Friday, August 31, 2007

We Love Number 23!

Today Nathaniel, Hannah and I travelled to Princeton, New Jersey with our cousin Katherine to see Princeton's Tigers open their soccer season against Loyola's Greyhounds. We especially had fun cheering for our cousin Benjamin (Katherine's brother) who is a freshman member of the Princeton team. The Greyhounds scored an own goal for the Tigers but managed to pull ahead in the end with a final score of 2:1. We think that the Tiger's defense needed a little buttressing - they should have put Benjamin on the field. Go Number 23!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Date at the US Open

Thanks to Tsheko's friend who had extra tickets, Dad was able to fulfill one of Mom's dreams today by taking her to watch a day of tennis games at the US Open. Mom came back completely overjoyed (and sunburned!). Dad was happy to be by her side and said he would gladly take her back again, admitting he was taken in by the thrill of it all as well.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

From thy Briar Shall Blow

My earlier praise for His Faithfulness: The Poetry of Amy Carmichael was not in vain. I don't know if I willl ever cherish a CD as I do this one. The lyrics from Carmichael's poem "Rose from Brier" speak precisely to my heart.

Though hast not that, My child, but thou has Me
And am not I alone enough for thee?
I know it all, know how thy heart was set
Upon this joy which is not given yet

And well I know how through the wistful days
Thou walkest all the dear familiar ways
As unregarded as a breath of air
But there in love and longing, always there

I know it all; but from thy brier shall blow
A rose for others. If it were not so
I would have told thee, come, then say to Me:
"My Lord, my Love, I am content with Thee"

- Amy Carmichael, Rose from Brier

Sunday, August 26, 2007

And That Was That!

The 162nd Dutchess County Fair ended on a beautiful day. The big event of the day was the professional bull riding show. I never attended such an event before and had to leave prematurely because my knees started to shake even though I was sitting down! It took the rest of the day for my nerves to relax again. I guess I can say that I did enjoy the clown.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

When Cloudy Was the Weather

Today's heat and steam made up for all of the coolness of the previous fair days. We are all still recovering from the crock-pot weather this evening! Of course the weather did not prohibit enjoyment of some special events at today's Dutchess County Fair.

(1) Lenny and Melody, organizers of the Salute to Agriculture Tent, generously continued their gracious tradition of inviting all of us Angell children to breakfast at Blondie's. For most of us it was our first taste of "fair food." What a treat!

(2) We were joined once again by Justin, Nate's friend from Princeton, for the morning cow shows. He joined the 4:15am team and pitched in with the intense morning chores at the fair.

(3) And last, but not least, today proved to be another huge day for Jacob. Jacob won first place in showmanship for his division at today's competition! This is such big news for the Bentley Farm Gazette, that a video from today's competition is shown below. The judge commented on how nicely Jacob and his cow travelled together. It looked to me like a dance! Caleb (third in a class of twelve), Rebecca and Hannah also were judged in showmanship today and should also be applauded for their hard work and dedication throughout the summer that made the moments of today possible. I am a proud sister!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Toward Jerusalem

Love through me, Love of God.
Make me like thy clear air
Through which, unhindered, colors pass
As if it were not there. - Amy Carmichael, Toward Jerusalem

Cow Beauty Pageants, Friends & Rodney Atkins

Bentley's placements in today's junior dairy shows followed yesterday's accomplishments quite methodically. Once again, Vanilla won the prize as the Ayrshire Junior Grand Champion. The cow beauty pageants are now completed for the summer season. Luke added a couple of nice quotes to an article appearing in today's Daily Freeman. Tomorrow commences with the slightly more stressful showmanship competitions.

Friday of fair week tends to bring the most visitors by the Bentley station. It was especially fun for me to see my old organic chemistry professor and her goddaughter (pictured "petting" the cow). Rides in the midway were requested by and obtained for the younger Angell children and Rebecca and Caleb, with no fears, ventured on some rides with high rotational velocity.

Rodney Atkins performed twice in the grandstands today. I felt as though I definitely entered into the "country" part of the concert when I took a seat on a big pile of dirt just to see the stage. His best song, by far, in my humble opinion, is Watching You.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Fawn in the Forest

If God sees the doe in the throes of her agony and attends the delivery of her fawn in the forest, we may believe that an aching heart does not escape His notice. - Elisabeth Elliot, The Path of Loneliness

Ayrshire Junior Grand Champion!

