My house was an absolute mess. Toys were scattered around the floors, doors to the outside stood open and flies came in to forage, grass and dirt littered the floor, and random cups, plates and shoes were all littered about. It was chaos. For several hours we had enjoyed the fellowship of company, of entertaining and eating, but now the day was drawing to a close and I felt restless. It was time to get things back into their place, to bring some order to the madness. It was time to see my kids bathed and in jammies, tucked away in cozy beds.
Several years ago God, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, saw fit to smite the radio in my car, so I don't listen to the news very much anymore. I do occasionally tune in when driving our other vehicle (which has a working radio), but I find that I've lost the taste for it. I can't stomach it, and usually turn it off after only a short time, because I realize now that 'the news' isn't news at all.
“Oh, it is such a shame they won’t remember it!” my friend said.
My husband and I had just invested a lot of money (money that might have been better used to fix up our house or to replace our 15-year-old van) to take our family of six to Europe for ten days next summer. We will be returning— for the first time as a family—to Skopje, Macedonia, where we lived from 2008-2011, before spending a day in Amsterdam.
“Maybe,” I said, admittedly a little bothered by her comment but aware that I was having similar thoughts.
My three-year-old daughter, Alethea, is plenty old enough to feed herself when we sit down to the table for dinner, but sometimes she doesn't want to. She will leave her food untouched until it is stone-cold because she would rather someone to spoon the food from the plate into her mouth.
The problem with really loving our students is that we really love our students. It’s a vulnerable situation. What if they don’t love us back? And what would be evidence of such love? That they treat us honorably? That they divulge their truest beliefs? That they recognize something in us worthy of imitation? And what if they don’t? Or worse, what if they do and then they devastate us with the ultimate failure of judgment?
This morning, my four students and I strolled leisurely through a biographical sketch of J.S. Bach, narrated back some of the astounding details of his life (20 children!), and then spent ten minutes listening to one of his concertos. It was a peaceful and soul-filling way to begin our day. As the last note ended, we moved on to fractions, violin practice, and handwriting.
Last week I contemplated the cycle of Death and Rebirth in Nature and how it reflects that great spiritual reality of the Resurrection. In particular I focused on how, in the Resurrection, God makes even Death itself beautiful. I’ve continued to meditate on this idea—the relationship between Christ’s defeat of Death and the cultivation of Beauty.
Here we are in January. Winter is fully underway. Trees have passed from green to red to bare. Flowers are gone. Birds and animals have retreated. Even children stay inside.
The Winter—in theology, in liturgy, in poetry—has always represented Death. Every year the Creation itself plays out the story of our own lives. Fresh new life sprouts forth in Spring, followed by a vigorous, green, lively Summer. In the Autumn, things slow down and the green fades, finally giving up its life to the barren Winter.
Last night, my three oldest children slept in the living room, tucked away in homemade forts constructed of sheets, blankets, and clothes pins. They were excited as they snuggled down in their imaginary castles for the night with hopes to wake to our first snowfall of this winter. They were not disappointed.
In 2016 we created more content than ever before. We recorded more podcasts, wrote more articles, and conducted more interviews than ever. And that's thanks to you, because we had more readers than ever, too. What's that they say about wind beneath wings, and such?
The following is a sampling of the posts you read the most this past year, but it's safe to say we learned a few things about our audience: you care about the role of pop culture in your homes and schools; you're concerned about college; and you really, really like Jane Austen.