Thursday, April 29, 2010


Earlier this week I spent a few days at my folks' house while Dave was on travel. Dad was off taking training in preparation for working for the Census Bureau, so mom ad I had a relaxing day together. Here she is, sitting under he leafing-out wisteria in her back yard. We wandered through the Botanical Gardens, and the Aquarium in Albuquerque, and took in a small quilt show in Rio Rancho, and had a lovely day together.

Time with our mothers (and fathers for that matter) is a precious thing. I know she will not always be here to spend time with. So I am enjoying the blessing of easy fellowship and company with her. And, Gentle Reader, I hope you will follow my lead, and call your mom!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Here's a lovely song for the end of a busy day. (You can listen to it by clicking on the title and playing at YouTube.)

Nothing Without you
by Bebo Norman
Take these hands and lift them up
For I have not the strength to praise You near enough
For I have nothing,I have nothing without You

Take my voice and pour it out
Let it sing the songs of mercy I have found
For I have nothing,I have nothing without You

All my soul needs
Is all Your love to cover me
So all the world will see
That I have nothing without You

Take my body and build it up
May it be broken as an offering of love
For I have nothing,I have nothing without You

All my soul needs
Is all Your love to cover me
So all the world will see
That I have nothing
But I love You

With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my might
With all the strength that I can find

Take my time here on this earth
And let it glorify all that You are worth
For I am nothing,
I am nothing without You

Monday, April 19, 2010

Health Update

Last week I had my oncology appointment. The short story is that everything looked great on my mammograms and my bloodwork. I was a little bummed to find that twice-yearly scans, alternating between mammograms and breast MRIs is what my doc recommends, along with every four-month check-ups with her, for the next 8 years or so. *Sigh* But I need to not complain. I am disease-free, praise God!

Thank you, Gentle Readers, for all your prayers. God is showering me with blessing! I am well, and full of energy, and enjoying His many blessings!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sundays with Jean

Prayer: it is a mainstay of the Christian life, but is also a struggle, at least for me. The temptations of the world around me, the calendar events of the day, the lack of discipline of my own mind: these often lead me away from the duty and joy of prayer. Reading Calvin on prayer has been both practical and encouraging. Those who talk of Calvin as strictly intellectual and inaccessible have evidently never read him when he says:

...[I]t is fully evident that unless voice and song, if interposed with prayer, spring from deep feeling of heart, neither has any value or profit in the least with God...
~Jean Calvin, Institutes Book III, Chapter 20, Part 31

That is practical, personal advice from a pastor's heart. And I was edified by this reminder that we may pray unceasingly because God give to us unceasingly:

The reason why Paul enjoins us both to pray and to give thanks without ceasing is, of course, that he wishes all men to lift up their desires to God, with all possible constancy, at all times, in all places, and in all affairs and transactions, to expect all things from him, and give give him praise for all things, since he offers us unfailing reasons to praise and pray.
J. Calvin, Institutes, Book III, Chapter 20, Part 28

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The baby of runners...

When Tim went to Calvin, the assistant cross-country coach told us that he made it his goal to match up distance runners and improve the gene pool. His contention was that distance runners are the cream of the crop, and the more little distance runners you create the better. Well, he did encourage Tim and Nikki, as two excellent athletes, to date, and the rest is history.

When the perinatal technologist did a sonogram on Little Finni yesterday, she was amazed to find this little one already stretching in-utero (at about 17 weeks gestation!) In the photo above, the baby's body is at the bottom of the picture. His or her leg is stretched straight up along the left side of the picture, and with his or her little hand, she or he has grasped his foot and seems to be pulling it in a familiar runner's stretch.

I guess some things are just genetic!

All things look good at this point in the pregnancy. Nikki is feeling somewhat better, and gaining a little weight. Thanks for your prayers, Gentle Reader, and please continue them for this little runner, due around the 25th of September.

