit of a surprise. But when that which is perfect has come, that which is in part will be done away. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face, with faces that will never die.

Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.

One day, we will be shockingly alive.


priority check

How often do you check yourself in the mirror?
How often do you check your conscience?

How much time do you spend checking your email?
How much time do you spend reading your Bible?

How many times a day do you complain about your problems?
How many times do you pray about them?

My life is definitely imbalanced.

How many Christians have read a self-help book cover to cover, but can't remember the last time they read through the Bible?
If it's important enough to ask our friends for advice, why aren't we asking God?