Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sacrificing Inward Integrity

Divulgence of the heart, to freely speak my deductions and desires regardless of their affect, is a selfish luxury. To foist my thoughts upon others and to call the speaking of these things honest truth, is no gift. 

It is a lack of self-control, a wily tongue gone loose and an inability to value others' ease and dignity. It is giving mastery to my own pressing thoughts and insecure feelings, which, when given power, insist upon being made into gods. To live this way will surely make all normal relationships disappoint by their imperfect handlings of my divulged heart. If I am to demand so much from life and others, joy may never be grasped.

No. If there is to be any grace, then the truth of personal feelings cannot come first. For grace is to forgo being understood for the sake of understanding others. Grace is to act the part of honor, respect, and agreement though my heart would rather wield its wounds and fears as weapons.

Grace is to silently sacrifice my deepest longings in order to share another's dreams. And although such restraint may feel like jeopardizing inward integrity or stifling my own freedom, it is in fact broadening my scope of truth. It is acting as if we were entirely unselfish though the individual heart screams for stardom. For it is that daily mundane acting, built up into a habit of service that becomes at last a habit of mind and feeling as well as of body. This, indeed, is the continuous death prior to a continuous life.

Such a love turns paupers to kings in the finding of value in the simplest of persons who through the lens of this love, seem to possess such unique loveliness that, rather than being a source of jealous contention, receive our admiration. 

What a world we have of such variety and colors and tastes and dreams all stowed inside each man and woman's heart! What a vision to behold when we keep silent to see the tapestry of mankind all different but all reflecting the trillions of facets of God himself! We need not see trillions; we have our own parents and siblings, spouses and children, in-laws and congregations as a start. 

Let our sacrifice start here to increase our grace and to see Providence everywhere. 

-Elizabeth Gouge, Bird in the Tree and Pilgrim's Inn

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Top Ten Toys for Little Boys

1. PVC pipes: these work like giant tinker toys. Glue them together to make golf clubs or handle-bar swings. They can be also be any manner of make-believe tool.

2. Ropes & Swings: hammocks, climbing towers, pretend hoses, pulley systems, Tarzan vines, etc.

3. Mattresses, Pillows, Cushions, & Blankets: think forts, trampolines, giant human sandwiches, stepping stones, hideaways, obstacle courses etc.

4. Blocks: cities, streets, animal cages, towers, etc.

5. Tinkertoys: guns, tools, car-controls, aircrafts, animals, etc.

6. Boxes: boxes!

7. Legos: just about anything. Use large legos until toddlers aren't at risk of eating them.

8. Ice blocks: freeze little animals inside and let boys break them open with hammers.

9. Dirt & Sand: shovels, buckets, sieves, rakes, cups, dump trucks, or excavators.

10. Water: sprinklers, cups, funnels, pitchers, buckets, paintbrushes, sponges, etc.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Battle Speech of the Materfamilias

Daughters of America, of the world. My Sisters. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come, when the courage of women fails, when we forsake our men and break all bonds of grace, but it is not this day! An hour of false martyrdom and shirked duties when the age of femininity comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! 

We are glad now that we see the facts with no veil of false pretense about them, to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the family and for the value of our men: for the way of humility in both great and small and the privilege of women everywhere to choose gratitude in their way of life and of obedience.

May it not be that the spirit of men and our families will be defended by the skill and devotion of women? There never has been, I suppose, in all the world, in all the history of war, such an opportunity for femininity. Helen of Troy, Joan of Arc, Catherine the Great, all fall back into the past—not only distant but prosaic; we young women, going forth every morn to guard our mouths and all that we profanely contemplate, holding in our hands these instruments of colossal and shattering power, of whom it may be said that

“Every morn brought forth a noble chance
And every chance brought forth a noble lady,”

demanding no queenly treatment, just like our many brave men who, in so many ways and on so many occasions, are ready, and continue to be ready to give life and all for our sake.

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in our minds, we shall fight on the seas and oceans of self-pity, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in letting go, we shall name our blessings, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight against brooding, we shall fight against manipulation, we shall fight against complaining and assigning motives, we shall fight against comparisons; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this fleshly body or a large part of it were made the martyr that we so often think we are, then our men would stay home from work, forsaking job and paycheck, to care for our struggle, until, in God's good time, our renewed spirits, with all its strength and might, steps forth to the battle again.

Aye, fight and you may die to yourself. Give in to selfishness and you'll remain unchanged — at least for a while. And closed in upon yourself many years from now, you would be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell the Deceiver that he may take your freedom, your beauty and time, but he’ll never take your eternal glory!

May the lightning of your glory be seen and the thunders of your onset heard from east to west, and be ye the avengers of feminine graces!

By the blood of the Christ you hold dear, I bid you, stand, woman of the West!

-Utterly misquoted speeches taken from from Winston Churchill, Braveheart, Woodrow Wilson, William the Conqueror, and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King