The Dutch Rush

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Category: Books (page 1 of 2)

Sunday Morning: Daniel, John Bunyan and Amy Carmichael

Well. I see that it’s been awhile since I wrote anything. Life has been a blur. This morning was no exception. But I did have a few minutes to read, think and pray, so I wanted to share what I read.

First, after reading a book that referenced Daniel’s (In the Bible) prayer life, I wanted to read that book again. It has been…instructive. His prayer of thanks to God for help interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was encouraging:

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His.

He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them.

He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.

He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.

I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers.

You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

-Daniel 2:20-23

Then a short reading from The Cloud of Witnessthis gem stood out to me this morning:

“Christ’s whole life was a Cross and a Martyrdom; and dost thou seek rest and joy for thyself?”

-Thomas A Kempis, The Cloud of Witness

(In my opinion, the issue is not rest or joy, but the avoidance of sharing in Christ’s sufferings. Just so we’re clear.)

I have a new book! Actually, I have several new books. Michael had the grand opportunity to go to The Gospel Coalition Conference in Indianapolis last week. He brought me a few books, cause he’s nice like that. You know you’ve got a pretty great guy when he packs a tiny carry on bag as his ONLY luggage, and then makes room in that bag for books!

Anyway. He made some good choices, one of them is Prayer, by John Bunyan. So far it is just right. In talking of sincere prayer over heavy burdens, he named some that are truly heavy, and that many of us are often broken over:

“Sincere prayer…is not, as many take it to be, a few babbling, prating, complimentary expressions, but a sensible feeling in the heart. Prayer has in it a sensibleness of diverse things; sometimes sense of sin, sometimes of mercy received, sometimes of the readiness of God to give mercy.”

-John Bunyan

He went on to describe the burden we feel in our soul over sin in our life, and the reality of hell and those who have decided not to take hell to be a serious concern. Those things are certainly a burden.

“For right prayer bubbles out of the heart when it is overcome with grief and bitterness, as blood is forced out of the flesh by reason of some heavy burden that lies upon it (He references several men in the Bible who were burdened and praying over sin and man’s delusion about their own sin.)…And all this from a sense of the justice of God, the guilt of sin, the pains of hell and destruction…you may see that prayer carries in it a sensible feeling, and that first from a sense of sin.”

-John Bunyan, Prayer

Don’t worry, he’s not all sin, hell and despair. I didn’t have time to read the section on mercy this morning…I’m getting there.

Next up was more cheeriness. Sorry.

Amy Carmichael was describing the heartache and desperation she and her teammates felt in their early attempts to rescue Indian children from temple prostitution. It was grief to read about it all of these years later, because although I know the work there in India was a success, it brings to mind all the children who suffer around the world today, and need help right now. For me this was a direct connection to praying sincerely and fervently for the Lord to light a fire in all of us for the rescue of these precious children. Whether here in our own cities, or around the world. The need is desperate. (As an interesting side note, try googling “Foster kids and human trafficking” and see what the studies are showing. I’ll give you a hint: massively high rates for foster children being trafficked…they need to be adopted and cared for. Quickly.)

Here’s what Amy Carmichael had to say nearly a hundred years ago after talking with the very first child she rescued:

“The child told us things that darkened the sunlight. It was impossible to forget those things…sometimes we felt as though the things that we had seen and heard had killed forever the laughter in us.

But children must have laughter round about them.”

Amy Carmichael, The Gold Cord

I know this was serious. These things have been on my heart and in my prayer throughout the day. Blessings on your Sunday.

Sunday Morning

Sunday morning at our house is admittedly a force to be reckoned with. Sometimes I think that either God is showing me His crazy sense of humor, or Satan is…doing what Satan does.

I often wish I could share with you the special things I come across in my morning readings, and this seemed to be as good a morning as any. (Despite being Sunday, and all.)   Continue reading

Crazy Mary’s 2016 Booklist

Calling Mom crazy is one of the great joys in my family’s life. They really get a kick out of it. Michael even taught the baby. She doesn’t say that many words yet, but she does say “Mom’s Crazy!” with great expression. She thinks she’s hilarious. 

But despite being crazy, I was able to read several books this year, and here is my list to prove it! (One of my favorite bloggers does this every year, and it always seems like fun, until I sit down to try to remember what I read. Ahem. This is the most complete list I could think of. There may be a straggler or two…)  Continue reading

what I read this morning

This has been one of those weeks. Things happen, and usually many things happen at once, not all of them pleasant. That’s why it was so encouraging to wake up this morning and read these words. I wanted to share them with you.

