Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Paulo Coelho

"At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That's the world's greatest lie."

from The Alchemist

Saturday, August 29, 2009

George MacDonald

"No man is condemned for anything he has done: he is condemned for continuing to do wrong. He is condemned for not coming out of the darkness, for not coming to the light."

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Children's Bible in 365 Stories, Mary Batchelor



5 stars
I loved this Children's Bible. I read it to my boys this past year and found it engaging and well-written. It reads like a really good story and it makes an excellent daily devotional. The illustrations by John Haysom provide great images to support the text. We will read this again for sure. Of all the Children's Bibles I have seen out there this one is at the top of the list.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Figs & Toasted Almonds Brie

So, I was walking through the grocery store on Monday and I realized I often buy the same old thing when I decided I would begin a new resolution - at least one new food or recipe a week. As a way to keep me somewhat accountable I figured I would post the outcome and invite others into the variety...

This week it happened to come through the delightful fresh figs I saw on display at Whole Foods and I must say they were even more delightful to eat...



INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
6 fresh figs, stemmed and quartered
1 (14 ounce) round 4 1/4-inch diameter round Brie cheese
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 C).

2. Heat brown sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Add figs and vanilla, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in almonds. Place brie wheel in a baking dish, and pour fig mixture over the top.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until softened but not melted. Serve with water crackers.

COMMENTS
I doubled the mixture for an even more dessert-like recipe. It turned out really well but I found that 12 minutes in the oven was a bit long as the brie became too runny. This dish would work well as an appetizer or dessert.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Haiku XXIX

An observation—
The haiku (a rising sun)
thaws the mind’s winter.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Haiku XXVIII

A doctrine of life—
character: integrity;
an oak is an oak.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Haiku XXVI

In the lake, a frog
ripples its presence to shore.
One’s integrity.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Haiku XXV

On the dock at night,
streaking light comes into sight—
silent and yet loud.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Haiku XXIV

A bee, hovering,
this connoisseur of nectar—
Anticipation.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Haiku XXIII

The lake stirred by wind,
glitters with sun lit jewels—
God’s royal garment.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Haiku XXII

Songbirds harmonize
with the trees and morning sky—
Wonder’s tuning fork.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

George MacDonald

"What notion should we have of the unchanging and unchangeable, without the solidity of matter?...How should we imagine what we may of God without the firmament over our heads, a visible sphere, yet a formless infinitude? What idea could we have of God without the sky?"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Book of Common Prayer

"We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Oscar Wilde

"This morning I took out a comma and this afternoon I put it back again."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Haiku XXI

Eyelids close—darkness…
but for scent, sound, taste, and touch.
As night has moonlight.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Imagination is not a talent of some men but is the health of every man."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blaise Pascal

"I ask you neither for health nor for sickness, for life nor for death; but that you may dispose of my health and my sickness, my life and my death, for your glory ... You alone know what is expedient for me; you are the sovereign master, do with me according to your will. Give to me, or take away from me, only conform my will to yours. I know but one thing, Lord, that it is good to follow you, and bad to offend you. Apart from that, I know not what is good or bad in anything. I know not which is most profitable to me, health or sickness, wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world. That discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is hidden among the secrets of your providence, which I adore, but do not seek to fathom."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Grendel, John Gardner



4 stars
Gardner takes one of the greatest poetic myths (Beowulf) and offers a modern retelling through the first person account of the antagonist, Grendel the dragon. On one level the novel is an exploration of good and evil and I came away with a reminder how vile and dissenting evil can be. Grendel is wicked and yet as Gardner constructs the inner workings of the beast and lets us into his mind, the reader is able to see the complexity of our own nature and what does or does not drive us.

Knowing the epic poem Beowulf will be an added benefit to this read and is highly recommended. Besides, literature that has hung around for 1000 years has stood the test of time. I thoroughly enjoyed this translation.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Larry King

"I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Haiku XX

Boys, on playground swings—
Their weightless thoughts act as wings.
Fledglings taking flight.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Haiku XIX

Upon the lake, geese—
Forward moving symmetry.
Nature’s liturgy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, Michael Pollan



4.5 stars

"You have just dined and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity." ~ Emerson

If the old adage is true, that we are what we eat, this is a very harrowing read. This is an important book; a thoughtful and engaging exploration of what and how we eat. I suppose there should be a surgeon general's warning on the cover - consumption of this book could lead to heartburn and indigestion and will certainly heighten responsibility.

It is a dangerous thing to ask certain questions. It is even more dangerous to seek answers to those questions—for they make one responsible with regard to what is found. And for those who read about the questions being asked and the discoveries made, they too become responsible. Pollen explores in great detail many of the factors contributing to our dilemma such as: the monocultures that now reign king over bio-diversity, the corn that feeds animals who have no right eating it, the chemicals to correct what we have caused; thereby bypassing nature’s way, the philosophies that are led by wallets and not by what is good…

Having engaged Pollan’s book over the last couple of weeks I wonder, “Now what? What is one suppose to make of his globetrotting and fact-finding?" For starters, I ate a Caesar chicken salad for lunch today and thought about the corn-fed chicken I was eating. Unfortunately this took place at Costco of all places! How does one live in suburbia knowing what I now know? With his ethnographic style, Pollan has invited me into the complexity of food and thus into the very center of the omnivore’s dilemma. And this dilemma extends well beyond food, for this dilemma of choice and what to consume, and how, is at the core of our human identity. After reading his explorations I am not sure how much I like who I see when I look in the mirror. To state it simply, we are comfortable in our ignorance and I don’t think it is putting it to strongly to suggest that it is killing us—or at least killing a whole lot of animals and destroying a whole lot of land; which in turn has a direct effect on us. One might say we have attempted to re-create the created order of things and that is always a dangerous alchemy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Haiku XVIII

The menial task
of laundry folds around me.
The creased moon above.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Walter Brueggemann

"Justice is the discernment of what belongs to whom, and returning it to them."

from Finally Comes The Poet

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thomas Merton

"It seems that we all have to face one sad thing after another. But let us not forget the hope our faith gives us. God is our strength and no amount of trouble should make us fail to realize it. On the contrary, trouble should help us deepen and confirm our trust. This is an old story, but as far as I am concerned, it is the one we always get back to. There is no other."

from a letter to Tommie O'Callaghan upon the death of his mother - June 28, 1968

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bilbo Baggins

"Don't adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story."

from The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien