Sunday, June 18, 2017


And suddenly she was struck by a thought as blinding as a flash of lightning. Who had bought the clothes? Who had bought the furniture, some of it new and some of it so old? Who had arranged all the lovely things in her bedroom? Who had arranged all the things in the other rooms, thinking it all out so carefully so that all her wishes were granted at every point? Who had built the house? Who had planted the garden? Who had made the earth upon which the house stood and in which the flowers bloomed? Who had set the woods about her house, with the wild birds singing in the trees? Who had arched the sky over it, with the sun to give her light by day and the moon and stars by night? Who had--?

-Elizabeth Goudge, Henrietta's House, 149.


'Behave yourself!' said Grandfather sternly, for though he loved all human souls he loved them better when they did not spit. 'And don't you dare to disparage fairy tales. A fairy tale, dear sir, in relating miraculous happenings as though they were normal events of every day, is a humble acknowledgement of the fact that this universe is a box packed full of mysteries of which we understand absolutely nothing at all. You can wonder till you're blue in the face as to how the giraffe got his neck, or the gooseberry puffed himself out, but you don't know. You can't know. Any theory you may evolve about a giraffe's neck, my dear sir, is a fairy tale.'

-Elizabeth Goudge, Henrietta's House, 114-115.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 27

Q. What do you understand by the providence of God?

A. Providence is the almighty and ever present power of God by which he upholds, as with his hand, heaven and earth and all creatures, and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness, prosperity and property—all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but from his fatherly hand.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

On Haircuts

I can tell you through hard won personal takes time to find the person who understands the way your hair moves and makes it look good, and that person is very very rarely your wife and almost never an attachment to a vacuum cleaner. 

-Judge John Hodgman

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Little Cheese

At that, Phronsie made a little cheese and sat right down on the pavement in an ecstasy.

-Margaret Sidney, Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, 225.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Habitation of Dragons

I am a poor, weak creature; unstable as water, I cannot excel. This corruption is too hard for me, and is at the very door of ruining my soul; and what to do I know not. My soul is become as parched ground, and a habitation of dragons. I have made promises and broken them; vows and engagements have been as a thing of nought. Many persuasions have I had that I had got the victory and should be delivered; but I am deceived; so that I plainly see, that without some eminent succor and assistance, I am lost, and shall be prevailed on to an utter relinquishment of God. But yet, though this be my state and condition, let the hands that hang down be lifted up, and the feeble knees be strengthened. Behold the Lord Christ, who hath all fullness of grace in his heart, all fullness of power in his hand: he is able to slay all these his enemies. There is a sufficient provision in him for my relief and assistance: he can take my drooping, dying soul, and make me more than a conqueror. He can make the dry, parched ground of my soul to become a pool, and my thirsty, barren heart as springs of water; yea, he can make this habitation of dragons, this heart so full of abominable lusts and fiery temptations, to be a place for grass and fruit for himself.

-John Owen, The Mortification of Sin, 146-147

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sick Day Reading

A week-long cold has oficially graduated into a sinus infection. I'm sick of being sick - but thankful for a rich stack of old and new books...

Gone Crazy in Alabama, Rita Williams-Garcia
The Odds of Getting Even, Sheila Turnage
The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, Alexander McCall Smith
Knucklehead, Jon Scieszka
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?, Lauren Child
A Baby Sister for Frances, Russell Hoban
Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosch
So Brave, Young, and Handsome, Leif Enger
Grief Undone, Elizabeth W. D. Groves
The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Summer 2015 Reading List

Ruby Redfort Catch Your Death, Lauren Child
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadiman
The Imaginary, A. F. Harrold and Emily Gravett
Apple of My Eye, Helene Hanff
A Sudden Wild Magic, Diana Wynne Jones
Anastasia Again!, Lois Lowry
The Four Graces, D. E. Stevenson
The Two Mrs. Abbotts, D. E. Stevenson
Luther on the Christian Life, Carl Trueman
The Queen of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner
Mennyms Alone, Sylvia Waugh
Mennyms Alive, Sylvia Waugh
The Cockatoucan, E. Nesbit

Monday, September 7, 2015


"It went off very well, I think," said Mr. Grace. "In spite of the heat everyone seemed to be enjoying it, and the bride looked charming."

