Tuesday, January 24, 2012

From my Family to Yours

All photography and video editing credit goes to brother David. Thank you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Eustace Scrubb Kind of Day

Yesterday was a Eustace Scrubb kind of day.

Do you remember Eustace? He's the selfish brat of a hero who was sucked into Narnia with his cousins, hopeless saps all.

Eustace made a full time job of complaining until the Dawn Treader made land on Deathwater Island. It is a desolate place in the Eastern Ocean, beaten by fierce winds and prone to drenching storms, home to a magical pool that turns anything, including greedy sailors, into solid gold. It is also home to an impressive dragon's treasure lair, as Eustace discovered.

When Eustace found the treasure, he vowed to keep it himself. He reveled in the richness of it until he curled up amongst the heaps of gold and jewels and fell asleep. When he awoke, he found that a bracelet he had easily slipped about his arm the day before had tightened so that it cut into his skin. His skin, he found, had turned tough and scaled. His selfish pride had transformed him into a dragon.

Eustace went through some major attitude changes in his time as a dragon. He wanted nothing more than to be turned back into a boy, but he hadn't the power to do it himself. Finally, he submitted himself to Aslan's mighty claws and allowed the lion to flay him open and peel back his tough exterior, revealing through the painful process his own tender pink skin.

My issue isn't greed. It isn't brattyness or snottiness--at least I hope it's not. My issue is security. A few months ago, I didn't even know it, but I've come to realize that I am looking for security in all the wrong places. I don't need much, just a roof over my head, a stable family, enough money to pay the bills with a little left over for an occasional movie or pair of socks. I wrapped myself in the tough skin of safety until God started flaying me open.

First Mom's health, then my husband's job. Or was it the other way around? I can't recall. I feel the all-at-onceness of it.

Jesus dug his claws into my thickened skin. I cried for him to stop, but I know he has to finish the job or I will never be who he intends me to be. He peels back the layers of self-reliance and leaves me vulnerable and--I'm sorry to say--prone to weeping.

I wish I could say he'd finished his work, but I'm afraid there's a lot more of me to tear away. I clench my teeth and close my eyes and submit to whatever he needs to do. I cry out, "I can't take any more!" but he knows how much I can stand. He knows that I, like Eustace, will become the person he wants me to be if I will only let him skin me.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

For the English Connoisseur

I wish I'd written this, but alas, the Poke beat me to it. In honor of my dad on his birthday, give this poem a try.

After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud. My guess is that Dad would feel the same way about any poem written in French. Happy birthday, Dad!

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Fe0ffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

English Pronunciation by G. Nolst Trenité

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Great Women

Joan of Arc
Susan B. Anthony
Harriett Beecher Stowe
Jane Austen
Shirley Temple Black
Clara Barton
Pearl S. Buck
Catherine the Great
Madame Curie
Amelia Earhart
Indira Gandhi
Helen Keller
Juliette Low
Catherine de Medici
Mother Theresa
Florence Nightingale
Rosa Parks
Queen Victoria
Eleanor Roosevelt
Margaret Thatcher
Harriet Tubman
Betty Wyatt

Happy Birthday, Mom! In my list of great women of history, you're the tops!