Today was an exciting day for Bentley Farm at the Dutchess County Fair as Jacob's heifer, Vanilla, took her place as Ayrshire Junior Grand Champion. This feat was last accomplished by Bentley Farm thirty years ago when Uncle Sam's heifer won the same award.

Vanilla's dam was purchased and bred by Isaac so she also received the Best Bred and Owned Ayrshire award. The competition was not stiff this year - only six heifers were in the entire junior Ayrshire division. However, we were confident that Vanilla could withstand more competition. Jacob competed against Rebecca and Luke - they did well, too - they received second and third!
A companion in our barn joked with Nathaniel as he put up all of Vanilla's ribbons, "You know it's a good day when it takes longer to put up the ribbons than it does to show all of your heifers." It was a good day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Telltale Signs of Fairweek Wednesday

(1) The Holstein open class show begins and the whites are donned by the proud exhibitors (no ribbons to boast of yet).

(2) The 4am rising takes a toll on the children and they are found sleeping on haybales and in their lawn seats.

God is Pro-Choice

Reclaiming an abused phrase, God is entirely "pro-choice." He gave us freedom in the first place. But some choices negate our vocation to love. Some choices can never bring happiness. We are "free" in a sense to "do whatever we want with our bodies." However, we're not free to determine whether what we do with our bodies is good or evil.

- Christopher West, Theology of the Body for Beginners

An Oasis

I took a day's break from the fair scene to celebrate twenty-four years of life at the most lovely get-away in the Schwangunks - Mohonk. Perhaps, "hike" is a loose word because in the end my friend Emily and I found ourselves mostly sitting, talking and shivering in the damp coolness that seems to be ushering in the first hint of the upcoming autumn season. When we did hike, Emily would only make me laugh because she would say things like, "I keep looking behind me to see if I could fall and die. I decided I could die."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Clarity Through Mud

In college I worked for a wonderful professor who was particularly fond of writing about humor in the Bible. I appreciated the gift of his laughter and sometimes wondered if the stories that he shared were humorous to me more because of the red nose that he would often don when recounting a tale than because of the story itself! Either way, I came to appreciate his love for the many emotions carried by Scripture, including that of laughter.

If there is one story in the Bible that has always made me laugh, it is the story of the man who was blind from birth recorded in John 9. I continually find the unbelief of the Pharisees in questioning the blind man humorous. The Pharisees ask the poor blind man the same questions over and over again only to the exasperation of the healed man who finally says, "I have told you already [who opened my eyes] and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?" That last question always makes me smile.

Another humorous part of this story caught my attention recently. How funny is it that the blind man, who wanted to see clearly, is made to wash his eyes in a paste of dirt and saliva? I can only imagine how long the blind man had yearned in his soul just to see clearly, just to see rightly. To the place of his deep yearning, Jesus effectively conveys that in order to see rightly, the blind man must first subject his eyes to mud. The ways of God working among man are mysterious!

When I pray to see correctly, I want to immediately wash in the Pool of Siloam. But the healing of God comes to the blind man, first through mud and dirt and then through the cleansing pool waters. And here I find myself once again identifying with that man blind from birth, "Lord, I prayed for clarity, for vision, and you placed only mud on my eyes!"

I am grateful to that blind man because he showed such grace in receiving the saliva and dirt. Only then was he given the command, "Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam." Lord, I await your command.

Watching Rain

Well, in actuality, the Dutchess County Fair affords a whole host of opportunities - even on a rainy day. In between many barn-sheltered conversations, we found time for shaving cows, reading, watching cow shows and even nail painting. The rain added a cozy feeling to the day and made the joy of human companionship that much more palpable.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Timeless Classic

The surprising thing about returning every year to the Dutchess County Fair is how it seems as though we never left. While clipping cows, pitching manure, talking to old friends and making trips to the wash station, the prevailing question is always, "Didn't we just do this?"

Have we really seen an autumn, winter, spring and summer season since we were here last year? How could a year have passed?

In re-entering the world where all of the agriculturally-minded are relishing the fruits of the summer growing season, it is as though all time outside the fences of the fairgrounds becomes a momentary flash and the only time that is immortal lies within those gates.

