Thursday, December 26, 2013


Freedom had been hunted round the globe;
reason was considered as rebellion;
and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think.
But such is the irresistible nature of truth,
that all it asks, and all it wants,
is the liberty of appearing.

~ Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man, 1791

Friday, December 20, 2013

more completed reading

In an effort not to post anything about Phil Robertson or where Christmas really came from, I shall post about the last three books I've read.

Night by Elie Wiesel
This one was really sad. Eleazar Wiesel was just a boy when his family was crammed into a cattle car and shipped off to Auschwitz. Wiesel was a devout Jew, praying and studying for hours a day. Suddenly, in this Holocaust hellishness, he comes face to face with doubt. Doubt in the God he's always been praying to, doubt that he will be able to stay strong enough for his father, and doubt that he will ever make it out of this alive. He does, but not before watching his father die, along with his faith in God. This book, while beautifully written, really shows the awful hopelessness of someone who has not made Jesus his savior. When there is no solid foundation, the moment trouble comes, any "faith" cannot stand the test. 

Control: Exposing the Truth About Guns by Glenn Beck
If I read anything even slightly political, I usually get my brain tied into a knot within the first chapter. That's how confusing it is, or how uninformed I am. :P Glenn Beck is my new best friend for actually writing stuff that is understandable to an average 20-yr-old violin player. This book is not one to read in one sitting. He divides it into two parts, with the first taking up the majority of the book. Basically he lists many accusations or controversies on the whole gun control issue and then counters them with stats, quotes, and of course, his own opinions. All his sources are listed in the back for further research. Obviously, we like to read or listen to people we know we agree with already, and while I already shared most of the author's thoughts on gun control, I now had significant stats to back them up. Very, very good book.

Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government by Glenn Beck
I tell ya, I like this guy. Something about his sarcasm and satire just kind of lures me in every time.... This book was even better than the previous one. The presentation is awesome. Glossy, colorful pages full of hilarious comics, "A.D.D. Moments," and caricatures of *ahem* the man in the White House all make this highly educational book a super fun read. Each subject is a different chapter - "The Constitution," "Unions" (that one was awesome!), "Owning a House," etc. He follows a style similar to the Control book, taking assumptions or arguments and following them with statistics, quotes, and history. Thick book, but totally awesome. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Psalm 73

I like to think of myself as on a spiritual plateau, even though I know our spiritual life is a river: you're either paddling upstream or lazily floating down. It's like staring at a water bottle when you've just chugged one. It's not like you don't like water; you're just not thirsty. I feel like there are so many things I already know to work on that reading the Bible would just throw another 20 things on the pile that already feels impossible. I feel like the typical teenage "question everything" hit me kinda late, and now I want to know just why I do what I do, why I think what I think, why my first answers are my first answers. I've read my Bible through 5 or 6 times now, I think. And yet, when I read Psalm 73 for the first time in a while a month ago or so, it felt like the first time reading it EVER. It's like Asaph (or whoever wrote that one in particular) crawled into my heart and did a sketch of what he found. I don't need proof that the Bible is a living book. It's intensely personal and definitely not out-dated! Here is Psalm 73 in its King James glory. It's ugly, it's exposed, it's truthful, it's victorious, it's hopeful. Someone poured out his heart thousands of years ago and this morning I'm logging in to a computer, and copy-pasting to my blog. It's still alive, and so is the God Asaph prayed to.

     Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. 
     Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
       Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 
     Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image. 
     Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. 
     Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

my favorite things...from Trader Joe's

Brought to you tonight by a cold and slightly bored 20-year-old who recently started loving this hippie, left-winger store. Let's face it. They have a huge organic selection and pretty good prices, and all that fun chalk art and lettering? Totally cool. 

So here we go. My favorite things to get from Trader Joe's:

1. Organic Mini Cheese Crackers
2. Organic Fruit Leathers
3. Organic Vanana Yogurt
4. Mandarin Orange Chicken
5. Chicken Fried Rice
6. Organic Super Sweet Corn

Do you shop at Trader Joe's? Do you find it worth it moneywise? What are your favorite things to get there?