Friday, June 29, 2012

A little Friday afternoon music

I’ve been posting a fair amount of music featuring guitars of late, so here is a piece that I used to like to play on the flute. It’s by no means up there with the most difficult, but controlling the octave leaps nicely takes a certain amount of skill.

You need to go outside in the country of an evening to play this ...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

When in interpersonal difficulty

Just incase you are having withdrawals, here is another quote from Paul Tripp's A Shelter in the Time of Storm. I love these meditations. In one sense they are quite simple, the sort of thing that on a good day, with some conscious effort, you might articulate yourself. But sometimes you need someone else to remind you of these things.
The fact is that God has us exactly where he wants us. He never manages a poor schedule, and he never gets a wrong address. He places us in interpersonal difficulty because he intends that difficulty to be a workroom of redemption ...
God has you in the painful moment not simply to reveal himself to you but to grow and change you through it, as well. He has chosen to keep you in this fallen world because he hasn’t finished redeeming you. Sure, you long for the grace of release and the grace of relief, and sometimes you do experience these, but primarily this moment is a moment of refinement. The heat of interpersonal difficulty is meant to purify us, something that each of us continues to need.
Remember, you are not alone, and what is happening to you isn’t an accident. You are the child of the King of kings, the Creator, the sovereign God, the all-wise and all-loving Saviour. In ways that are hard to grasp, you are being loved. Rest in that love and run to its source, saying no to all those other responses that only add further trouble to the trouble you are already experiencing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Who is still reading books

And what they are reading. If you are a book nerd who likes temperament types, you might find this interesting. As an “idealist” woman, I am up there with the most avid readers, and I certainly do like “religion and spiritual” and “literature and fiction”.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Boxer - Mumford and Sons

Nathan posted a link to Mumford and Sons covering The Boxer on facebook earlier this morning, only it was a tumblr and for some reason I can’t play those anymore at work, and when I got here I discovered my iPod is totally flat, so in my music-less frustration I went looking on youtube. I do love this Simon and Garfunkel song, and for some reason it takes me back to 4th year at University, sitting in my room studying for exams in the top of the old Catholic seminary (which the Presbyterians bought), as I believe that is the year I got Simon and Garfunkel’s greatest hits and became a fan. I also like Mumford and Sons and I do like how they sing this, with that little descent on the end. I keep wanting to insert the drums from the original near the end, but it’s good (here is the same concert from a different angle, one night later).

And then I came across this song, called Ghosts that we Knew, which is quite beautiful.

Man crochet

So, I have taken a risk here, a very big risk, and made a crochet item for my brother-in-law’s birthday, not wanting anyone in my family to miss out on something made with love.

I had intended it to be quite long, which it actually isn't, and I didn't make it super wide, which I thought might be more 'on trend', but I am not so sure. I thought this rib-like stitch, in storm grey, would render the whole thing rather more 'masculine'. Do you think I will get away with it?

(I actually took these pictures yesterday, and then last night at church was rather closely examining the scarf of one of the more stylish guys in my church, and his is knitted but the stitch pattern is very similar, so I am now feeling like my scarf is uber cool.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Content to be needy

I appreciated this post. It talks a lot towards the end about your husband, but if you don't have one – and it's not as though single women have less emotional needs than married ones – then there is perhaps even more reason to read it.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A verse

And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Acts 20:32.

Today we had connect group (aka bible study) leader's training for most of the day. In the morning Rob Smith spoke to us from Acts 20:13ff, on the triumphs, tears and trials of the task. He said a lot of good things, but he kept referring to this particular verse. It's such a great verse, I just thought I'd share it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

I will give you the morning star

I went for a jog this morning, on what must be one of the darkest mornings of the year under the winter equinox, but the sunrise was simply spectacular, as it has been several mornings this week (too bad I don’t take my phone, or any other electronic paraphernalia, jogging). The other day I read this quote, actually in reference to the book of Romans, from CS Lewis’s Weight of Glory essay, and it was like I was reading it for the first time, which proves that if you (well me in any case) don’t read something in long enough, you completely forget what it says. I have something of a ‘thing’ for the references to the Morning Star in the bible (as evident in this book spine poem), which is perhaps the latent poet in me, and I also have a ‘thing’ for the beauty of nature, so I enjoyed this ... (In truth, in my understanding the morning star is actually Christ himself, but let's not get lost on that now. Perhaps Daniel 12:3 better aids this point.)