For the next week we will soak in the immortality of time and enjoy just sitting with the heifers. Our only worry will be scooping the most recent cowpies. We will enjoy long and uninterrupted conversations with neighbors and friends and wonder how so much could have happened in the four seasons that so quickly passed.

When we have shared our lives and the events of yet another year, we will not forget to savor the moments of solitude where we find ourselves alone - staring into crowds of passerby's - and we will take time to reflect on the lessons of beauty and grace that we have been taught in the last year. And as we gratefully remember these passing moments, our hearts will turn to think of another year stretched before us, by God's mercy, and look forward to living and learning from another four seasons of life that will give us cause for reflection this time next year.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Little Projects and Big Projects

Today's biggest accomplishment was preparing our site at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds for the six heifer calves that we will be showing in the upcoming week (stay tuned for a full week of Dutchess County Fair coverage!). However, Dad and Jacob have continued the small projects around house and home and spent a large portion of today putting up bannisters for the front door.

Meanwhile, really big-scale projects are dominating the Bentley Farm scene. The model home is getting elaborately landscaped and, as the picture below demonstrates, the fields are still getting dug with massive John Deere equipment. (For fun: Today I talked to a family friend, who is always around for a good laugh, about the recent John Deere tractor postings. She said, "Forget calling it the John Deere 5425. You should call it the John Deere 3:16 Angel Edition!)

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Our friend, Trip, often speaks in terms of gems - a packaged gift of God's beauty and truth. Two such recent gems in my life are enclosed in this post. One is Jeremy Camp's song Walk By Faith. The other is a generic picture of a Great White Egret. I never recollect seeing a White Egret before I looked out into the fields while feeding the cows at Clarence's farm this morning. It was stunningly beautiful.

Would I believe you when you say
Your hand will guide my every way
Will I receive the words You say
Every moment of every day
Well, I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well, because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me

Help me to rid my endless fears
You've been so faithful for all my years
With the one breath You make me new
Your grace covers all I do

Friday, August 17, 2007

It's a Christmas Present!

I suppose that I shouldn't advertise a CD that I have not yet listened to in full, but I cannot help but get super excited that someone would take some of my favorite poetry and set it to music! My favorite book of all times, A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael (Elisabeth Elliot), contains some of the most God-yielding, heart-searching prayers that I have ever read. Now they are set to music. Check out His Faithfulness.

Sunshine and Grapes

What fun Rebecca had learning that her mouth can hold all of twenty-six grapes!

Lake Conesus

I am enjoying getting to know my home state. I ventured for the first time to the western Finger Lakes Region (6 hour drive) this week to visit one of my closest friends from graduate school, Carolyn, and her husband of one year, Chris. They just happened to be house sitting for her in-laws who own a home on Lake Conesus! All three of us are school teachers and so together we relished the last fleeting moments of summer.

I am not sure if there is anything quite so relaxing as falling asleep listening to the water beating up against the shore. What fun memories we will have of boating, tubing, fishing, Yahtzee!, sea-side conversations and fajita cooking!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Continuing Along the Path of Discipleship

I think often upon the story of the rich man who came to Jesus and asked, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?"

Assured that the rich man had purposed to keep the commandments, Our Lord responds,"One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

The only thing that the rich man could not give was required for discipleship. Surrendering his greatest treasure was the cost of following Christ. How much easier it would be if Christ had told the adulterous woman at the well of Samaria to sell her possessions and had required that the rich man not commit adultery!

But, somehow, the pattern of discipleship is such that Christ puts his finger on our dearest treasures and proclaims, "That is mine. That is the cost of discipleship."

Here is where I am tempted to turn away in sorrow, because I, like the rich man, have earthly loves.

Why is the cost of discipleship everything? Why can't I hold onto just one thing? Aren't these seemingly sensical questions?

Perhaps, though, my eyes suffer blindness. What if discipleship and whole devotion to the love of God is the treasure of unspeakable worth? What if asking Christ if I can keep my riches and then follow is like telling a benefactor, "I will only receive the gift of your estate if you but let me keep my pennies."? "You fool," that benefactor may say to me, "if you think that your pennies are valuable, you will never honor my estate rightly."

Christ, standing before the rich man reminds me of this benefactor. "Unless you recognize the insignificance of what you hold so tightly, you will never rightly value the gift of eternal life."

