In lieu of trying to belong to any number of societies: Chesterton, Sherlock Holmes, the Inklings, and so on: I propose and establish one of my own. Don your intelligence cap at the door; dust off your logic and imagination; did you bring your inspiration and encouragement? We are shapers, my friends; lit lamps; light-bringers. Bring quotes*; poetry should be uplifting and thoughtful, or witty and clever, (or both). Humor is encouraged; laughter is invited back. Pull up a chair. Anyone for tea?



A Splendid Piece

A beautiful carol, from the 12th century no less, sung by Allison Krauss, and with Yo Yo Ma--gorgeous. I hope you all had a pleasant and abundant Christmas, not only in gifts, but in joy and health and food and hope! Just had to share it quickly; I hope you have a lovely week leading up to our New Year.

Merry Midwinter!

'It was a frosty morning. The air was crisp and cold and everything sparkled in the winter sunshine. The little mice hurrying along the path turned up their collars and blew on their paws in an effort to keep warm.

"Merry Midwinter," panted Dusty Dogwood, scurrying past Mr. Apple and the Toadflax children with a huge covered basket. Mr. Apple and the children were busy too, dragging great sprays of holly and trails of ivy and mistletoe towards the Old Oak Palace. When they arrived at the gates, they heaped all the branches on the ground, and Wilfred tugged at the bell.'. . .
"When the days are the shortest, the nights are the coldest,
The frost is the sharpest, the year is the oldest,
The sun is the weakest, the wind is the hardest,
The snow is the deepest, the skies are the darkest,
Then polish your whiskers and tidy your nest,
And dress in your riches and finest and best . . .
For winter has brought you the worst it can bring,
And now it will give you
The promise of SPRING! "

~Jill Barklem

Let the Nations Be Glad!

God has come to live with us. . .
Watch these beautiful fellow-lovers-of-Christ rejoice to see God's word in their own language.
This is missing a little of the right side, but I had to share it. If you click on the video, you can watch it on youtube.

A Festive Quote

"None of the Melendys ever forgot that vacation. In the memory of each, those weeks had a shine and glitter that would never grow dim.

For one thing, the weather was right. December, unlike some Decembers, seemed to have modeled itself on all the Christmas cards in the world. It snowed and snowed, and when it did not snow, the sun came out, and the fields sparkled as if they had been covered with granulated sugar. There was hardly any wind, so the trees kept their heavy epaulets of snow, and the iron deer in front of the house wore big white mob-caps on their antlers.

"I keep expecting the smoke to come out of the chimney and form the words, 'Season's Greetings' " said Rush."

~ Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze . . . Elizabeth Enright

Two Songs

Over at Katie's blog, she posted a beautiful song.
It is very moving. . . somehow giving the feel of vastness in this occasion.
God entering time. It is so big.
Below is another song I love for advent. Gotta love Chris.

Welcome to Our World

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting
Welcome holy child
Welcome holy child

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long awaited, holy stranger
Make yourself at home,
Please make yourself at home

Bring your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
We're now breaking heaven's silence
Welcome to our world,
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorns
Tiny heart, whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around you
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect son of God
Perfect son of God
Welcome to our world

~Chris Rice

In December

Although entirely unknown to you, I have been attempting to upload these pictures for the last three days, without success. But thankfully, I didn't completely give up, so here they are, if a little late. Meanwhile, I have been busy and blessed as usual.
We have over a foot of snow, the temperature has been below zero, but is now in the comfortable twenties. We have also been visited by a cardinal recently. Strange as it seems, we very rarely see these beautiful birds. They seem to like towns and such, and don't cross the prairie to us very often. This one has been a delight to watch. Brighter than we remember them, and shyer than our other feeder-friends. They look especially striking beside the bossy blue-jays, of which we have several.
The other pictures are pretty random, but I enjoyed them and hope you will too~
~Lights for Him~

The ever faithful Mitford book beside my bed ~I'm reading the series again from beginning to end :) . . . actually, I did rotate this so that it was horizontal, but it uploaded like this anyway. . .

the happiest book, by Diane Goode.

He cannot deny himself

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13

“I tell you, if he were to shut you out, dear soul, whoever you may be, if you go to him, he would deny himself. He never did deny himself yet. Whenever a sinner comes to him he becomes his Savior. Whenever he meets a sick soul he acts as his Physician. . . . If you go to him you will find him at home and on the look-out for you. He will be more glad to receive you than you will be to be received. . . . As Matthew sat at the receipt of custom, waiting for the people to pay their dues, so does Christ sit at the receipt of sinners, waiting for them to mention their wants. He is watching for you. I tell you again that he cannot reject you. That would be to alter his whole character and un-Christ himself. To spurn a coming sinner would un-Jesus him and make him to be somebody else and not himself any longer. ‘He cannot deny himself.’ Go and try him; go and try him.”

C. H. Spurgeon, Treasury of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, 1950), III:862.

Read this on Ray Ortlund's blog

Advent . . .