Image from here.
And this brings me to the other sense of glory—glory as brightness, splendour, luminosity. We are to shine as the sun, we are to be given the Morning Star. I think I begin to see what it means. In one way, of course, God has given us the Morning Star already: you can go and enjoy the gift on many fine mornings if you get up early enough. What more, you may ask, do we want? Ah, but we want so much more— something the books on aesthetics take little notice of. But the poets and the mythologies know all about it. We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses and nymphs and elves—that, though we cannot, yet these projections can, enjoy in themselves that beauty, grace, and power of which Nature is the image. That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods. They talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul; but it can’t. They tell us that “beauty born of murmuring sound” will pass into a human face; but it won’t. Or not yet. For if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendour of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy. At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in. When human souls have become as perfect in voluntary obedience as the inanimate creation is in its lifeless obedience, then they will put on its glory, or rather that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch. For you must not think that I am putting forward any heathen fancy of being absorbed into Nature. Nature is mortal; we shall outlive her. When all the suns and nebulae have passed away, each one of you will still be alive. Nature is only the image, the symbol; but it is the symbol Scripture invites me to use. We are summoned to pass in through Nature, beyond her, into that splendour which she fitfully reflects.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

On waiting

So I have just have one more. Here is another paragraph from Paul Tripp's book of meditations on Psalm 27 A Shelter in the Time of Storm. (He has another book of meditations on Psalm 51, called Whiter than Snow, which I'd like to read also.)
On this side of eternity you and I are called to wait. We are called to recognise that the most important, most essential, most beautiful, and most lasting things in our life are things over which we have no control. No, these things are the gracious gifts of a loving Father. He never is foolish in the way he dispenses his gifts. He never plays favourites. He never mocks our neediness. He never plays bait and switch. He never teases or toys with us. His timing is always right, and the gifts that he gives are always appropriate to the moment. He is kind, faithful, loving, merciful, and good.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Guitar gets theoretical

Last night guitar class got all theoretical and we did keys and chords. This was quite revelatory to me, as I have never learnt music this way. I put my guitar down, picked up my pen and took pages of notes. Our teacher is actually trained in classical piano, so is quite thorough in the technical details, which suits the likes of me, who prefers to feel that I understand how things work properly.

Then we were given a song by Powderfinger, apparently the patrons of Cmajor key, as an example: My Happiness.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Two words you never want to hear

Here is another one of Paul Tripp’s meditations on Psalm 27, from A Shelter in the Time Of Storm, that I have appreciated. I have had my share of “go away”s in this life  mainly because I am too foolish to stop trying to get close to someone who quite obviously doesn’t care for that, till I've been bitten so badly I have to crawl away and bleed till the new creation  but there is consolation in knowing that there is one person I will never hear that from.

Turn not your servant away in anger. 
Psalm 27:9

It is such a comfort
to me,
such a source
of hope
and strength
and daily joy.
It gives me reason
to get up in the morning
and to press on
when I am discouraged
and weak
and lonely
and afraid.
It gives me reason
to face with courage
the struggles within
and the difficulties without.
It reminds me
that I can stand
before You
as I am,
completely unafraid
and ask of You
what I have asked before
and will ask again:
Your forgiveness
and Your help.
What gives me this
What offers me this
It is this one thing.
I know for certain
that there are
two words
that I’ll never hear.
I know that You will never
look me in the eye
and say to me,
“Go away!”
You will not send me
from Your presence.
You will not drive me
from Your grace.
You will not separate me
from Your glory.
You will not eliminate me
from Your promises.
You will never
send me away.
Because Your anger
was borne by Another.
Because my separation
was carried by Him.
Because He was
sent away,
I will never be.
So, in weakness,
and sin,
I stand before You once more
with courage,
and joy,
because I know
that in all the
dark things that
may be whispered to me
in this dark and fallen world
there are two words I will never hear.
And so with gratitude and joy
I get up to face the day
but as I do, I do it
without fear.