"It always does, and she always does," declared Liz. "I mean I've never heard of a wedding that didn't go off well, have you, darling? Can you imagine anyone saying, 'It didn't go off very well, did it? And wasn't the bride plain?"

-D. E. Stevenson, The Four Graces, 13.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Mr. Fezziwig's Ball

“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.”

-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lying in Bed

Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a coloured pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.

- G. K. Chesterton, In Defense of Sanity, 39.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


But what is truly strange is that I never liked mornings when I could have them with real sunrises and real dew on real roses and real paperboys wrecking real bicycles on the sidewalk outside my window. How I could ever have remained asleep and voluntarily missed a sunrise, I can't explain.
-N. D. Wilson, Leepike Ridge, 141.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Real fellowship requires stepping outside of you.

-Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, 116.

Sexual Sin

What good Christians don't realize is that sexual sin is not recreational sex gone overboard. Sexual sin is predatory. It won't be "healed" by redeeming the context or the genders. Sexual sin must simply be killed. What is left of your sexuality after this annihilation is up to God. But healing, to the sexual sinner, is death: nothing more and nothing less...Christians act as though marriage redeems sin. Marriage does not redeem sin. Only Jesus himself can do that.

-Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, 83.

Missing the Point

I came to believe that my job was not to critique and "receive" a sermon, but to dig into it, to seize its power, to participate with its message, and to steal its fruit...The easily offended are missing the point.

-Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, 72.

Good Teachers

Good teachers make it possible for people to change their positions without shame.

-Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, 14.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Because It's There

A solitary rock is always attractive. All right-minded people feel an overwhelming desire to scale and sit upon it.

-Dorothy Sayers, Have His Carcase, 11.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Two Kingdoms of Comedy

The poet W. H. Auden writes, in a beautiful essay on Shakespeare, that there are actually two distinct genres, one might even say kingdoms, of comedy. The first he calls "classical" comedy, though it can be found in many cultures and in many periods of history. Classical comedy focuses on exposing people who think too highly of themselves or have some otherwise fantastic self-image and mocking them. "When the curtain falls" at the end of a classical comedy, Auden writes, "the audience is laughing and those on stage are in tears." The audience may laugh because they believe themselves to possess arete--"virtue," or more generally, "excellence"--which those on stage so demonstrably lack.

The other kind of comedy is best illustrated by Shakespeare's plays. Take Much Ado About Nothing, for instance: at the end of that play we see a motley collection of people, few if any of whom have behaved especially well. They have exhibited pride, wrath, jealousy, envy, treachery--most of the deadly sins and a sizable collection of venial ones--and a great deal of what can only be called sheer stupidity, especially on the part of the male lead, Claudio. Yet they are all celebrating, joyously, a double wedding...Auden calls this kind of story "Christian comedy," because it is "based upon the belief that all men are sinners; no one, therefore, whatever his rank or talents, can claim immunity from the comic exposure." This is a model of society and human nature that turns the Greek notion of arete on its head, because on this account the truest excellence is to know that you deserve the "comic exposure"--to know that you need forgiveness. When a play like this comes to its end, "the characters are exposed and forgiven: when the curtain falls, the audience and the characters are laughing together."

-Alan Jacobs, Original Sin, 271-272.

Misplaced Humility

What we suffer from to-day is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought no to assert -- himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt -- the Divine Reason. Huxley preached a humility content to learn from Nature. But the new skeptic is so humble that he doubts if he can even learn...The old humility was a spur that prevented a man from stopping; not a nail in his boot that prevented him from going on. For the old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which will make him stop working altogether.

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 31-32 (Quoted by Alan Jacobs in Shaming the Devil).

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Feeling Thin

Why I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.

-J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, 41.