Saturday, February 28, 2009


Whoaa! There goes Rebecca face first!
Caleb and Rebecca racing down the slopes!
Caleb getting connected for a big ride down with his Stockade Batallion!
There they all go! Thirteen tubes connected at once!
And here I am...I had a bit of work to do this weekend. The ski lodge was a warm place to do it!

Heaven's Music

Heaven's music is simply too much for mortals. Like the pitch that shatters glass, human beings simply cannot handle the infinitely transcendent melody of the Song that has been sung throughout eternity among the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Heaven's song needs to be transposed into a key that we mortals can actually hear and respond to. The divine Song needs to be translated into a poetic language that human beings can understand and embrace. Thanks be to God, it has been, and in a "way worthy of the greatest works of human genius," as Pope John Paul II has put it. In fact, the Bible claims it as the greatest song ever written, the song of all songs - the boldly erotic Song of Songs...As saints throughout history attest, this erotic song provides the "mystical key" that opens the "holy door" to deep union and intimacy with God. For, as Scripture teaches, the one-flesh union is a "great mystery" that refers to Christ and his union with the Church (Eph 5:31-32). This doesn't mean we all need an earthly spouse in order to enter into mystical union with God. But it does mean that, for all of us, a pathway to a deep intimacy with God opens up as we come to understand "sexual love as it was meant to be."

- Christopher West in his new book, Heaven's Song: Sexual Love as it was Meant to Be

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Let No One Leave You Without Leaving Happier or Better

"Spread love everywhere you go: First of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to your next door neighbor. Let no one come to you without leaving better or happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, and kindness in your warm greeting."

- Mother Theresa, Love: A Fruit Always in Season

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rich in Things and Poor in Soul

Cure Thy children's warring madness
Bend our pride to Thy control

Shame our wanton selfish gladness
Rich in things and poor in soul

Grant us wisdom, grant us courage
Lest we miss Thy kingdom's goal
Lest we miss Thy kingdom's goal

- Kate Campbell, God of Grace and God of Glory

Friday, February 20, 2009

Knitting Dish Cloths

Is there such thing as a "knitting bee"? If so, we had one tonight!
Allie, a masterful teacher, taught Mom and a bunch of us girls to knit dish towels this evening. Mom won the award for best knitter-learner!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Valentine's Day Surprise

Isaac surprised Allie by returning home from vet school and appearing at her front door early Saturday morning with roses and chocolates! Allie was truly surprised and they were both so happy! They spent the day with Allie's extended family and ended the festivities with a special dinner at The Beekman Arms, the oldest inn in America. Isaac had been plotting this surprise for a while and had been counting down the days until he could leave vet school to be with his favorite person in the whole world!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Work as a Sacrament

We spend a huge percentage of our lives working; even if we are not formally employed, we must undertake tasks within the course of a day that threaten to appear insignificant, mundane and tedious. But what if these very daily tasks were our transport to life in the presence of God? What if our work was a sacrament, or as Augustine said, an visible sign of an invisible reality? What if our work was just as much an act of worship to God as our songs of praise on Sunday morning? What if our work was not only our song of praise and worship to God, but also our mission - the place where we lived and hoped and prayed that our service would allow others to encounter God Himself?

These questions have been in my mind recently and I found the following journal entry in Quaker Religious Thought #109, to be relevant and helpful as I considered the challenge of the questions above. - Sarah

God's presence fills our work environments, whether we sense God or not. When we vacuum the house, deliver a lecture, conduct a music lesson, or close a deal, God is always present. Once this theological truth is established in our thoughts, we can begin to view ourselves bringing a sense of God's presence into our workplaces. Of course, we know we do not magically bring it with us. However, we do accept that God works in and through us where we are, and God's presence in us can strengthen the sense of God's presence in our environments. We pray for God's Spirit to fill us, direct us, and minister through and around us as we work.

Moving more specifically into a conscious sacramental mode, we can encounter God in our work relationships. All work involves relationships at some level. Viewing other people as means to our ends, serving our goals, devalues them. It reflects our own self-centeredness and robs us of the sacramental experience. A sacramental view of life looks for God in others. One of the powerful truths of Scripture is that Jesus is revealed in those we have opportunities to serve....When we value people as God does, when we see every person as an opportunity to serve, we create the space to encounter God, and we become the substance of the sacramental experience.

There may be no better context to encounter God than in our daily working routines and relationships. It is God's way to infuse the ordinary with dynamism: a bush with fire, dust with breath, silence with voice. These become holy not by their nature but by the super-natural revelation of the Creator through the creation. Work might be considered the least obvious place to encounter God, yet how much more evident is God's supernatural power when revealed in the most natural of human environments? Is not the incarnation reflected most clearly in the ordinary?

- Kent Walkemeyer, Work as Sacrament: The Quaker Bridge

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Schwangunks in February

I am pleased to report that spring is coming to the Schwangunks as well as to Bentley Farm! Yes, the wooded areas have snow, but keep clicking and you will see tell-tale signs of spring!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

To Love God

A person first loves himself because he is carnal and sensitive to nothing but himself. Then, when he sees he cannot exist by himself, he begins to seek God by faith. . . .So in the second degree of love, man loves God for his own sake and not for God's own sake. . . .When man tastes how sweet God is, he passes to the third degree of love in which he loves God not because of his own needs, but because of God.

- St. Bernard of Clairvaux, On Loving God

To Love Someone

To love someone means to see him as God intended him.

- Fyodor Dostoevsky

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mud is Back!

Groundhog Day has long passed and Punxsutawney Phil saw his own shadow which means that winter should linger for another month from today. But, if the signs on Bentley Farm mean anything, spring is coming soon! My window is open this holiday morning as I catch up on correspondence and clean and organize some long neglected piles, and I can't help but notice that the breeze through the window smells like spring! The sun is shining, the grass that has been buried under snow for the last five weeks is visible again, mud has replaced the icy skating rink that was our driveway, birds are chirping, and, so yes, in the middle of February, I am very happy to report from Bentley Farm, "Spring is coming!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It is Good to Wait Quietly for the Salvation of the Lord

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.

Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;

it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.

It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.

Let him sit alone in silence,
for the LORD has laid it on him.

Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.

For men are not cast off
by the Lord forever.

Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.

For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to the children of men.

Selected verses from Lamentations 3:19-33

"Children are a Kind of Wealth"

The New York Times published on article on big families on February 6, containing the quote in this blog title. It's a bit of a switch in perspective from Washington economics - you may just have to change your definition of wealth (which may be a healthy thing!).

Monday, February 09, 2009

Happiness Is...

One thousand notes, one thousand letters, one thousand smiles!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Library Days

My work load has been pretty hefty recently, so I decided that doing work with someone else who has to do work is far better than doing it by yourself! Studying in Ithaca this weekend has made me realize that I miss library study! Libaries promote a rare feeling of accomplishment and restfulness.

Friday, February 06, 2009

No Pit so Deep

"There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still."

- Betsie ten Boom to Corrie ten Boom, before Betsie's death at the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany, according to The Hiding Place

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Sledding at Burger Hill with the Blues

Each Decision has a Human Face

When we are faced with decisions - be they personal, political, relational or familial - may we never forget that decisions have faces. Decisions are so easy to make in the abstract, as if their effects are equally abstracted. But how far from true!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Jacob's Trip to Canada Lake

Jacob spent the weekend at Canada Lake in the Adirondacks with his all-male Batallion unit. They snow-shoed, snowmobiled and went ice-fishing. Why don't girls do this?

X-Country Skiing at Fahnestock

The weather couldn't have been better or the company more superb! Hannah and I enjoyed this sunny winter day at Fahnestock State Park cross country skiing. We loved it even though we both have some bruises to remember the day. (Pictures above: Drinking from the Camelback and skiing on both the lake and campground trails.)

It's Not Every Day...

...that we get to celebrate a twenty-first birthday with a star of the Princeton soccer team! (Our cousin, Benjamin, joined us this weekend for cake and card games.)