Friday, April 16, 2010

An update on our classicist

I enjoy lovely, philosophical talks with my ds the classicist. We discuss books, movies, theology, teaching, current events, philosophy...and it's always stimulating and fun! I have become his "bus stop buddy": he calls when waiting for and riding the bus home. I love that connection!

This week I got an update on where he stands in his studies, and some of you like to be kept informed about such things, so here we go. Ben has passed all his Latin comps, and has one more Greek translation comp to pass early next fall. He plans on taking care of his reading comprehensives in 3 modern languages, too: two this summer, Lord willing (German, French and Italian.) He has been given the "green light" to proceed with his "Special Author" study. This is not only a great nod to keep moving, but an implicit go-ahead on his thesis topic for his doctorate: a MAJOR step! his doctoral thesis will have something to do with the Eclogues, a set of 8 pastoral poems by Virgil. For more details, you'll have to ask him.

The "special author" means he is to become an expert: dig a deep hole in one author or time period. Usually, one becomes an expert on the person you are studying for your dissertation, but they don't allow you to do that with Homer or Virgil since the literature is overwhelming. So Ben will be studying late Helenistic poetry as his 'special", including Theocritus, Bion, and Kolymicus, along with the Argonautica (the epic poem of Jason, the Argonauts, the golden fleece, etc.). He will complie a bibliography of 80 - 100 works that he knows well from this time period, and read a minimum of 200 pages in the original (Greek) and will have a set of papers to write. one will be on historical context, one will be on textual traditions of the time period, ad there may be others as well. Then he will have a 2-hour translation test, and a 2-hour essay test from his faculty supervisor. The professor he was assigned is tough and knowledgeable, so Ben is excited at the prospects. And thi is what he loves. there may also be an oral exam. And all this to have the priviledge of working on your thesis!

Way to go, Ben! We are so proud of you!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In love let's persevere...

Today I am grateful for many thins. But one of the things I remain constantly thankful for is my best friend for more than 30 years, and husband for almost that long. I ran across the following poem recently, and I thought it was appropriate for us. And I can't compete with Anne Bradstreet's poetry.

So, thank you, Dave: for loving me, befriending me, choosing to be faithful and take delight in me. You are my greatest earthly blessing!

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can in no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love lets so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
~Anne Bradstreet

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring cleaning

Spring was in the air today, Gentle Reader. The soft, yellow-green signs of life are poking up in the back gardens!

We spent the morning raking up winter debris...

And pruning the fruit trees...

And keeping some of the freshly pruned branches to bring inside and force into bud before our very eyes, thus bringing a bit of spring right indoors with us...

And got compost turned into the vegetable garden so we are ready to plant peas...

Despite the fact that you see only my family members working in these photos, I was working alongside them for several hours. My winter-weary body is tired with the exertion, and my gardening muscles are flabby and out of shape and sore. But it was wonderful to exercise stewardship over my little corner of the world today. I know I will worship better tomorrow because of it!

Friday, April 09, 2010


If you remember playing your first video game on an Atari, saving quarters for playing the video games at the Local Pizza Hut, and a time when you didn't have a computer in your home, this will likely make you laugh as it did me.

(HT: TC)

Thursday, April 08, 2010

What will you do with this?

Today in my worldviews class, we talked about a Biblical definition for poverty and the implications that definition has for how we should go about doing mercy ministries. After laying out what I think are clear, biblical principles, I challenged my students. I asked them, "Now you have a deeper understanding of God's marching orders. But what will you do with this information? How will it change your heart? How will it cause you to become the hands and feet and heart of Jesus to a broken world?"

And this afternoon in talking to a friend about the class, I realized that I have to ask myself the very same question. How will I become more consistent with God's word, more willing to leave the bubble of my Christian community, more willing to step outside of my comfort zone to be obedient to Christ's call on my life? I don't know what the answer is to these questions, but I know the adventure is out there, and I know the God who calls me to it is big and strong and able.

