Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. - II Timothy 2:15

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Monday, October 29, 2012

My Treasure?

"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God."
Proverbs 2:1-5

It always astonishes me how many times I can read a verse and never really take in what it means. I've been thinking of this particular one for a while. 

I know you've all heard this verse as many times as I have. It's one of those that makes it on cards and bookmarks and pictures and bags and Bible covers and mugs and pens and suchlike. 
And I've found that the more I hear a verse, the less I actually think about it and feel its impact. 

I have to ask myself some uncomfortable questions when I take this verse seriously. And, frankly, I'm not too keen on answering them. 

Of course, I can say "well, I've actually never searched for hidden treasure all that much, so I guess I'm searching Scripture more than that!" 

Haha, I'm sure. 

But in reality, do I store up God's word in my mind as eagerly as I do quotes from movies or lines from books or the other useless paraphernalia that whirls around in my brain?

Do I turn my ear to wisdom with the swiftness with which I listen to music or the other selections on my iPod? 

Do I apply myself to understanding the word of God (ie: giving the verses in my Bible more than a passing glance and a "well, perhaps someday I'll look that up and find out what it really means") with the diligence I muster for figuring out where I'm going in my writing or working out a tricky plot twist?

Do I consistently pray for wisdom, insight, and understanding or when I come up against a problem do I worry at it and struggle to figure it out myself without asking for help from the One who can Himself give me peace?

Do I search the Scriptures and pray and seek God's face with the eagerness that I feel to pursue my favorite hobbies and pastimes? Do I look forward to the time I spend in the Word or do I push it off to sleep for an extra half hour? 

What is my treasure? What is it in my life that I value so much that giving it up would hurt more than anything?

Is it worth the cost?

And turn it around:

Do I really, honestly long to understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God?

The answer, of course, is yes. 

Who wouldn't? 

But the question is: am I really, honestly willing to do everything it takes (accept, store up, turn, apply, call and search) to understand the fear of and knowledge of God?

Am I?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Review: The Woman In White

This is going to just be a brief review because, let's face it, the book is 645 pages long and most of it can't be discussed for fear of letting the proverbial cat out of the bag. 

4 out of 5
Recommended for: anyone who's up for 600+ pages of any book, likes mysteries and either adores or can at least tolerate classics
Categories: classics, benchmark reads

Generally considered the first English sensation novel, The Woman in White features the remarkable heroine Marian Halcombe and her sleuthing partner, drawing master Walter Hartright, pitted against the diabolical team of Count Fosco and Sir Percival Glyde. A gripping tale of murder, intrigue, madness, and mistaken identity, Collins’s psychological thriller has never been out of print in the 140 years since its publication. 

The Woman in White is as remarkable as Marian Halcombe herself. It's written in Collins' signature "narrative of" form and this switching from viewpoint to viewpoint keeps the story from dragging due to the variety of writing styles. 
Most particularly I enjoyed the narratives of Marian, Count Fosco and Edward Fairlie (who are, incidentally, also my favorite characters). 

The plot is fascinating - Collins is a master of suspense and withheld information - but I would argue that it doesn't move quickly at all and is slightly bogged down by over-detailing. 

Marian and the Count overshadow every other character (I don't know if that was intentional or not, but I am (alas!) unable to apply to the author for particulars) which is slightly unfortunate for those who are more attached to the other populace of this novel. Laura and Walter especially are rather weak.

Additionally, as in The Moonstone, the writing here is not your typical "classic" language. It flows more easily than a (for example) Dickens novel. He doesn't run his sentences on interminably and he uses words and descriptions that are more modern in style. It's easier to read than a typical old-fashioned classic.

Would I urge any stranger on the street to read this book? Most likely not. But I definitely feel the better for having slapped it on the "read" shelf. 

Till next time, 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Nano Buddies?

Just wondering if anyone around here wants to share their Nano name for buddies? You can find me as AlixJamie and I'd love to chum up with anyone who's interested! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

On Ogres

So I signed up for NaNoWriMo yesterday. 

I survived - doing fine! - but as I was reading about the procedures and what I'm getting myself into and as it fully dawned on me that I am committing myself to write about 1,700 words a day (a good day for me is generally somewhere between 500-900 words) on an everchanging plot which I alternately love and hate my inner editor kicked up its heels and howled.

Now most of you are probably not acquainted with my inner editor (consider yourselves blessed) and I am, unfortunately, chained to it.

It demands - no more than that - it expects perfection and settles for nothing less.

I don't know how I'm going to get through thirty days of ignoring that beast and always going forward without looking backward. 

This is going to be tough. 

Very, very tough.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

What It Means...

Living in a family of eleven - where two members are parents and the rest of us give it our best shot - is a pretty foreign concept to a lot of people we meet outside the house. {We're homeschooled too, so this doesn't happen much [Sorry, homeschool joke... :-D]}

I'd like to give a small dissertation on what it's really like around here, because I know from only limited observation that we're nothing like the Duggars.

Living in a family of eleven means... the bathrooms is a once-a-day job {though it only really happens once a week - and that's if we get lucky}.

...privacy is only available if there's a shower involved - or a bathroom door that can be locked from the inside {this really only works if there's actually a key for the lock and not one of those knobs that you can pick with a toothpick or screwdriver}.

