This Wonderful Thing


By Madeleine L'Engle

I've had moments of truth breaking in on me. I don't think that artists have difficulty with the concept of the Holy Spirit because we know that often our best work is not ours. But it's often difficult for us as intellectuals to understand the second person of the Trinity, Jesus. It's hard to understand that the power that made the galaxies came to this earth as a tiny baby.

For many people, our faith swells and diminishes, swells and diminishes. It's not a straight line. But when it's most needed it's there.

I agree with H.A. Williams who says that faith is the acceptance of doubt rather than the repression of it; that what we believe is so incredible that there are moments when it's beyond our capacity to use our imagination to believe this wonderful thing.
(painting by Yueh Mei Cheng)

"I had hoped that they had evolved beyond this."


- Columbia University economics professor Ray Fishman, on the results of his speed-dating study, which found that men avoided women who they believed were smarter or more ambitious than themselves.

Viva La


"If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution."

- Emma Goldman (1869-1940)

Maryann of Arabia

I bought some camel wool mittens this last weekend at St. Mark's holiday bazaar. I loved the smell of them because they reminded me of riding a camel in Tibet. I asked my trivia friends to smell the mittens and guess what animal wool it was. The consensus: "sheep ass."

The ride was a dream come true for me, as I had always wanted to ride a camel, especially after seeing Lawrence of Arabia:

I also saw a very touching film called The Story of the Weeping Camel, which was a National Geographic production in Mongolia. After you watch it it's hard not to think that camels are some of the coolest animals ever to roam the planet.

So, come away with me to memory island...

Artist Betty LaDuke


the source of our life


"My soul pants, yea, thirsts after the living God." Not after a Creed regarding God, not after an idea of God, not after a remembrance of God, not after a Divine Majesty, that, far removed from the soul, stands over against God in words or in phrases, but after God Him[Her]self, after God in His[Her] holy outpouring of strength and grace, after God who is alive, holy exhibition of love reveals Him[Her]self to you and in your as the living God. You feel that all learning falls away, all dogma, all formulas, everything that exhausts itself in words...It is not your idea, not your understanding, not your thinking, not your reasoning, not even your profession of faith, that here can quench the thirst. The home-sickness goes out after God Him[Her]self...It is not the Name of God but God Him[Her]self whom your soul desires and can not do without.

- Abraham Kuyper, To Be Near unto God.

Songs for Swingin' Young Lovers


And old and in-between lovers! iTunes is either really nice or really stupid. Tonight I watched the first season SNL episode with host Madeline Kahn, and she sang this hauntingly beautiful song called "Lost in the Stars" (which, incidentally, is my new favorite song about God) so I looked it up on iTunes. Frank Sinatra sings it, so I clicked on the album it's from. This

is what came up. "Eh," I thought foolishly, "this seems like any early Frank album from Columbia, back when he was king of the bobby-soxers and still making musicals." As most albums on iTunes, this one was listed as $9.99. But then when I went to search for my desired song, I realized something.

This $9.99 album has 97 songs on it. 97 songs. And not crappy throw away songs, either. But "Over the Rainbow", "Stormy Weather", "White Christmas", "Someone to Watch Over Me", "One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)", "Night and Day", "That Old Black Magic" and more.

I know, I know, I sound like an infomercial. But this man is the voice. Some would say they prefer Frank's later years, and true, that musical styling is great. But if you are more into classics and less into lounge music Vegas style, that's all you'll get here. I personally love to have Frank on in the background when I am cleaning or spending time alone or better yet--cooking. He's also great to play at dinner parties.

Usually I would just order the set from the library (which maybe is what you will do), but when I can get good music at a great price--I like to buy it. And I couldn't pass this up! It's a part of American history, and certainly my history of loving classic American songbook ballads, as sung by one of the best male voices ever.

So I just wanted to make sure that any of you out there who might appreciate a collection like this wouldn't miss the opportunity iTunes has decided to give us. 'Ol Blue Eyes is back!

Embarassing Celebrity-osbsession story from Maryann's past #846:

The year Frank Sinatra died (1998) I bought a 365 Days of Frank Sinatra calendar. And still have it in our hall closet in Oregon.

Dark Side of Narnia


I've always enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia (not the newer film, however), but Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials series (The Golden Compass) raises an interesting point in an interview with Atlantic:

"Pullman gets annoyed whenever he recalls a passage in C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia: In the final book of the series, Lewis excludes Susan Pevensie, the oldest sister, from what is essentially paradise because she is "interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations." Pullman, in an essay called "The Dark Side of Narnia," cites this as evidence that Lewis disliked women and sexuality and was "frightened and appalled at the notion of wanting to grow up."

Clearly Lewis liked females--Lucy is his main character in the Narnia books. I wouldn't ever classify him as a misogynist. But I was always saddened by his denial of Susan to paradise based on her liking lipstick and stockings and a social life. Thoughts?