-Paul Tripp

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Shelter in the Time of Storm

A few weeks ago our minister read to us from Paul Tripp’s book A Shelter in the Time of Storm – Meditations on God and Trouble, during a connect group leaders' dinner. I have appreciated Paul Tripp in the past, I loved what our minister read out, so I ordered the book. It arrived in the post on Friday, which was timely. I spent most of the weekend home alone, sitting in the wreckage after a storm, reading this book. Lately I have been feeling more and more that, in the human sphere, I am walking this pathway by myself, that there is no-one who’s going to be there, and that nothing at all in my life is how I would have planned it. So I was particularly "uplifted" by this one, on Psalm 27:5.
No human being enjoys feeling that he is living in the sinking sand of unpredictability, disappointment, and danger with no rock to reach for and stand on. In fact, this quest, this desire for surety which is with us every day, points us again and again to the reality of God’s existence and our identity as his creatures, his image bearers. We aren’t hardwired to live by instinct. Like God, we are in possession of thoughts, desires and emotions. Like God, we are spiritual beings. As people made in his likeness, we long for our hearts to be satisfied and our minds to be at rest. We think, analyse, and wonder. We toss our lives over and over again in our hearts, trying our best to make sense of the mystery of our own story and recognising the scary reality that there’s little that we are actually in charge of.

In our honest moments, we know that we couldn’t have written ourselves into the situations, locations, and relationships that make up our daily lives. We couldn’t have written the story of even one day. Yet we long for our lives to make sense. We long to have meaning and purpose, and we long to have lasting stability.

The problem is that the longer we live, the more we know that there is little around us in this fallen world that’s truly stable ...

So here is the dilemma of your humanity: you are clearly not in control of the details or destiny of your life, yet as a rational, purposeful, emotional being, you cry for a deep and abiding sense of well-being. In your quest, what you are actually discovering is that you were hardwired to be connected to Another. You weren’t hardwired to walk the pathway of life all by yourself. You weren’t hardwired to be independently okay. You weren’t hardwired to produce in yourself a system of experiences, relationships, and conclusions that would give you rest. You were designed to find your “solid rock” only in a dependent, loving, worshipful relationship with Another. In this way, every human being is on a quest for God; the problem is we don’t know that, and in our quest for stability, we attempt to stand on an endless catalog of God-replacements that end up sinking with us.

In fact, our inability to find security for ourselves is so profound that we’d never find on our own the One who is to be our rock; no, he must fid us. The language of Psalm 27 is quite precise here: “He will lift me high upon a rock.” It doesn’t say, “I will find the rock and I will climb up on it”.

Here is hope for every weary traveler whose feet are tired of the slippery instability of mud of a fallen world. Your weariness is a signpost. It’s meant to cause you to cry out for help. It’s meant to cause you to quit looking for your stability horizontally and begin to cry out for it vertically. It’s meant to put an end to your belief that situations, people, locations, possessions, positions, or answers will satisfy the longing of your heart. Your weariness is meant to drive you to God. He is the Rock for which you are longing. He is the one who alone is able to give you the sense that all is well. And as you abandon your hope in the mirage rocks of this fallen world and begin to hunger for the true Rock, he will reach out and place you on solid ground.

There is a Rock to be found. There is an inner rest to be experienced that’s deeper that conceptual understanding, human love, personal success, and the accumulation of possessions. There is a rock that will give you rest even when all of those things have been taken away. That rock is Christ, and you were hardwired to find what you are seeking in him. In his grace, he won’t play hide-and-seek with you. In your weakness and weariness, cry out to him. He will find you, and he will be your Rock.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Poetry Day - If this be all

If This Be All 
By Anne Brontë (1820–1849)

O GOD! if this indeed be all
  That Life can show to me;
If on my aching brow may fall
  No freshening dew from Thee;

If with no brighter light than this
  The lamp of hope may glow,
And I may only dream of bliss,
  And wake to weary woe;

If friendship’s solace must decay,
  When other joys are gone,
And love must keep so far away,
  While I go wandering on,—

Wandering and toiling without gain,
  The slave of others’ will,
With constant care and frequent pain,
  Despised, forgotten still;

Grieving to look on vice and sin,
  Yet powerless to quell
The silent current from within,
  The outward torrent’s swell;

While all the good I would impart,
  The feelings I would share,
Are driven backward to my heart,
  And turned to wormwood there;

If clouds must ever keep from sight
  The glories of the Sun,
And I must suffer Winter’s blight,
  Ere Summer is begun:

If Life must be so full of care—
  Then call me soon to Thee;
Or give me strength enough to bear
  My load of misery!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wasting my life ...