"You shall have no other gods before Me," the first commandment tells me. As a child, I thought that this was the easiest commandment to obey. I imagined that an idol was a little statue carved of wood. A little life has taught me that this commandment is the most poignant, the one that cuts to the deepest place of my soul. I have recognized, that, in fact, there are many idols that my heart wants to set before God.

Unless I have no idols before Him, I cannot be a disciple. Why no idols, Lord? Why not just one?

If I had even just one idol, I could never value rightly the gift of God Himself and I could never enter into the union for which I was created. Unless I recognize that everything else is utterly worthless, compared to the gift of following the Christ, I do not deserve to be a disciple. That is the cost of my discipleship.

Is cost the right word? What is giving up my pennies when The Benefactor gives me, in return, His entire estate? Nothing.

The amazing thing is how often I find that after I have released the tight grip that I hold on my pennies, those exact pennies are restored unto me, but rightly so. What was required because it was an idol set before Divine Love, is restored as a beautiful image of Divine Love.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I Come to the Garden

Isaac has daily opportunity to sing this old hymn as his new home is completely surrounded by gardens, plantations and arboretums. I am in awe of his neighborhood and its expansive landscaping.

But For the Glory of God

There is no telling what difference in eternity the encouraging note of a friend may make. There is telling, that in the present moment, it makes a huge impact! A little note I received today from a friend, referencing the eleventh chapter of John, ministered much comfort to me. I pass along the gift of her encouragement.

We certainly yearn to understand times of hardship. Not unlike our strivings for answers, comfort and healing, in John 11, Martha and Mary send the questioning words to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."

The words of Our Lord to these two sisters, speak as ever much to our condition as to the dead state of Lazarus, "This [trial] is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that God's Son may be glorified thereby."

In the Blink of An Eye

It was in May of 1988 when Sarah was four and I was just two that our whole family of five first came to Ithaca, NY for Uncle Sam’s graduation from Cornell Law School. But, who would have known that in August of 2007, Sarah and I would not only be back in Ithaca but enjoying a photo op on the exact stone wall where we had dangled our little legs nineteen years ago? Although the wall hadn’t lost any of its defining character, I noticed that nineteen years took a toll on my hair! But nineteen years have only made my sister that much more beautiful.

The bud of a dream – to come back to this place one day – was formed in that first visit of May 1988. As a child, speech was slow to come to me and my reading abilities took even longer to develop. What, in those moments, looked like the young death of a dream has, today, experienced resurrection. A few months ago, what looked like an improbability became an ability to go Cornell Veterinary School. Only God would have known the flower that the dream of nineteen years ago would eventually blossom into.

As orientation ends tomorrow and Block One begins with tell-told non-stop studying, I am so thankful that God has me here for a reason and now my prayer is that I’ll embrace every moment I’m given because four years will be gone in a blink of an eye. It is so reassuring to know that I have a wonderful and real Friend to travel with me on my way. - Isaac Angell

You put me here for a reason
You have a mission for me
You knew my name and You called it
Long before I learned to breathe

In a blink of an eye that is when
I'll be closer to You than I've ever been
Time will fly, but until then
I'll embrace every moment I'm given
There's a reason I'm alive for a blink of an eye
(Mercy Me)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Like Men Who Dreamed (Psalm 126)

Oh, how easy it is to focus only on the future, or on what is ahead, or on what I don't know, or on what I yet desire.

At brief moments, though, my mind gives me the gift of wheeling back the reels of time, through what is now written history, to place me again in the midst of all of the hopes, desires and yearnings of yesteryear. And in my historically rewound mindset, I find that, surprisingly, I can know the future, because the future that I once dreamed of is today.

And through the telescope set in the past, my wandering eye surveys the landscape of the future and says, "Dear God, you are very good." I could never have imagined the bounty of the places that I occupy and the people who surround me and the opportunities that befall me. I look into the future, at the place where I am today, and say, "I am like a man who dreams." Pinching myself back into the moment, I find that the dream of my future is now my present reality and that the landscape is written only by the great faithfulness of God.

Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced. Psalm 105:5

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Surpassing Prowess

The new tractor showed all of its worth today when it drilled two holes for the new lamp posts right through all of the shale. Dad said that watching the ease of this drilling process did his soul good after all the years of chiseling and jackhammering.