Monday, April 05, 2010

An Easter excursion (excluding eggs)

On Sunday afternoon, we met up to do some geocaching with our friends, Holly4. The first cache of the day was a puzzle: we had to walk a fit trail, finding clues on each fitness station. While we were at it, we did the exercises. Here I am, strengthening my arms in a beautiful setting.

Here is Momma H. doing a little T'ai Chi.

And here are the Holly guys, ciphering out our first cache site with the clues we gathered.

All-in-all, we found 6 caches, and went to some beautiful scenery in far-eastern Los Alamos county. Look at the view from the spot where Dave and Momma H. are finding a cache below!

We also hiked out along the old Main Hill Road, which overlooks the new road and the valley. it is a lovely spot!

I never grow tired of living in this amazing place. The scenery is simply spectacular. What a wonderful Resurrection Day afternoon, enjoying friends and God's beautiful creation together!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Death, be not proud...

Holy Sonnet X
John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;

For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow

Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,

Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,

And soonest our best men with thee do go,

Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.

Thou'art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,

And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,

And poppy'or charms can make us sleep as well

And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?

One short sleep past, we wake eternally,

And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

A great hymn for Passion Week, or any other

Last evening, we attended The Good Friday Tenebrae service at our church. Each year this simple, ancient service, moves me. Even last night, on a very sparsely attended night (this year, school spring break coincides with Easter and the town has emptied...) I was moved by the recitation of scripture, retelling the story of Passion Week, and then responding to the Scripture with great hymns of the faith. After each reading, the sanctuary lights are dimmed, and we are left in near-darkness, awaiting Resurrection morning. The order of worship is at the bottom of this post. Its power is the power of God's Word.

The most beautiful hymn of the night for me was "Ah, Holy Jesus". It has all the things a great hymn needs; Biblical truth written in beautiful and fitting words, matched well to a timeless melody with beautiful harmonization, singable for a congregation. If you don't know this hymn, Gentle Reader, learn it. It will bless your soul.

Ah, Holy Jesus Words by Johann Heerman, 1630; music by Johann Cruger, 1640

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast Thou offended,
That man to judge Thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone Thee.
’Twas I, Lord, Jesus, I it was denied Thee!
I crucified Thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
For man’s atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was Thy incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life’s oblation;
Thy death of anguish and Thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity and Thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.

Tenebrae Service:
Call to worship from Isaiah 53
"Lift High the Cross"
Confession of faith from 1 Timothy 1;15, 2 Cor 9:15, Rom 5:8, 1 Tim 1:17
The Shadow of Betrayal: Matthew 26:20-25
"Man of Sorrows"
The Shadow of Desertion: Matthew 26:31-35
"Ah, Holy Jesus"
The Shadow of Agony of the Spirit: Luke 22:39-46
"'Tis Midnight and on Olive's Brow"
The Shadow of Accusation: Matthew 27:11-26
"Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted"
The Shadow of the Crucifixion: John 19:28-37
"O Sacred Head Now Wounded"
"The Shadow of Death: John 19:28-37
"Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed"
The Shadow of Burial: John 19:38-42
"When I Survey the Wonderous Cross"
Prayer of hope and dismissal; Exiting in silence.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Good Friday reflections


by: Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

I have no wit, no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numb'd too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
I lift mine eyes, but dimm'd with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is in the falling leaf:
O Jesus, quicken me.

My life is like a faded leaf,
My harvest dwindled to a husk:
Truly my life is void and brief
And tedious in the barren dusk;
My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud nor greenness can I see:
Yet rise it shall--the sap of Spring;
O Jesus, rise in me.

My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perish'd thing;
Melt and remould it, till it be
A royal cup for Him, my King:
O Jesus, drink of me.

"A Better Resurrection" is reprinted from Goblin Market and other Poems. Christina Rossetti. Cambridge: Macmillan, 1862.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


One of the best things about a wedding is meeting up with old friends and making new ones. This last wedding was rich in both!