Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Hymn—And Can It Be

This week’s hymn text was written by Charles Wesley, the author of over 6000 hymns. (Yes, 6000!) He was born in England in 1707 and died in 1788. Charles and his brother John were the founders of the Methodist movement and went on a mission trip to America during the First Great Awakening with the celebrity preacher of the day, George Whitefield.

“And Can It Be” was the first hymn Wesley wrote after his conversion, just two days after, in fact. Upon his conversion in May, 1738, he wrote in his journal, “At midnight I gave myself to Christ, assured that I was safe, whether sleeping or waking. I had the continual experience of His power to overcome all temptation, and I confessed with joy and surprise that He was able to do exceedingly abundantly for me above what I can ask or think . . . I now found myself at peace with God, and rejoiced in hope of loving Christ. I saw that by faith I stood.” This hymn describes Wesley’s thoughts and feelings upon being set free in Christ.

The composer of the tune was Thomas Campbell. We know nothing about him except that he was born in 1800, died in 1876, and published twenty-three of his hymn tunes, including this one, in an 1825 tunebook, Bouquet. The name of this tune is Sagina, and the the meter is L M D~~long meter double, which translates to four lines of eight syllables each repeated for a total of eight lines.

Enjoy this marvelous hymn here:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

House Tour--Flowers

Let’s take a tour of my house, beginning with my flowers. (You can really tell where my priorities are!)

These are pansies I planted in a Maxwell House coffee can that was too pretty to throw away:

I just planted eight pots of red geraniums to go all around my porch railing. They're not very full yet, but the spirea bush in the background is huge and full of blooms:

I planted three pots of pansies for our porch steps. I always use clay pots. I much prefer them to plastic, especially the plastic ones that pretend to be clay.

Next up, my front garden. We have this tiny space between the sidewalk and our front porch that is a perfect spot for a garden.

In the sideyard are wild violets and strawberries. I won't let the boy who mows our grass mow this patch of ground until the violets are gone. I can never understand how people can so ruthlessly mow down their violets!

In the backyard, columbine, azaleas, and more pansies. One can never have enough pansies!

And just for fun, here's peep at my porch:

I hope you enjoyed this tour of my flowers!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook~~April 14, 2010

FOR TODAY April 14, 2010...

Outside my window... It’s a positively gorgeous day. I love the light green of the leaves when they have just emerged, especially when combined with the flowering trees.

I am thinking... of the trip we will be making in May to visit Girl Out of the House and That Boy for his graduation from the university. I’m looking forward to seeing their apartment and getting a glimpse of the life they are building together. This will be first time we’ve visited them since their wedding last August.

I am thankful for... a Savior who knows my frame and remembers that I am dust.

From the learning rooms...We are finishing up Hamlet and will be starting MacBeth soon. Girl of the House got to pick our Shakespeare this year, and she picked two tragedies! lol

From the kitchen... I made this yummy recipe from Sallie for dinner. (The one with the bowtie pasta, only I used penne because that's what I had on hand.)

I am wearing... denim capri pants and an peachy/pinkie top with my favorite canvas slip-on shoes.

I am creating... not a thing at the moment. I need to get back to Girl Out of the House’s pillows so I can take them to her in May.

I am going... nowhere in one sense because I won’t be leaving the house today for anything other than a walk with Man of the House, but in another sense I’m going to Russia, England, Canada, Bangladesh, and various parts of the US as I teach my on-line classes this afternoon.

I am reading... Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink. This is one of my favorite children’s books, and since I’ve been reading rather heavy non-fiction for awhile, I decided to treat myself. :-)

I am hoping... to get the flowers for my porch planted soon. (First I have to buy them!)

On my mind… Wondering what the future holds for us as we contemplate moving to another state~~the when, and where, and what for.

Noticing that… Allergy season is in full swing!

Pondering these words… From Psalm 19: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

I am hearing... the sounds of the first bugs of the spring beginning their evening song as twilight falls.

Around the house... I need to fold the laundry I did yesterday.

One of my favorite things... Ice cream! It’s getting warm enough to buy it again!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Doctor’s appointment, voice lessons for Girl of the House, putting taxes in the mail tomorrow, planting the aforesaid flowers.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... This is a picture Girl Out of the House took before she got married last summer. She's has a very artistic eye, don't you think? That's Cat of the House.