Only a Little While Left

Dad prayed this evening for a man who has only a little while left on this earth. Yet this description embraces all living mortals: we have only a little while left before it's "all been said and done."

When it's all been said and done
There is just one thing that matters:
Did I do my best to live for truth?
Did I live my life for You?

When it's all been said and done
All my treasures will mean nothing.
Only what I've done for love's reward
Will stand the test of time. (Jim Cowan)

Angells on the Outfield

Yes, that is correct, the Angells (nine strong) did spend most of this evening's baseball game against the Towne family (also nine strong) in the outfield, even though the average Towne age is about half of the average Angell age. In the end, though, the game was called after two innings with a tied-even score of 11:11. We had some grand slams that might have even qualified A-Rod for his 504th homer.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Put to Work

Uncle Sam requested more coverage of the new John Deere 5425. No pictures are available yet that show its surpassing strength and prowess, but the following pictures display that the tractor is not too big for small tasks!

Even the UPS man decided to take advantage of all of the strength of the new tractor. He placed our four packages in the scoop and Luke backed down the driveway for delivery. Wow - it's amazing what arms can be spared when an 81 horse power tractor resides on Bentley Farm.

From the Rising to the Setting Sun

Today was a day of toil and accomplishment. Nate, Caleb and I shoveled, raked and sifted many loads of dirt to landscape both the front and back lawn. Dad and Lawerence started the process of putting up the posts for the back deck. The electricians almost finished the work of wiring. Mom and Hannah started staining doors for the addition. Rebecca labored in the kitchen preparing delicious food. Guess where Luke and Jacob were? No surprise! They spent all day on the new John Deere!

Along the Path of Discipleship

The hard part about discipleship is that it requires discipline which, by definition, requires pain; when I experience pain it is very easy to become self-focused. That is not the point of discipleship. The endurance that is necessary along the path of discipline is required that I may learn to think beyond myself and into the realm of God's eternal plan which includes so many people besides me.

The wonderful thing about discipleship is that it brings me into relationship with Jesus Christ - when I obey Him, I come to know Him by sharing in His life. Or as a family friend puts it, "The purest joy and hardest testing are wedded to each other in the ways of our God; and to such a life we are called." I have been re-reading several of Elisabeth Elliot's works recently and have found much encouragement in her thoughts and prayers along the path of discipleship. I share these below.

If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad. (Ruth Stull qtd in Passion and Purity)

The truth is that none of us knows the will of God for his life. I say for his life -- for the promise is "as thou goest step by step I will open up the way before thee." (Let Me Be a Woman)

Freedom begins way back. It begins not with doing what you want but with doing what you ought -- that is, with discipline. With "continuing in the word." To be a disciple means to be disciplined. (Let Me Be a Woman)

Teach us, Good Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward save that of knowing that we do Thy will. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. (St. Ignatius of Loyala qtd in Let Me Be a Woman)

Lord I give up all my own plans and purpose, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever. (Betty Scott Stam qtd in Let Me Be a Woman)

Steadfastness, that is holding on;
Patience, that is holding back;
Expectancy, that is holding the face up;
Obedience, that is holding one's self in readiness to go or do;
Listening, that is holding quiet and still so as to hear.
(S.D. Gordon qtd in Passion and Purity)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Great Excitement

Look at the tractor that now resides at Bentley Farm! I'm not quite sure what the old John Deere "B" thinks of its new-fangled cousin (complete with A/C and radio-equipped cab), but the boys around here have been waiting all summer for this day. The girls may not get so excited about the tractor, but we are looking forward to the landscaping that will be the result of this tractor's power. Wow! Is farming still the simple life?

Of all Things

You have to love warning labels. Some farming supplies from Nasco arrived today with imprinted small plastic air packets serving as filler. The warning label prompted quite a bit of laughter: "Do not use this object as a toy, pillow, or flotation device." Who would use a palm-sized bag filled with air as a flotation device? Or why would someone need a pillow for the four square inches of their ear? And what kind of poor child would be so desperate for toys that she needed a plastic bag filled with air? "And, now we'll pretend that this is a stuffed bear..."

Thursday, August 09, 2007

New Friends

An old family friend gave us the treat of introducing us to the Stevenson family today. The introductions kicked off at 7:30am, in time for devotions and breakfast! The Stevensons have six children and travel the country during the summer months with their singing ministry, Get The Joy. We all enjoyed some impromptu singing and outdoor walking. Some of the Stevensons were even introduced to our cows at the neighboring farm. Dayton (23 months) was particularly fond of saying, "Cow...mooo..."