This is fitting to begin with:

There is never a series of little packages of time given to you in life labeled: Time for an illness, time for a wedding, time for a death, time for a broken leg…time for a disappointment. You can’t face the sickness, the operations, the broken arms and legs, the serious diseases, the disasters, or even the headaches, unless you realize there is never a convenient time set aside for joy or sorrow, protected by neat little walls so that the two things will not mingle and spoil each other…

…We need to remember, as finite, limited human beings, that we cannot care perfectly for others’ needs, nor can others care perfectly for our needs, even when we or they want to. Life has to go on, and we can only do the best we can in the melange, the mixed-up nature of what there is to be done. There are no protected, neat little boxes of time which will not be invaded by a mixture of demands upon us. Life is not like that. It is another case of the danger of demanding “perfection or nothing” and ending up with nothing.

Comfort yourself by saying, ‘I am limited, I am finite, I can only do one thing at a time. I know what would be the perfect care for this person, but I can’t do it all. I’ll give as much of the ideal care as possible.’ As a Christian, you can also pray for God’s wisdom in the choices to be made and God’s strength to be made perfect in your weakness.

-Edith Schaeffer, What is a Family?

I finished Charlotte Mason’s first volume this morning. What an incredible book. I wish every mother could read it, no matter how she chooses to educate her children.

The wonder that Almighty God can endure so far to leave the very making of an immortal being in the hands of human parents is only matched by the wonder that human parents can accept this divine trust with hardly a thought of it’s significance.

So, there’s that. And then this:

But this holy mystery, this union and communion of God and the soul, how may human parents presume to meddle with it? What can they do? How can they promote it?  And is there not every risk that they may [rudely harm it]?

In the first place, it does not rest with the parent to choose whether he will or will not attempt to quicken and nourish this divine life in his child. To do so is his bounden duty and service. If he neglect or fail in this, I am not sure how much it matters that he has fulfilled his duties in the physical, moral, and mental culture of his child, except in so far as the child is the fitter for the divine service should the divine life be awakened in him.

But what can the parent do? Just this and no more: he can present the idea of God to the soul of the child. Here, as throughout His universe, Almighty God works by apparently inadequate means…

…The parent must not make blundering, witless efforts: as this is the highest duty imposed upon him, it is also the most delicate; and he will have infinite need of faith and prayer, tact and discretion, humility, gentleness, love and sound judgement, if he would present his child to God, and the thought of God to the soul of his child.

-Charlotte Mason, Vol 1 (emphasis mine)

Such short quotes from me today…

Then I read a chapter that Alyssa and I are reading and discussing from Ourselves, Charlotte’s fourth volume. The section this week was on thinking and speaking truthfully, as well as the issue of envy.

We must keep our tongues from evil-speaking, lying, and slandering; Wesley says that to speak evil of another when it is true is to slander, when it is false, is to lie.

Most persons are careful to cherish Truth in all they say about the people in their own homes, but how many of us are equally careful in speaking of people who live next door or in the next street? It is so easy to say that Jones is a sneak, and Brown is a cad…that Mrs. Brown overdresses her children; and Harrison does not [work hard].

Such things as these about the people we have dealings with, are lightly said, often without intention; but two things have happened-our neighbor’s character has received a wound; and Truth, perhaps the most beautiful [quality], has also received a hurt at our hands.

Ouch. And for more of an ouch, the section on envy…

Envy of others always takes the guise of fairness and justice to ourselves.

Envy is an ever-present demon, ready with a calumnious word for those who excel us. If they dance better, ‘we’ do not care about dancing, and they must waste a great deal of time upon it. If they dress better, it is because they spend far too much money and thought on their clothes…

[Long ago] people were afraid of envy…now we forget that there is such a vice; and when we allow ourselves in grudging thoughts about the possessions or advantages of others, we say ‘it’s not fair’…we cover our injustice to others with a mantle of what we call justice and fairness to ourselves. But we deceive ourselves, and every sin of deceit disables us from uttering truth.

-Charlotte Mason, Ourselves

The 2014 book extravaganza

Happy New Year, hope it’s going well so far.

We’re eight days in…and all I can think about is taking a nap.  It feels like a busy year.

The title to this post may have been a little misleading…I decided to tell you what I read last year, but then shortened it to the best of what I read last year.  This list of course didn’t include my regular reading, The Bible, and many other books for schooling.  There is only so much time to list my favorite books!

In my opinion, these books are so good, they each deserve a blog post.