...laundry comes in half-ton allotments where the only things that are right side out are the clean clothes someone found on the floor and tossed back in.'re forced to play the I-pick-a-number-between-one-and-one-hundred game whenever there's only one of something left {it used to be ten, but more than half the numbers were taken and siblings figured out how to block their lesser-liked siblings out}.

...the personal food in the fridge or pantry {i.e. chai concentrates, melty chocolate, fruit snacks} that isn't marked with the initials of the owner is fair game for anyone to dig into - and often is.

...doubling recipes is automatic and tripling is rarely questioned. 

...the only leftovers in the icebox are the ones no one liked

...if a recipe calls for the dough to be chilled, it is considered debatable that these cookies will ever make it to the 350 degree stage cannot walk through the front door without tripping over at least twenty shoes, which are generally missing their mates.

...being left home alone isn't a frightening prospect.'ve never seen a grocery receipt that's less than two feet long.'ve learned how to evade the laundry hamper, dresser, wardrobe door and bunk bed ladder in the six-person room without a light, but still manage to kick the metal garbage can every time you heed the call of nature at one in the morning. haven't slept in a non-bunk bed since you were four years old. brace your hand on the sliding bathroom door when you sit down because you're lucky if only one person walks in on you during the two minutes of your residence. participate in the briefing every night to decide what order the cars get pulled into the driveway.

...first come, first served is sometimes the thin line between satisfaction and starvation {or at least whether or not you get the leftover chinese takeout}

...there's no guarantee that the page you left your book on when you went out of the room is the page it will be on when you return - if the book still happens to be where you left it anyway.

...your mother made a rule that you could only read biographies while utilizing the facilities. Result: drastic cut-down in bathroom lines.'ve been asked so many times if you're like the Duggars that you're considering legally changing your name and cutting in on some of the profits. can study in a room where two people are practicing, one person is playing and three others are talking and still get something out of the text. councils are called, but nothing is ever resolved before everyone leaves. open up a jar of peanut butter to eat a spoonful and look for it the next day only to find the empty container in the garbage. deliberately stir the jam with a knife only because it irks a certain family member and not because you really prefer it stirred. actually think about stirring jam. lists are an all-family effort and generally contain but are not limited to fifty items.

...seating in the car is mapped out before long trips and rearranged throughout the day to reflect changes in sibling compatibility. 

...English is your second language - sarcasm is first. He who stings last missed the argument by half an hour. for a family of four is a challenge.

...babysitting for non-family members is difficult because you can't spank the kids.

...bedtimes are ambiguous - and mom and dad are usually the first ones in.

...entering a restaurant generally involves dismantling the interior to make enough space to seat you.

...transferring car seats is a way of life.

...younger siblings will sacrifice their time to watch your screensaver when you leave for a minute. can't do anything without three people looking over your shoulder.

...random acts of joy are met with questions like "how many coffee beans have you eaten today?"

...the things you do are always observed - and never forgotten.

...what you choose to watch, click on or listen to will eventually affect the entire family. have great responsibility to be a role model - either good or bad. are a part of one of the most misunderstood factions in the United States. Your image is monitored, critiqued and questioned. You're praised by some and mocked by others. You're a symbol of success and a symbol of failure. You're never going to be "normal".

And that's ok.

Because, according to you, there's no better way to live. 

Till next time!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In All Things...

Only he who gives thanks for little things receives the big things. We prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts He has in store for us, because we do not give thanks for daily gifts. We think we dare not be satisfied with the small measure of spiritual knowledge, experience, and love that has been given to us, and that we must constantly be looking forward eagerly for the highest good. 
Then we deplore the fact that we lack the deep certainty, the strong faith, and the rich experience that God has given to others and we consider this lament to be pious. 
We pray for the big things, and forget to give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is not great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if, on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ.

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer -

Monday, October 1, 2012

Home Alone

There are dangers, my friends, in being home alone. 


You can lock the doors, fasten the windows, block the cracks, strap the phone to your side with "911" on speedial 5 (I've had a session with our phone keypad and found that it's the button my finger will go to with the most reliability in response to an emergency. I'd advise a similar session with your handiest calling device), even sit in the bathroom with the door locked on the inside, but the danger is still present. 

It's not always a man in a mask or a convict in stripes (though I think we've updated to orange now...). It's not always a raging beast clawing at the door. Sometimes, the danger is much, much closer to home. 

And sometimes it's much, much more disguised.

And then, of course, sometimes it's in a mustard yellow, microwave safe bowl with sprays of white flowers on the side, guarded only by a singularly defenseless strip of plastic wrap that's already been tampered with.


Ladies, it's puppy chow. 

Muddy buddies. 

Whatever you call them - I've heard differing interpretations - they're rice Chex coated in peanut butter and chocolate and shaken in a bag with powdered sugar. And...they're...delicious. 

I think you now understand - if you didn't before - my desperate plight. 

I've already eaten the ones obviously endowed with extra chocolate. I've already had several samples of the crumbles at the bottom, complete with extra sugar that didn't adhere to the mixture, and the plastic wrap's defenses are starting to wear down.

I can feel its presence in the other room, though I have wisely removed myself from the near premises. 

But I know it will only be a matter of time.

A matter of time before I am the person who managed to finish off a third of a bowl of muddy buddies singlehandedly. 

I will hold out as long as I can, but reinforcements must come.

Preferably someone who will share them with me or eat the rest.

Or I am, and forever will be (until tomorrow, at least), sunk. 

Completely and totally sunk.