Praise Waiteth For Thee

Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it:
Thou greatly enrichest it
With the river of God which is full of water:
Thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.

Thou waterest the ridges therof abundantly:
Thou settlest the furrows thereof:
Thou makest it soft with showers:
Thou blessest the springing thereof.

Thou crownest the year with thy goodness;
And thy paths drop fatness.

They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness:
And the little hills rejoice on every side.
The pastures are clothed with flocks; The valleys also are covered over with corn;
They shout for joy, they also sing. (Psalm 65)

More than a General Contractor

Mom and Dad were both out this evening, so seven of the Angell children joined Lawerence (our neighbor and general contractor) and his family for an evening of outboard motor boating, grilling, eating and guitar playing on the banks of the Hudson River.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Summertime Luncheon

All of the Angell and Naglieri ladies gathered for a luncheon today in honor of Mom's recent birthday. The gentleman among us, Baby Christian, was not out of place!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bentley Farm Extension West

Isaac is now resuming his life in Ithaca, this time to begin the four year process of attending veterinary school. What a fancy apartment Isaac and his roommate Eric will share together! Mom and Caleb successfully helped Isaac move in yesterday, even though the Suburban completely broke down in transit. Today Isaac said he spent some time out on his back patio. It looks like he could do some gardening in his spare time. But right now, time is the last thing that is spare!

A Stilled and Quieted Soul

If I had to choose a favorite Psalm, or at least one that I have loved timelessly, it would be Psalm 131.

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high;I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Somehow the image of a young child, just weaned, yet still carressed by her mother is such a clear picture to me of perfect stillness. How does a weaned child peacefully understand a mother withholding all that used to sustain? How does a child sit in her mother's lap in calm and quiet while comprehending that her former source of sustenance is no more?

It must be that the first teetering lesson of trust has been learned. The young child must trust that her mother will provide, even though the former source of provision and nourishment is withheld.

Oh, that I would maintain the same sense of trust! I so often want the provisions of yesterday to be the sustaining provisions of today. And yet, as the weaned child at its mother's breast, I must be still. I must be taught to trust that the provision and mercy of God is new for every morning. I must learn that if I try to take yesterday's fulfillment into the future with me, I will never grow strong.

Maybe I am ready for rice cereal.

No Studying Yet!

Guess who's enjoying "just another day in paradise"? Since Isaac went back to Ithaca a week before school started, he was afforded some extra time for recreation. He went to a farm show with his roommate Eric today and of all joys known to men and unknown to women, was completely satisfied to drive around some big equipment. Hopefully the memories will sustain him in the weeks to come.

Moving Dirt

Today some holes were dug (for the deck) and some holes were filled (for the front yard). It may seem a little reminiscent of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Alphabet Soup Era where it was said one crew dug a hole and the next crew filled it, but at least something is done to the hole in the meantime with the current construction project. Today the holes were filled with cement to lay a foundation for the back deck. Meanwhile, the crevices in the front yard were filled with top soil for grass planting purposes. Green grass would be nice again.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Labour, Fortitude and Love in Action

There are some days in which the Apostle Paul's call to love in action seems only natural. And some days, perhaps like today, life in community demands much deeper understanding of active love. My favorite quote of all times convicts me much in these moments.

Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing, not at all like love in dreams. Love in dreams is greedy for action, rapidly performed in the sight of all. Men will even give their lives if only the ordeal does no last long but is soon over, with all looking on applauding as though on the stage. But active love is labour and fortitude, and for some people, too, perhaps a complete science. But I predict that just when you see with horror that inspite of all your efforts you are getting further from your goal instead of nearer to it - at that moment I predict that you will reach it and behold clearly the miraculous power of the Lord who has been all the time loving and mysteriously guiding you. - Fyodor Dostoevesy, The Brothers Karamazov

Mount Washington

Nate spent the weekend fulfilling one of his summer dreams - camping and hiking with good friends. The company consisted of two Princeton friends and the location was New Hampshire's Mount Washington. Nate said it was one of the most challenging hikes that he has ever undertaken.
I realized that in recent posts I have been quoting a lot of authors whom I have never met, and I figured that it was time to share a long-time beloved quote from two friends.