Thanks to Peggy for hosting the Simple Woman's Daybook!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The History of Christian Theology

When I was a new Christian, in my foolishness I seldom gave a thought to my Christian heritage except to possibly wonder how and when my particular local church got started. Who cares what happened hundreds and thousands of years ago? Well, I learned to care and to realize that the Church’s history is important to understanding the Church today. It’s a fascinating study!

Man of the House bought The History of Christian Theology from The Teaching Co. with some money he got for Christmas. I finished the 36-lecture series not long ago and loved it, learned from it, and was occasionally confused by it. Professor Philip Carey is one of those people who knows so much about his subject that you wonder how his brain can hold it all. He himself is Anglican, but he treats all Christian traditions so fairly that wouldn’t know that from these lectures. (I know because I heard him say so once on Issues, Etc. [see the sidebar if you want to know what that is]). He speaks of everthing from Orthodoxy to Catholicism to the various Protestant denominations with an eye to accurately presenting their viewpoint without denigrating it. He insists that his listeners fairly treat other traditions with respect as well.

Beginning with the Gospels and traveling through the history of theology all the way to the present time, Prof. Cary covers each major stream of Christian thought with insight and enthusiasm. I admit that sometimes I didn’t understand every point, but I did gain a much better and broader understanding of the sweep of Christian thought over the past two millenia. It’s well worth listening to . . . and listening ag ain. I’m sure I will revisit these lectures in the future.

Unfortunately these lectures aren’t on sale right now, so they are very expensive. But keep your eyes open for them to go on sale. The markdown is usually 70%, which is very reasonable.

P.S. No hymn post this week because it's spring break.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Why We Homeschool Reason #3

“Homeschooling forces you to see your home as a place where more than just consumption takes place. It leads you back to the traditional view of the home as a place where something was produced. It keeps you from seeing home as just a place where you sleep and eat before you go out into the rest of the world to do the really important things. It keeps you from feeling dependent on experts to do the serious teaching of your children.”~~Rod Dreher

Picture courtesy of

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday Hymn--O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

In honor of Good Friday, here’s everything you ever wanted to know about “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.” But it’s Easter, you say. I know, but this hymn is too good not to write about it, and we ought to always live in the shadow of the Cross, so it is appropriate any time. The author of the text is St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a Frankish abbot born in 1090 (d. 1153). He was an important leader and reformer of the Church and left many writings. Bernard wrote a series of poems meditating on the various wounds of Christ’s body from his head to his feet. The portion we find here is by far the best known. Christ’s head certainly bore many wounds: the vicious and biting crown of thorns left many marks, the beating would have left many bruises and bloody wounds, not to mention the cruel pulling out of His beard. And this was only the beginning of His agony on our behalf.

The tune was written by Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612), and German organist and composer, and was originally intended for a secular love song. Bernard’s words and Hassler’s melody were first paired in 1656. The arrangement most often heard today is by J.S. Bach, who used it five times in his great (and I mean that in the truest sense of the word) St. Matthew Passion.

Here’s the text from the Trinity Hymnal:

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down;
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call thee mine.

What thou, my Lord, hast suffered was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ‘Tis I deserve thy place;
Look on me with thy favor, vouchsafe to me thy grace.

What language shall I borrow to thank thee, dearest Friend,
For this, thy dying sorrow, thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever; and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love for thee.

Lutheran Worship includes these verses~~too good to pass up:

All this for my transgression, my wayward soul to win;
This torment of your Passion, to set me free from sin.
I cast myself before you, your wrath my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore you, O Lord, condemn me not!

Lord, be my consolation, my constant source of cheer;
Remind me of your Passion, my shield when death is near.
I look in faith, believing that you have died for me;
Your cross and crown receiving, I live eternally.

So now, after the somber, introspective, and penitent season of Lent, we enter into the season of Easter. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Picture from Christ on the Cross, Diego Valezquez (c. 1630)

Catching Up

Lake Michigan--gorgeous! It really has been two months since I last made a blog post!  This summer has been full of traveling, gardening...

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