Before the Throne

Lately I’ve been struggling with discouragement as a mother. My girls are wonderful, such gifted and beautiful little girls. They (like my husband) challenge me to come out of myself and engage more than I ever would have done on my own. But some days — like yesterday — I feel totally inadequate. These days

Declaration of Independence and Other Documents

A new president is about to take office, and these are momentous days in the nation and in the world. My reading year concludes with this little gem, The Declaration of Independence and Other Great Documents of American History 1775-1865. It’s a slim volume, only 95 pages long, but it was a challenge to read

Amos Fortune: Free Man

I picked up this Newbery winner by Elizabeth Yates at the big book sale in our area a month or so ago. I recognized the title because I’d wanted to read it for the Decades Challenge this year, but I couldn’t get my hands on a copy and ended up reading something else instead. I

Christmas Memory

The classical (or neo-classical) approach to homeschooling stresses the importance of memory work during the first stage, the “grammar stage,” of education. Fill those absorbent young minds with lots of good stuff, then teach them to evaluate and write about it in later stages. But during this Christmas season, I’ve been struck by how much


Epicenter is this month’s selection for the book club I belong to. I was curious to read it, because recently the subject of the Middle East has come up several times in conversations, and I wanted to learn more. This book certainly filled the bill. Joel Rosenberg has authored several political thrillers, none of which

The Princess and Curdie

Here she is: Princess Irene of The Princess and the Goblin . She’s following the thread spun by her mysterious grandmother, who lives in a tower, keeps pigeons, and reveals herself only to Irene. That thread helps her to stay oriented in the caves of the goblins as she rescues Curdie, a miner boy who

Raising Readers

I joked on another blog recently that I was raising readers the old-fashioned way: by making sure they have nothing else to do but read. It’s somewhat true; we aren’t awash in extra-curricular activities, I permit very little television, and I let them leave the light on at night to read. I believe in this

The Weight of Glory

The Weight of Glory is a collection of speeches C.S. Lewis gave on different topics, for different occasions. It was my first experience of reading Lewis this way, rather than in a sustained story or argument, and I got a sense of how he must have been as a speaker — very erudite, very entertaining,

Obituary for a Stranger

I wrote this poem about a year ago, just before Thanksgiving. It was inspired by the news that a pilot of a small multi-engine aircraft had taken off from the airport where my husband works, and promptly crashed. His business in town was done, and he’d been on his way home for the holiday. I

The Way of Ignorance

In order to arrive at what you do not know You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance. (T.S. Eliot, “East Coker”) So reads the passage from which Wendell Berry’s 2005 essay collection The Way of Ignorance takes its title. Ranging from essays of a page or two, to full-length lectures