As I was saying, before blogger so rudely wrote over the top of me (I don’t like this new format – when I am in one post I can’t seem to get back to the list of posts, and trying to use the back arrows seems to have created that previous mess and swallowed my post), I have been feeling the need to say to myself lately, “don’t waste your life, Ali”. Then I read this quote from Packer over on Meredith’s blog. My prayer point at connect group the other night was something that I don’t think was so articulate along these lines and that I would have the wisdom to know what to change and what to get involved in (I’m all for being faithful where you are, but there are times to change where you are). Then I read this post on the Desiring God blog (H/T Nicole). It’s all very well for me to have hobbies, like crochet and playing guitar (and even reading and writing), and there are ways those skills can be used to serve others, but they are not so different to collecting seashells if I spend too much time on them. It’s just something I feel I need to be more mindful of at the moment.

Still wishing you were here

For the last two weeks we haven’t been given a new guitar song. We are still working on the one below. I have the part played by Roger Waters, on the left (is that him? - somebody told me it was, but he doesn't look quite right to me), all sorted (had it sorted the week before last) but the lead part played by David Gilmour is a bit trickier (we've only got the intro part, not the whole song) – those slides and string bends are so quick. I’m a little over "running over the same old ground" and want to move on, but I have to say, I think one thing I have going in my favour here is a sense of rhythm, or perhaps it is an ability to read timing notation (I think I can tell ...). Some of the guys, for all they have the gear and the jargon, they can’t seem to get the timing right on this one, which I think is why it is being laboured.

But anyway, I was the first to class last week, so I was moaning to the teacher about how I felt like my left hand is still slow and imprecise, because I am so dominantly right-handed in other things. I moved my computer mouse to the left a few weeks ago, because the back of my right shoulder was packing it in, mainly from overuse of that scroll button in the middle of the mouse when going through pdfs. But I am all over the place and slow with the mouse in my left hand. So, he then gave the whole class some finger exercises, which will hopefully train up my left hand to go where it’s supposed to go at greater speeds.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The experiment results

I had a farewell lunch for a colleague at work today and so on and didn't get much around to blogs, but my sister received the parcel I sent full of things for the kids and kept texting me cute photos throughout the day. So here is the family cuteness in the beanie experiments.

Not too bad really.

Yes, a little bit too big (with unattractive fold crease).

She's mastered commando crawling.

Big sister was happy with her birthday unicorn, and little brother with his consolation penguin (nobody knows why, but he really likes penguins).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A baby beanie experiment

Recently I took up the seemingly simple task of making a crochet beanie for my little niece Violet. (And incase you are about to stop reading right now because you think crochet beanies belong to another time and place, look at these pictures of Peaches Geldof's baby people. The crochet hat!)

I started with a pattern, and modified it a little, because it looked a bit cone-shaped and I didn't want it having a pointy, empty bit on top. I followed the nine-months size, because she is gone six months. Here it is, plain and simple.

That still looked a bit cone-shaped to me, so I made another one, just making this pattern up and going out flatter on the top, but keeping the same nine-months circumference size.

The only problem with this one is - well look at it! - it might not be that apparent in the photo, and it's hard to tell without a baby on hand, but I think it is going to be miles too big for my niece. Violet might look more like she has a bucket over her head. I suspect I am going to have to make another, smaller one (and that five-year-old Annie could well get some use out of this one). I didn't fasten them on but made the violet flowers to add, just to snazz it up a little. (Yes, it's blurry, but I took the photo then put it in the post before realising just how blurry it was, so it was too late to try again.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lonesome - Marilynne Robinson

I'm not even quite sure why, but I also liked this little segment from Marilynne Robinson.

Picture from here.
A man in Alabama asked me how I felt the West was different from the East and the South, and I replied that in the West “lonesome” is a word with strongly positive connotations. I must have phrased my answer better at the time, because both he and I were struck by the aptness of the remark, and people in Alabama are far too sensitive to language to be pleased with a phrase such as “strongly positive connotations.” For the moment it will have to serve, however.

I remember the evenings at my grandparents’ ranch, at Sagle, and how in the daytime we chased the barn cats and swung on the front gate and set off pitchy, bruising avalanches in the woodshed, and watched my grandmother scatter chicken feed from an apron with huge pockets in it, suffering the fractious contentment of town children rusticated. And then the cows came home and the wind came up and Venus burned through what little remained of the atmosphere and the dark and the emptiness stood over the old house like some unsought revelation.