There are many things in life that may be postponed, but according to Emily Naglieri and her sister Natalie, the best advice is, "Don't postpone joy."

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Good Times, Sunshine, and Summertime

Mom was gifted with a beautiful day to celebrate her birthday. It was a classic 'Dutchess County Day' that was complete with lovely temperatures and a perfect blue sky. Isaac left for veterinary school today and thus a reflection of summertime is definitely in order. Faith Hill's classic country song was almost perfect to fit the feeling of the day, except that some slight changes had to be made to accomodate the working ethos of this summer.

Sunshine and Summertime, Bentley Edition

We’ve got apron-clad ladies
and girls picking daisies
People getting sweaty in the barnyard
We’ve got homemade granola
and fragrant gladiolas
and four square parties in the front yard

“Heyyyyy, that’s the way we do it”
New jobs and blue skies that never end.
“Heyyyyy, that’s the way we like it”
Good times, sunshine and summertime.

You’ll see straw sombreros
and flying barn sparrows
Stereo’s blasting in the construction plot.
You’ll see rock hard bodies
With no room for "gaudy"
and everybody’s got work goin’ on,
and showing what they got.

“Heyyyyy, that's the way we do it.”
New jobs and blue skies that never end.
“Heyyyyy that's the way we like it”
Good times, sunshine and summertime.

“Hey everybody, can't you feel the rhythm now?”
“Hey everybody, don't you want to work hard?”
“Hey everybody, can't you feel the rhythm now?”
“Hey everybody, don't you want to work hard?”

“Heyyyyy, that’s the way we do it”
New jobs and blue skies that never end.
“Heyyyyyy that’s the way we like it”
Good times, sunshine and summertime.

Good times, sunshine and summertime
Good times, sunshine and summertime

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Touring the City

Jake and Mariah had requested that their visit to the farm be accompanied by a trip to New York City. As unqualified for the position of New York City tourguide as I think that I am, I became the designated appointee for this trip. I am not sure that I gave a tour, but I can say that we successfully ate a good lunch (important!), took a ferry to Staten Island to show off Lady Liberty and Ellis Island, navigated the very hot subway system to see the Empire State Building, ran up 5th Avenue to St. Patrick's Cathedral and ran back down Park Avenue to make it on the train for the return trip home. A tour guide should do more than say, "Look, there is the Empire State Building." But the only detail that I thought I might venture about the objects of our viewing was the chemistry of oxidation of copper on the Statue of Liberty. I decided that was not of general interest. Another good indication that I was not created to be a NYC tour guide is demonstrated by the fact that instead of walking backward to face my tourists, I led the way while Caleb held onto my skirt (it was a little hot for holding hands).

While the sights were classic, the element of deepest interest for my tourists were the people. Particularly unique were the subway preachers that accompanied our subway cars for the ride and said really loud things like, "This train is n'ending, but there's another train a'coming."

The Deepest Stroke that Pierced Him

Of all of the hymns that remember the work of Christ's death, "Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted" has spoken most to me. The more that I encounter injustice in the world and find myself recognizing the cost of justice, the more I see that beyond the pain of the thorns, the beatings and the nails was the deep agony of the "stroke that justice gave." What a gift. Thank You for the cross.

Tell me, all who hear him groaning,
Was there ever grief like this?
Friends through fear his cause disowning,
Foes insulting his distress;
Many hands were raised to wound him,
None would intervene to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced him
Was the stroke that justice gave.

You who think of sin but lightly
Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the sacrifice appointed;
See who bears the awful load;
It’s the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
Son of Man and son of God.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Birthdays, Yankees & More Projects

All of the Angell eight are out of the single-age digits as we celebrated Caleb's tenth birthday yesterday. Tsheko, a recently converted baseball fan, took Caleb (and his new baseball glove), Jake and Isaac to Yankee Stadium for an amazing game in which the Yankees scored eight home runs and beat the White Sox by a score of 16:3.

Meanwhile, my friend Emily and I helped Mariah celebrate her sixteenth birthday with pizza and a manicure. Isaac, Nate, Hannah and Jake spearheaded the cement project of the day - placing the sidewalk. Rebecca and I worked on applying linseed oil to the shingles and Mariah treated us to freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies.