Sunday, February 27, 2011

Quotation of the Week: Doing the Impossible

I would like to apologize to you all. I have been buried under all types of deadlines, teaching and grading for classes both online and in-real-life, plus a lot of prep for a new online class I hope to teach this summer. It's been crazy. And I've been absolutely, totally, completely exhausted.

So with my birthday occurring this week, I felt drawn to a quote by one of my favorite saints. I hope you find in it the inspiration I pray to have in my own life, step by step:

"Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
--Saint Francis of Assisi

So I pray that we all can do what seems impossible, in the power and grace of our Lord Christ, this day and always.

Seeking to glorify Him,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Book of Common Prayer 2011

Printer's Review Copy of BCP 2011

I started working with Father Keith Acker of Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity, a Reformed Episcopal Church, in June on editing his edition of the Book of Common Prayer, along with his wife, Alice. Under the headship of Bishop Richard Boyce, Father Acker has revised and rewritten the traditional Book of Common Prayer. It's simply lovely! I feel so privileged to be asked to work on this project.

Using the English Standard Version for Scripture verses and the Psalter, this prayer book includes Morning and Evening Prayer, Compline, Family Prayers, a Lectionary, the Propers, the Psalter, Healing Services, plus Marriage, Baptism, and Ordination services, as well as Christian Education (catechism), and much more. It's all revised in modern language while retaining distinctly Anglican doctrine and historic tradition.

This Book of Common Prayer 2011 is a trial version for the Reformed Episcopal Church and is available for liturgical review by the Anglican Church of North America.

Printer's Review Copy of BCP 2011

On Monday a printer's review copy arrived, and I stopped by the Ackers' home to take a peek. I think the most common word out of my mouth was "Wow!" (I know, so erudite!) I couldn't believe that I was holding a printed copy of our efforts!

Father contacted the printer with a few changes, and we're hoping to receive the printed order in mid-March. I'll post the website as soon as it's up and functioning. I can't wait to tell many of my friends about the availability of the new Book of Common Prayer 2011 and pray for its wide adoption within the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of North America.

Having a hard time waiting for the boxes to arrive,

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Quotation

As I thought about a quotation to post for this week, I ran across a rather long one in my journal, copied from a Saint-of-the-Day e-mail from American Catholic written by an early Christian saint. I chose it because I appreciated the perspective of prayer expressed here:

"God accepts our desires as though they were a great value. He longs ardently for us to desire and love him. He accepts our petitions for benefits as though we were doing him a favor. His joy in giving is greater than ours in receiving. So let us not be apathetic on our asking, nor set too narrow bounds to our requests; nor ask for frivolous things unworthy of God's greatness."
--Saint Gregory of Nazianzen (329-390)

I wish you all a holy Lord's Day and a blessed and wonderful week ahead!

Prayerfully yours,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blogging about Books and Writing

I've been swamped lately and haven't had much time for reading, much less posting, at the women's writing community She Writes. But it is a wonderful place to write about writing. I'm part of several groups there, including an excellent blogging group called Blogging About Books and Writing. This post today is part of a blog hop so that we can meet one another and make some wonderful e-friends. I'm all for that. :)

My blog here is about a lot of stuff, but books and writing definitely comprises close to half of my postings. Being a writing teacher, formerly at the university level, and now online at Brave Writer and also at our home school co-op where I teach high school students, I do write a lot about writing. :) I've also been writing a little fiction lately, although most of my writing is poetry and nonfiction.

If anyone would like a peek at some of my poems, there's a page of Selected Poems here that you may wish to visit. I also list my favorite books about the craft of writing at Best Writing Books above, although I'm sure that most of my favorites are not new to most of you.

We were asked by Meg to post a tidbit about blogging about books and writing. Mine is simple, and perhaps too simple: blog about what you love. Your passion will shine through, and readers will feel a true connection with you and will want to continue reading what you write. It's the same advice I give my writing students, and I think it's a simple little thing that we grown-ups too often forget as we try to budge our way into a certain niche in the blogosphere.

Anyway, please consider this little post a warm welcome to my (new) friends from She Writes as we meet and greet each other today.

Welcome, welcome, welcome!!

In writerly friendship,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The King's Speech

Every Saint Valentine's Day, my parents volunteer to watch our kids for us while giving their own "kids" a date night. They love decorating the dining room just so, ordering in pizza, and making hot fudge sundaes for dessert, and the kids pull out the craft supplies to make Valentines for the whole family. Even our college-aged daughter made Valentines for us this year; unfortunately, my brothers' two kids couldn't join them.

After an early dinner at Outback, Keith took me to see The King's Speech, and it was indeed one of the best films I have ever, ever seen.

If you would like to read a complete review, this one is quite thorough: Beliefnet Review: The King's Speech

I've been a longtime Colin Firth fan, all the way back to his Mr. Darcy days in Pride and Prejudice, plus his more modern turns as Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones' Diary (and its unspeakably awful sequel). We adored him in What a Girl Wants (including that classic dance in tight leather pants), worshiped afar in Girl with a Pearl Earring, laughed merrily in The Importance of Being Earnest (and very much liked his foray into singing), enjoyed the hijinks in Nanny McPhee, and sang and danced with him in Mamma Mia!. For me, it's his expressive eyes and the timbre of his voice--both remind me of my husband (although my dear one lacks the British accent). I haven't seen A Single Man yet--it looks a little raw for me.

Colin Firth was spectacular in The King's Speech--his eyes are so expressive of pain and suffering while his face remains royally stoic. He is simply amazing as King George VI, father of the current Queen. And he most definitely deserves the Academy Award for Best Actor for his work. It is deep, stunning, heart-wrenching, funny at times, and wonderfully triumphant--everything one would want in a film.

And the supporting cast was incomparable. Geoffrey Rush of course is stellar in his humor, his pathos and his blessed ordinariness; Helena Bonham Carter is beautiful, elegant, strong, and poignant. But the rest of the supporting cast shines just as brightly: Michael Gambon (Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films) as King George V and Timothy Spall (Peter Pettigrew/Wormtail in HP) as Churchill were extraordinary. Then Anthony Andrews (who played the title role of The Scarlet Pimpernel with Jane Seymour) as a prime minister, Derek Jacobi (whom I remember best for his role in Kenneth Branagh's film noir Dead Again) as the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Jennifer Ehle (Elizabeth Bennet in Firth's version of Pride and Prejudice as the speech therapist's wife were superb. One of the funniest lines was when Jennifer Ehle's character is introduced to Colin Firth's with something like, "I don't believe you two have met." :)

There definitely is a good deal of bad language in this film (the reason for its "R" rating), but it's almost funny as foul words are used as speech therapy. Our own family has seen this phenomenon in action when my great-uncle couldn't speak after his stroke, but could he ever curse a blue streak! One can't help but be moved by this film, and as the darkness of Hitler's power began to overshadow Europe, England stood bravely for right, truth, and honor, and England's voice of reason and bravado during this troubled time became King George VI, helped through every speech by Lionel.

I definitely needed my handkerchief which ended up very mascara-stained by the end of the evening. The screenplay has been decades in the making (and also deserves an Academy Award), the producers waiting until the death of the Queen Mother to proceed with the film, by her request. It's a truly wonderful film, and I sincerely hope it wins many awards at the Oscars later this month. The King's Speech certainly deserves them.

Cinematically yours,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Quotations for the Week: On Poetry

(Poetry Word Cloud from

I have spent much of today (when not in church) preparing for the second week of the Playing with Poetry Workshop at Brave Writer. This week we're tackling Visual Poetry--concrete poems, shape poems, acrostic poems, cinquain poems, and diamante poems. It's going to be a full and fun week!

So as I revised my lessons and posted them for the class, a few quotations about poetry were running through my brain, and I thought I'd share one or two with you today.

"Science is for those who learn; poetry, for those who know."
--Joseph Roux, Meditations of a Parish Priest

and, this one, which I quote in the signature of my teaching e-mails:

"Poetry is life distilled."
--Gwendolyn Brooks

So enjoy a taste of poetry today. If you don't already, I highly recommend subscribing to the Poem-a-Day e-mails from the Academy of American Poets. Weekdays usually send you some brand-new poems so that one can be on the cutting edge of what is fresh and new in the world of poetry, and weekend e-mails usually rely on the classics; today I received a poem by Robert Browning in my inbox.

And that's a wonderful way to begin my day!

Listening to that still, small poetic voice,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Playing with Poetry

This week I started teaching the Playing with Poetry Workshop at Brave Writer. I've still been so swamped with catching up with everything that slid so abysmally while I helped to complete the prayer book that I still haven't quite come up for air yet.

I think I need a vacation. Perhaps some time in March, my month "off" between Brave Writer classes. Of course, I need to be writing the April class on Macbeth during that time and be revising my family Shakespeare workshop I'm teaching in May, plus be working on my MLA Research Essay book I hope Julie will want to sell on the Brave Writer site.

Anyway, I'm reworking the poetry workshop to make it even more kid-friendly, moving free verse up to Week One and making the Song Lyric assignment an option for older students. It's a fun class to write and teach--the kids are sooooo creative and the moms love watching their kids be creative. So it's a win/win all around. I love teaching the writing of poetry even more than poetry explication, but that's a whole 'nother class that we may do at Brave Writer in the future.

So in case you've been wondering if I've dropped off the face of the earth, I've been working on the poetry workshop, plus I've been dealing with some family issues that are highly stressful. I'll write about them later because I can't write much about either of them without breaking down in floods o' tears, and I don't have time for that now.

Perhaps in March....

But now I need to get our middle son to his piano lesson while I tutor the piano teacher's daughter in writing, a very nice bartering situation in general, but tonight I also have to grade a stack of essays for my co-op Class Day courses tomorrow plus prepare handouts and tabulate semester grades for my classes, not to mention my own three homeschooled boys. Semester grades are due on February 14. Sigh.... 

No wonder my head is spinning so frequently lately. I thought it was just because I haven't had time to see my chiropractor for two weeks....

Fleetingly yours as I rush out the door,

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday Evening Blog Post: Volume 3, Issue 1

Although for the past month I have been almost totally consumed by the prayer book project, I do want to chime in and add a post to Elizabeth Esther's Saturday Evening Blog Post.

So I've combed through my posts for January and have selected this post as my favorite for the month. I hope that you'll like it, too:

It's Done!

Yes, completing the 2011 Book of Common Prayer project was indeed the highlight of January for me. I can't wait to hold a copy in my own hot little hands!

Then as I read more on this month's Saturday Evening Blog Post, I realized that Elizabeth asked us to post our favorite post from December as well, so here's a poem I wrote early in the month, one that received some very nice comments from my friends at The High Calling:

A Noel Ghost

So I wish you all a wonderful Saturday, and I can't wait to see what everyone else has posted over at Elizabeth Esther!

A blessed and restful weekend to you all,


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