Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wednesdays With Words: Equals and Inferiors

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Once again, it feels awkward ro review a book so many people have read and so many people have loved.

Several people had warned me that GoF was a darker book, and they were right, although the darkness was very contained in the last several chapters.

Harry muddles through much of the book, confused and unsure and a little afraid, yet sure to trust a small few - including Ron and Hermione.

This is the first of the series that doesn't end squarely with everything hashed out and threads tied up. We don't know for certain what several characters are off to for the summer. We don't know what is to come in the next book.

A big theme that begins here is Hermione's defense of the House Elves - at least, I assume it will remain in the forefront going forward. The looking out for the 'least of these' is good. The way many of the magical beings and the muggles and muggle-born are treated badly by the wicked characters (see the treatment of the muggle camp owner at the World Cup and the way Hermione is often treated by others) is uncomfortable to the reader - even Ron's defense that the House Elves like it ([shudder]). The enslavement of the House Elves should be an interesting discussion going forward. I'm pleased with Sirius' statement:
If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.

and Dumbledore, of course,
You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!

Rowling is a touch heavy handed on the theme - a fault of the YA readership I expect - , despite the fact that there's no resolution for Hermione's S.P.E.W. movement, and I expect to see more of it going forward.

Overall, I think this was the most engaging of the books so far, I had a hard time stopping to read or do other things. We read Book 1 & 2 aloud, listened to Book 3, and read Book 4 independently.

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I do want to say that "equals" and "inferiors" are terms that are fraught with emotion and discriminatory intent in and of themselves. This isn't to say that there aren't authority structures - but those structures ought to be freely made associations.

Wordless Wednesday: Glasses All Around

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook for September 26, 2016

For Today...

Looking out my window ... it's still dark. After 7. So hard to get up this early.

I am thinking ... Daylight Savings is going to be even harder.

I am thankful ... for a church that faithfully preaches the gospel and encourages her members to look to Christ.

One of my favorite things ... my OBX sweatshirt ... and that 'tis the season to need it in the morning.

I am wearing ... Buckeye pajama pants and my OBX sweatshirt ;)

I am creating ... a new loop in my Whatchamacallit (Morning Time, Circle Time, Symposium, etc)

I am reading ... Harry Potter Book 4 (Goblet of Fire?) The kids all finished it already, but I just got started last night.

I am hoping ... our new schedule doesn't kill me. Quiet Time may be things of the past (Waaaaaaah)

I am learning ... to get up and moving in the morning. (Waaaaaah)

In my kitchen ... I don't really want to think about it. I'm planning on stuffed acorn squash for dinner. Yum.

In the school room ... we've pretty much kept up with the aggressive schedule I made. It wasn't always pleasant, but it was done.

A moment from my day ,,, We went to the county fair on Friday and had a wonderful time.

Closing Notes: I'm headed on retreat this weekend with our Presbytery. Working the book table (woohoo) and hearing Rebecca Jones speak. I'm looking forward to it.

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesdays with Words

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wednesdays with Words: Sawdust in our Souls

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that my friend Heather and I were reading through Sally Clarkson's Own You Life a while ago - a year? two years? (she's since moved her blog!) I don't really remember. It's been a while.

I keep looking at Own Your Life and think I should finish it just for the discipline of finishing it.

I put it aside because I was struggling with some of the ideas, not sure I entirely agreed with where Clarkson was going.

But I've been listening to her At Home with Sally podcast where they were going through the book and things were sounding more agreeable to me, so I thought maybe I'd give finishing the book a shot.

I took it with me to piano lessons on Monday and was able to read a little despite the beautiful setting and weather.

I was pleasantly surprised with the section on "The Power and Choice of Love."
Yet as our culture has come to prize efficiency, utilitarian values, competency, and materialism, we have become isolated and alone. We have drifted further from the very foundation of life that sustains us--the need and desire to be loved, accepted as we are, and validated for our own uniqueness. And so we have settled for sawdust in our souls. (page 181, emphasis mine)

Sawdust is what is left when you cut pieces of wood. When you divide and divide and divide to a specific purpose - when we fit a person into a specialized box (a cupcake tin, a cookie cutter, a specific nut or bolt) where their function is so narrowly defined, we leave behind the detrious of what God intended yet we cut and grind away as rubbish.

This is not to say that we don't leisurely, carefully, painstakingly fit pieces together. Oh, no. There are rough edges to be smoothed. But not, I think, to the point that a progressive, utilitarian world would have us believe. Not to piles of dry sawdust rather than a beautifully polished piece of artistry.
If I could give you only one encouragement in this book, it would be to measure your life by how well you have loved. In the moment that you love well, you are the most like Jesus.
God is much more concerned with your love than with your service. If you truly love HIm, then acts of service will naturally follow. However you can do works of service without loving Him or anyone else. As the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13, such good deeds will only be like a noisy gong or clanging cymbal.
She finishes the section most convictingly:
[Love]'s a choice that you often have to make in the inconvenient moments of life, or when the people in your life are irritating, frustrating, or immature. You must own your choice to allow love--both your own and Christ's love--to be extended to others through you. (pg 182)
May you and I learn to love in this way. I know I often express love badly toward those closest to me who are irritating, frustrating, and immature - my children and even myself. Learning to stop, breathe, love rather than blow up. That's the challenge I can take away from this.

Wordless Wednesday: Outside the Arts Castle

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook for Monday, September 12, 2016

For Today... Monday, September 12, 2016

Looking out my window ... the sky looks like my son described a similar day recently, "It looks like someone took a single color and painted the whole sky with it."

I am thinking ... about the rest of our day - piano lessons, grocery store, and dinner without Daddy.

I am thankful ... that my husband is able to serve our church as he does.

One of my favorite things ... hearing my kids read aloud to one another.

I am wearing ... olive drab khaki shorts and a magenta 3/4 sleeve peasant style blouse. I might wear my orange tennies when I go out ...

I am creating ... a grocery list on the menu plan I made last week.

I am caught up listening to the At Home with Sally podcasts. I'm confused if that's the end or if they're on hiatus. Sally sounded done, Kristen sounded like a break.  We'll see.

I am hoping ... to accomplish the plan I put together last week for the next five weeks. It is going to take a lot of patience, hard work, and consistency. I hope it works out.

I am learning ... about adding delight and fun in natural ways into my homeschool. A podcast. A blog post. Both very much worth your time.

In my kitchen ... I made box mac and cheese for lunch. Yum.

In the school room ... we started a new biography of Lilias Trotter and I enjoyed it very much.

A moment from my day ... on our way to church yesterday

Linking up with The Simple Woman.