This is not really in order, although if you only read one of these, read this one:

The Practice of the Presence of God*

God knows best what we need. All that He does is for our good.  If we knew how much He loves us, we would always be ready to receive both the bitter and the sweet from His hand.  It would make no difference.  All that came from Him would be pleasing.

-Brother Lawrence

See what I mean?  This book has been a breath of fresh air to me.  I heard about it from the next book on my list:

FullSizeRender (1)

How can you not love a book that has chapters titled “The Triumph of Acceptance”,  or “The Duty of Happiness”…I loved it.  But, disclaimer, I didn’t agree with every single thing she said, and you might not either.

Next up, Hannah Fowler. This was an incredible book.  I heard about it here.

The Dean’s Watch was worth getting through a bit of a slow start. This author is the reason I started underlining fiction. It was that good!

dean's watch

We listened to The Great Divorce on our drive this Christmas. Thought provoking, great conversations with the kids. On the way home we listened to A Horse and His Boy.  C.S. Lewis sets a pretty high standard for audio books in our opinion.  Another plus is that we all got home thinking in an English accent.

The Wife Desired.  If you are a wife, you will want to read this book. It’s written by a Catholic Priest who served on the Chicago divorce courts for years.  This is a very unimpressive book on amazon, and I only heard about it from another blog.  But it is so good, that it’s one of my revolving marriage books.  So when I get to the end of it, I just start over at the beginning.  Because I’ve likely forgotten what he said I was suppose to be doing by then anyway.  And yes, I was just flipping through it, and I have indeed already forgotten what he said I should be doing…

And there you go, a reading list for 2015!

* Unfortunately, the new version of this copy is out of stock, but can be bought used.  I have read reviews that say all versions are not created equal, which is why I linked to an out of stock edition.

Our December Books

midwinter

Every now and then I tell you what we’re reading in school.  I usually mix it up a little in December, and we all enjoy the change.  We still do most of our normal studies, but adding some different reading at Christmas is fun.  Because I say it’s fun.

This year we learned Christina Rossetti’s poem “In the Bleak Midwinter”.  The last verse seems to be the most recognized, but this verse was my personal favorite:

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

This poem was also made into a Christmas carol.  It’s pretty slow, but we’ll just call that peaceful.  We can all use a little of that right about now.

This year we read I Saw Three Ships by Elizabeth Goudge.  Incidentally, this is also a Christmas carol. Look out, it’s the sort of song that gets stuck in your head. For days.

Since I’ve really been enjoying Elizabeth Goudge lately, I thought her little Christmas book would be a good pick. Unfortunately, no.  It wasn’t awful, just not what I have come to expect from that author.

The very best part of the book was the incessant use of the name “Dorcas”, which apparently my boys had never heard, so it reminded them of “Dork”.  Most of the time reading the book produced massive giggling fits, so it wasn’t a total fail…

My apologies to anyone named Dorcas who might be reading this.  And yes, they have been educated on this name and the fact that it appears in the Bible. Doesn’t help. Still hilarious.

And next, The Christmas Carol. I have never read this book, so it has been quite a surprise to me to find such thought-provoking things in here.  Like this quote where Scrooge is talking about his old boss, Fezziwig.

He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome;  a pleasure or a toil.  Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up:  what then?  The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.

-Dickens,  A Christmas Carol

Naturally, I think of that from the view point of a mother.  I think it applies nicely to our relationship with our families.

And this one I liked, just because it’s so true:

It is always the person not in the predicament who knows what ought to have been done in it, and would unquestionably have done it too…

-Dickens

Next up, we are finishing a really sweet book (actually sweet, not like “Cool” sweet),  The Tanglewoods Secret by Patricia St. John.  This is our second book by this incredible author. Treasures of the Snow is much more well known than this one.  Both have stunned me with the simplicity and truth of the gospel, and how well she communicates it to children.

Another way St. John impresses me is how she is able to show the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a child.  If any of you are looking for books that walk your child through the gospel, and the life-changing work of the Spirit, these are your books.

And lastly…I know, just when you thought I’d talk forever.

We are studying the work of Jean Francois Millet.  I heard about him this fall and did quite a bit of study myself before introducing his art to the kids. Turns out, that’s a much better way to do art study.  When I actually know the back story on the artist and his work, things go along a little more smoothly.  I am hardly ever disappointed with what my kids get out of studying an artist’s work, but I have to say, this artist exceeded my expectations. I have spent some very happy hours learning about this man and his art.

Here is one of my favorites.

farmyard millet

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