.....I promise I didn't forget it. Despite the day's fullness, despite football victories and many other important things going on that day, I did not forget to thank Him.
.....Oh, the wonder-filled expectation that this day inaugurates! Beautiful traditions are begun in so many houses throughout the world. We are all remembering the coming of our Only Hope. The birth of the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace. How many of us actually pause our festive activity--setting up candles, making wreaths, opening paper doors--to truly marvel that He actually came. This birth (a seemingly normal event--babies are born every day) that happened more than twenty centuries ago, changed the course of life and history and eternity. If this Baby had not been born, heaven would be void of humans. If He had not grown healthily to manhood, we would be lost forever. If He had not died, we would not have life.
.....God becoming man, over two-thousand years ago, over six thousand miles away, changes our everyday lives in a way we ought never to forget. Any hope or life we might have, rests in Him alone. Join me in joyful memory, in eager expectation, in awe-struck gratitude. . .
.....And as you light the first light, open the first day, or just lift your eyes and notice this Season of Hope. . . have a blessed, blessed Advent.

Comfort, comfort ye my people,
Speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
Comfort those who sit in darkness,
Mourning 'neath their sorrow's load.
Speak ye to Jerusalem
Of the peace that waits for them;
Tell her that her sins I cover,
And her warfare now is over.

Yea, her sins our God will pardon,
Blotting out each dark misdeed;
All that well deserved his anger
He no more will see or heed.
She hath suffered many a day
Now her griefs have passed away;
God will change her pining sadness
Into ever-springing gladness.

For the herald's voice is crying
In the desert far and near
Bidding all men to repentance,
Since the kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way;
Let the valleys rise to meet him,
And the hills bow down to greet him

Make ye straight what long was crooked
Make the rougher places plain;
Let your hearts be true and humble,
As befits his holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
Now o'er earth is shed abroad;
And all flesh shall see the token
That his word is never broken
~Johannes Olearius, 1671

Happy Birthday Jack

. . . our beloved friend, author and brother-in-Christ, C. S. Lewis.
November 29, 1898 - November 22, 1963
endlessly quotable,
tremendously helpful,
who gave us Narnia and so many other memorable things. . .

Nonny Nonny
Chris Rice

Summer warm and lazy
Lemon sun and hazy
Popsicle red on my chin
Bikes and plastic army men
And no sign of September
Something in my seven years was telling me
To thank the Author of such a biography

Nonny Nonny Odle'ee
River washes over me
Up for air and carry me away
Nonny Nonny Odle'igh
Run the earth and watch the sky
Praying hard and waiting for the day
Nonny Nonny Odle'ay

My adolescent 70's
Reads just like the Pevensies
'Cause every perfect now and then
I cought a glimpse of Aslan's mane
And I longed for His treasure
Something in His mystery was drawing me
To love the Author of my own biography

Nonny Nonny Odle'ee
River washes over me
Up for air and carry me away
Nonny Nonny Odle'igh
Run the earth and watch the sky
Praying hard and waiting for the day
Nonny Nonny Odle'ay

All grown up and living fine
Biographies all intertwined
With billions
And soon He turns the final page
We'll look the Author in the face
Then the book really begins
'Cause something tells me all these years of memories
Are only the first sentence of eternity

Nonny Nonny Odle'ee
River washes over me
Up for air and carry me away
Nonny Nonny Odle'igh
Run the earth and watch the sky
Praying hard and waiting for the day
...Nonny Nonny Odle'ay


' [Willy Sloper] always referred to the furnace as "She." "I got her wide open," he'd tell you on a cold night, or "Say, Cuffy, she'll be needing a couple tons stove coal tomorra, next day, tella Boss." Or oftener still with a knock on Father's study door, "Say, Mr. Melendy, the furnace, she's on the fritz again." This would be followed by an exasperated sound from Father. Once he said, "Okay, Willy. Call in Mr. Yellen. But the next time she acts up I'm going to replace her with a good dependable oil furnace; maybe gas. This way it's like being married to an Italian opera singer. Tell her I said so." '
The Saturdays, by Elizabeth Enright
This I quote not only because I love Elizabeth Enright's wit, and furnaces have been very necessary recently (it was 8 degrees this morning), but also because it reminds me of the temperament of one of the other machines in our house. Our computer, which always makes a pathetic groan when we ask it to do something, has now resorted to grunting like a pig, clicking at odd intervals, and generally acting like it is about to die. It also lost some pictures, and shut down unexpectedly, so uploading pictures was more trouble, and therefore, unduly procrastinated. All that to say, I finally did it, and am very glad I did. I hope you enjoy them.

The most delicious picture books. . .
Christmas in the Country
Nana's Birthday Party
Bravo Maurice
Peter Spire's Christmas
Seven Silly Eaters
Gingerbread, to put it simply, deep with ginger and lemon. . .
winter fog. . . entirely delightful.
Lovely friends of ours enjoying games and chatter. . .Baby Josiah . . .
and experiencing the bitter cold.
Everything is iced over,
~out walking with Natalie~The haybarn is a wonderful place to take refuge from the cold.

So are the lanes between the haystacks.

And the reward of braving the cold winter's day is seeing eight deer from close range just as dusk is falling.