It must have been at evening I heard the word “lonesome” spoken in tones that let me know the privilege attached to it ... My grandparents and people like them had a picture in their houses of a stag on a cliff, admiring a radiant moon, or a maiden in classical draperies, on the same cliff, admiring the same moon. It was a specimen of decayed Victorianism. In that period mourning, melancholy, regret, and loneliness were high sentiments, as they were for the psalmist and for Sophocles, for the Anglo-Saxon poets and for Shakespeare.

In modern culture these are seen as pathologies – alienation and inauthenticity in Europe, maladjustment and depression in the United States. At present, they seem to flourish only in vernacular forms, country-and-western music being one of these. The moon has gone behind a cloud, and I’m so lonesome I could die.

It seems to me that, within limits the Victorians routinely transgressed, the exercise of finding the ingratiating qualities of grave and fearful experience is very wholesome and stabilizing. I am vehemently grateful that, by whatever means, I learned to assume that loneliness should be in part pleasure, sensitizing and clarifying, and that it is even a truer bond among people than any kind of proximity. It may be mere historical conditioning, but when I see a man or woman alone, he or she looks mysterious to me, which is only to say that for a moment I see another human being clearly.
~Marilynne Robinson
"When I Was a Child"
In When I Was a Child I Read Books

(She goes on to make the interesting point that the “opposition frequently made between individualism on the one hand and responsibility to society on the other is a false opposition as we all know” and that “there is no inevitable conflict between individualism as an ideal and a very positive interest in the good of society”. But I am not so sure I altogether understand how she arrives there (except to say that she thinks communities of people that depend on each other for identity and values are disabled and dangerous), or what precisely is her definition of individualism. You would need to read this essay in entirety for the argument.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Marilynne Robinson on domesticity

I am pulling this a wee bit out of context, but I liked this little snippet from Marilynne Robinson. One for the stay-at-home Mums.
At a certain level housekeeping is a regime of small kindnesses, which, taken together, make the world salubrious, savory, and warm. I think of the acts of comfort offered and received within a household as precisely sacramental. It is the sad tendency of domesticity – as of piety – to contract and of grace to decay into rigor and peace into tedium.
~Marilynne Robinson
When I Was a Child
In When I Was a Child I Read Books

Poetry Day - The Rose

It is such a wet and cold and miserable day here today, but so perfect for being indoors in ugg boots, doing such things as writing letters, crochet, reading and practising guitar (I actually did duck out to a shopping centre earlier to get a few things, which I thought was madness but was relatively painless). I am so pleased that the public holiday meant not needing to get to work in this weather, though I was hoping to go for a jog at some point, but am not liking my chances it is so so wet. Having spent a good amount of time "out" over the weekend, I am enjoying this home day.

When I mentioned writing letters above, that is something that doesn't actually happen enough these days, so I making the most of this day off to do so. I have been including little crochet roses in posted packets of late, for some added cheer, and so thought I might post this poem on The Rose, by Christina Rossetti.

The Rose

O Rose, thou flower of flowers, thou fragrant wonder,
    Who shall describe thee in thy ruddy prime;
    Thy perfect fulness in the summer time;
When the pale leaves blushingly part asunder
And show the warm red heart lies glowing under?
    Thou shouldst bloom surely in some sunny clime,
    Untouched by blights and chilly Winter's rime,
Where lightninggs never flash, nor peals the thunder.
And yet in happier spheres they cannot need thee
    So much as we do with our weight of woe;
Perhaps they would not tend, perhaps not heed thee,
    And thou wouldst lonely and neglected grow;
And He Who is All-Wise, He hath decreed thee
    To gladden earth and cheer all hearts below.

Christina Rossetti

Cozy Classics

Flagged this the other day and didn't post it, but Oh my goodness!, are these not the most adorable things ever. I want these baby board books, a lot. Pride and Prejudice in twelve words! Available soon from here (and see here for Moby Dick). H/T Apartment Therapy.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Swapping clothes

Yesterday afternoon I went to a clothes swap with some girls from my church, and some of their friends. I am taking the credit for passing on the idea, because I have been to one before, and when one girl was saying she really needed to clean out her wardrobe, I mentioned it, and an idea was born. But she takes all the credit for organising a rather gala afternoon tea over the event.

It was out of control! I was amazed! It was almost wicked how many clothes there were. But I have learnt that they are clothes people in this world – those people who turned up with plastic crates (yes, plural) of items. If we had a book swap, I might be the crate-bringing person, because I am a book person, though I do find it hard to get rid of them, but I am not clothes person.

I had a clothing purge not so long ago and took stuff to Vinnies, so I went along with a measly four things, and I wasn’t going to gather up more STUFF, so for a while I was quite restrained, and all I had collected was one jumper (which happened to be David Lawrence). Then I saw a blue pashmina, and thought, 'why not'. Then after a little rest in the “no clothes room” where the afternoon tea was, I came upon a black Portmans dress, which I thought would be the wrong size, but it worked. Then one girl tried to sell me on a Barometer shirt dress that was hers, so I gave that a go, thought ‘oh yeah’ and added it to the pile. Then we did this thing where you could “spruik” something to someone else, so I got a Sass and Bide t-shirt with coloured sequins all over it (one girl said “speaking the truth in love, I don’t think that’s you Ali”, but I took it anyway). Then I gathered a random grey suit jacket, then near the end a Witchery skirt surfaced that I thought would do. Seriously. I have quite a stash. And I wasn’t even being grabby and greedy. You should see the garbage bags of things left over! We all have a vast abundance of clothes.

This is a good way to get together and have some fun and liven up your wardrobe.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Leading Me Now

The Tallest Man on Earth has a new album out, called There's No Leaving Now, and from listening online, so far I like it even more than I thought I might. Here is one I particularly like at present.


And I thought I might have mentioned this earlier, but it would seem I haven't, but a newish blog I recommend to you is called Macarisms. Dave, it's author, was heading off to Darwin to plant a church late last year, their furniture had already gone ahead, and then he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. The blog chronicles that journey, but also includes book reviews and other things he'd like to write about at this time in his life. You should especially read this post.

We actually had a night at my church on Wednesday, at which Andrew Errington, who has a Masters in Ancient History majoring in Jewish and Hebrew, or something like that, spoke about the historicity of the gospels. It was very helpful and reassuring, especially in light of some of the rot, and just plain bad scholarship, being written by some new atheists. (I think it might have been recorded, and will link it if it is, but you can buy a little book he has written on Can we trust what the gospels say about Jesus, here.)

A family birthday

It was niece Annie's 5th birthday on Wednesday. She's a little sweetie, who is just a little bit crazy, and a curious mix of girly girlishness, loving all things pretty and fairyish, and the outdoors tomboy. Here she is hanging out, quite literally, with Daddy in the backyard one weekend. (Nobody needs to get alarmed and call DOCS over this - my brother-in-law is in the Army and takes youth who could use a little attention on Adventure Training trips, so he knows what he is about.) She had a little party, at which all she wanted to do apparently was play "parcel the parcel".

And here she is with her little brother, who, poor kid, is getting a little distressed at the way she is being inundated with presents lately while he isn't getting any. (So Aunty Ali is including something for him - I am a little late with some things, because my order for a plastic unicorn went astray, and was held up with suppliers and what not, so I've only just received it myself.)

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Booknerd cake

I've lost the blogging mojo just now, but I saw this on Facebook the other day (it was shared on the Penguin Books page from someone's birthday and made by one Rachelle Schmidt). I'm finding it a little hard to cope with the fact that is suggests George Eliot wrote Persuasion and John Purcell wrote Emma (there was an editing problem here!), but other than that isn't it a fantastically bookish cake!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

CS Lewis on the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth

It seems only fitting to post, albeit belatedly, C.S. Lewis's reflections on the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, from Letters, 3:343, though you have perhaps all read it by now over here.
You know, over here people did not get that fairy-tale feeling about the coronation. What impressed most who saw it was the fact that the Queen herself appeared to be quite overwhelmed by the sacramental side of it. Hence, in the spectators, a feeling of (one hardly knows how to describe it) — awe — pity — pathos — mystery.

The pressing of that huge, heavy crown on that small, young head becomes a sort of symbol of the situation of humanity itself: humanity called by God to be His vice-regent and high priest on earth, yet feeling so inadequate. As if He said, ‘In my inexorable love I shall lay upon the dust that you are glories and dangers and responsibilities beyond your understanding.’

Do you see what I mean? One has missed the whole point unless one feels that we have all been crowned and that coronation is somehow, if splendid, a tragic splendour.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Friday funny

Of sorts. I picked up What Men Don't Talk About by Maggie Hamilton again briefly last night. Then saw this on Facebook, and it seemed to fit. (I should have brought the book in to share some of it, but alas, I didn't.)