I’ve had some time to read today and find that I can’t really ingest any more of The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction without pausing to reflect. This excerpt in particular, quoted from Charles Darwin, captures my attention: Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds… gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays… But now for many years I cannot endure to read a…Continue Reading “Grinding Machine”

I’ve been thinking about God sending the Israelites into the wilderness for 40 years to discipline them for their unbelief. On Sunday a picture of the desert was projected on a screen in church, and what struck me most was how utterly barren it was. There is no way the Israelites could provide anything for themselves. They couldn’t raise crops or pasture livestock. They couldn’t barter with the hostile neighbors for clothing. Yet we’re told that God provided manna to eat, water to drink, and…Continue Reading “Consider the lilies”

A friend posted a link to this article, titled “What Not to Say to a Working Mother.” It’s a good article, and it really raised my awareness. What’s interesting to me is that though I doubt that I would ever actually say any of the things on the list, it includes things I have heard working moms say themselves. I don’t know any working mothers who are without angst about it at some level. But I am not without my share of angst about my…Continue Reading “Living from the Heart”

Sometimes a passage just has to be shared. That’s how I feel about this one, from a book I’m reading by Barbara Brown Taylor. She is describing her and her husband’s decision to leave city life, and her account of the way they process the decision is both beautifully expressed and true to my experience: Since we are both intuitive types, we do not decide things as much as we gravitate toward them. This is not very theological language, I know, but on the subject…Continue Reading “Intuition”

My feelings toward homeschooling have been all over the map lately. I feel restless. It’s odd that I recently reaffirmed my sense that my full-time job right now is being a mother and educator to my children — only to begin wrestling with the desire to bring this phase to a close. I do a good job of providing some things that they need — a rich imaginative and spiritual world, minimal screen time, books and stories, hands-on science and nature study, strong relationships within…Continue Reading “How to listen”

I can’t say Jerry Bridges’ True Community bowled me over. It’s not that kind of book. But it did validate the hunger I feel for more depth of spiritual fellowship. It’s mainly a definitional book that explores the different aspects of the biblical concept of “koinonia,” by which Bridges means “sharing of a common life.” It involves more than the superficial socializing that can be had at church gatherings, and more than a feeling of being a dedicated member of an institution. Bridges takes up…Continue Reading “True Community”

Does our mind spontaneously return to God when not intensely occupied, as the needle of the compass turns to the North Pole when removed from nearer magnetic sources? (Dallas Willard, quoted in Jerry Bridges’ True Community) I read this question last night and thought it was worth considering. What someone does with their discretionary thinking time can be revealing indeed. I’m not really sure what my “home base” is, but I’ll be paying attention today.

An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith is a beautifully written contemplation on the ways ordinary living can intersect with the divine. Barbara Brown Taylor writes about the everyday disciplines that become portals into God’s presence: paying attention, wearing skin, getting lost, encountering others, feeling pain. It was not surprising to discover late in the book that Brother Lawrence is one of Taylor’s spiritual mentors, because in one important way her perspective resembles his: no earthly activity is too humble to be a…Continue Reading “An Altar in the World”

I received this notebook for Christmas. It’s a present from my husband and daughters. They know I love notebooks and journals, and I’ve been wanting a new one. Inside is an encouraging message about my writing, written by my husband. Like so many bloggers, I think of myself as a writer. I even have one book to show for it. But my usual reflex when someone says, “You should write a book” is, “I have nothing to say.” Nevertheless, when my husband asks me, as…Continue Reading “From the Notebook: Joy”

John Eldredge is a needed voice. He writes about something that might seem obvious — how to walk with God daily. But lately, listening to others, I’ve realized that this is something many people don’t know how to do. They know how to have a “conversion experience.” They know how to go to church, how to sign up for activities there, and how to talk the talk. But how to listen to God’s voice in their everyday lives? Not so much. That’s where John Eldredge…Continue Reading “Walking with God”