There were many happy hours around the sink and kitchen table. . . love you guys!

"He Shall Reign Forever and Ever"

On October 30th, 650 people from different chorus groups infiltrated the Philadelphia Macy's as shoppers, and at 12 noon, burst into the Hallelujah Chorus. You must see it. And as it will not properly go on my blog, I refer you to Justin's blog, where Mother found it this morning.

The Joyous Season

The air is chilly, but not yet bitter. The trees are bare of leaves, and not yet laden with snow. We've had our first snow, but drifts won't come for a while. The ground is brownish, the air not as clear as in October. The ancient sky not so bright.

Some people think that this is a dreary time of year, but they don't know the secret. It seems no one has told them that . . . . Christmas has begun!

Its cheer has been kindled, its lights have been lit, the music is playing. Our decorating commenced on deer hunting opener, as usual, and we are taking our time with it.
Because, you see, Christmas is a rushed season . . . by very nature, it seems. And if you don't start now, there is no time to savor it. How much nicer to be able to enjoy cooking, baking, and present-making under a festive glimmer of lights.

We're celebrating the Light of the World . . . and though His birthday does not come for a little while yet, we should take time to think about His coming, and His life, and His coming again. And become anxious in the waiting for His consolation, like Simeon did.

There's also something winterish and celebratory that we have come to call Christmas that simply has to do with snowflakes, and orange spice, and smooth jazz. It is winter coziness. To me, lighted trees and colored balls, expectation, and baking are all a part of that coziness, and should not be confined to a few days. Let the feasting begin!

Take time to find all your favorite holiday quotes in your books. Read "Shepherds Abiding" by Jan Karon again. (I listen to it on CD every year.) Learn new festive recipes (maybe with cranberries in it) and eat them now. You don't have to wait until Christmas day to make and enjoy them. Christmas is a Season, as well as a day.

A season to rejoice in, because God came down . . .

Down here with us . . .

Immanuel . . .

The assembly of our tree is a lengthy and often hilarious time.
Ben and I were the elfs this year
The little tree gets Charlie Brown lights
and 'candy' garlands
decidedly cozy. . .
And the cabin-y ornaments
untangling. . .
and stringing
with the 'Holiday Inn' soundtrack on,
And of course I had to add more twinkly lights to my bedroom. . .
. . . and balls

. . . and candles.

The Staggit Eve*

The stag at eve had drunk his fill,
Where danced the moon on Monan's rill,
And deep his midnight lair had made
In lone Glenartney's hazel shade;
But, when the sun his beacon red
Had kindled on Benvoirlich's head,
The deep-mouth'd bloodhound's heavy bay
Resounded up the rocky way,
And faint, from farther distance borne,
Were heard the clanging hoof and horn.
As Chief, who hears his warder call,
"To arms! the foemen storm the wall,"
The antler'd monarch of the waste
Sprung from his heathery couch in haste.
But, ere his fleet career he took,
The dewdrops from his flanks he shook;
Like crested leader proud and high,
Toss'd his beam'd frontlet to the sky;
A moment listen'd to the cry,
That thicken's as the chase drew nigh;
Then, as the headmost foes appear'd,
With one brave bound the copse he clear'd,
And, stretching forward free and far,
Sought the wild heaths of Uam-Var.
Yell'd on the view the opening pack;
Rock, glen, and cavern, paid them back;
To many a mingled sound at once
The awaken'd mountain gave response.
A hundred dogs bayed deep and strong,
Clattered in hundred steeds along,
Their peal the merry horns rung out,
A hundred voices join'd the shout;
With hark and whoop and wild halloo,
No rest Benvoirlich's echoes knew.
Far from the tumult fled the roe,
Close in her covert cower'd the doe,
The falcon, from her cairn on high,
Cast on the rout a wondering eye,
Till far beyond her piercing ken
The hurricane had swept the glen.
Faint and more faint, its failing din
Return'd from cavern, cliff, and linn,
And silence settled, wide and still,
On the lone wood and mighty hill.
Less loud the sounds of sylvan war
Disturb'd the heights of Uam-Var
And roused the cavern, where 'tis told,
A giant made his den of old;
For ere that steep ascent was won,
High in his pathway hung the sun,
And many a gallant, stay'd perforce,
Was fain to breathe his faltering horse,
And of the trackers of the deer,
Scarce half the lessening pack was near,
So shrewdly on the mountain side
Had the bold burst their mettle tried.
The noble stag was pausing now,
Upon the mountain's southern brow,
Where broad extended, far beneath,
The varied realms of fair Menteith.
With anxious eye he wander'd o'er
Mountain and meadow, moss and moor,
And ponder'd refuge from his toil,
By far Lochard or Aberfoyle.
But nearer was the copsewood grey,
That waved and wept on Loch-Achray,
And mingled with the pinetrees blue
On the bold cliffs of Benvenue.
Fresh vigour with the hope return'd
With flying foot the heath he spurn'd,
Held westward with unwearied race,
And left behind the panting chase.
:~: Sir Walter Scott :~:
excerpt from: The Lady of the Lake, Canto First

*See Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher