Friday, February 26, 2010

learning Spanish

I'm really not starting from scratch, and that's nice. But inside there is a growing sense of awe as my small efforts at studying another language reveal how much I don't know. I'm beginning to get that delicious feeling that you get when you enter a new library and gaze at the shelves, and realize that this is just the first room and there are stacks and stacks and stacks of books that you could read that you've never read before. That undiscovered-country, whole-new-world feel.  (Um, to totally mix my metaphors. Sorry.)

I'm slowly reading through "El Leon, La Bruja y El Ropero"*. I know it's a bit lame to read, as my first attempt to finish a novel in Spanish, a book that was actually written in English, but I figured if I chose something I was super-familiar with, my familiarity with the story would carry me over the gaps in my vocabulary, and it would actually be a very efficient way to learn new words. So far, so good.

I'm reading lots of Spanish picture books to the kids. And I've got a workbook on Spanish verb tenses, so that I can regain the knowledge I had when I passed the AP test back in high school.

But do you know what's really drawing me on? Stuff like this:

Yep. Spanish music. I've found about four songs that I really, really like, and I'm learning the lyrics. Listening to Spanish music is making me fall in love with the language. Listening to Shakira's older stuff reminds me (don't laugh!) of reading John Donne. Not because it's as deep as his stuff, but because both Shakira (in Spanish) and Donne (in English) had a masterful grasp of the strengths and weaknesses of their language - their media - and exploited those strengths. I can especially hear it when I listen to one of Shakira's songs in the original Spanish, and then listen to the English translation. The music's still good in English, but you miss the rhythm of the words.

So, eventually, I want to get to where I can appreciate Spanish literature, and to where I can readily understand Spanish conversation. But for now, I'm really grateful for Spanish music, because it's showing me how this language I'm trying to learn is supposed to sound (something I wouldn't get if I all I heard was my own halting reading of "Huevos verdes con jamón"**). And it's making me excited about learning it, and given the mountain of work that lies in front of me if I'm going to get anything like competent in this - well, I'll take all the motivation I can get. 

I have lots of the "this will be a useful skill" motivation, but the music makes it fun.

peace of Christ to you, 

Jessica Snell

p.s. I am not recommending all of Shakira's stuff, btw. I'm sure you can use your own good judgement there. But a lot of her older stuff is really good. And I apologize for the cheesiness of the embedded music video - it's one of the cleaner music videos I've ever seen, but I know that's not saying much! And if you're curious about why he's saying "Ave Maria", well, as I'm translating it, it sounds like he's taking advantage of the fact that he's in love with a girl named Maria, but someone who knows Spanish better than I do told me he's saying he'll say a Hail Mary when he wins his love's heart. Either way, I love the enthusiasm of this song; it so perfectly captures that newly-in-love, young, excited feeling.

p.p.s. Also, as I'm teaching my five-year-old to read English, I am more and more in awe of anyone who learns English as a second language. Spanish, in contrast, is remarkably easy to read. It's so consistent phonetically.  But English! I knew English was supposed to be a hard language to learn to read, but now that I'm actually teaching someone to read it, I'm beginning to understand that on a whole new level.  And I'm teaching someone to read in English whose first language is English! Gracious. I guess that's what happens when your language is the bastard child of Latin and German.  It's strong and interesting, but it sure doesn't have the simple elegance of a Romance language.

*"The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"

** "Green Eggs and Ham"

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Wow! there's a lot of good stuff in this links post. If I sound surprised, it's because I make these up a bit at a time, copying a link here and there throughout the week as I read things. So when I actually sit down to post it, I'm sometimes surprised at how long the post has gotten!  Anyway, here you go, stuff worth reading around the web this week:

Amy writes about "A Sabbath Sensibility".

Kerry writes a bit about family fasting, and includes yet more links to Lenten meal ideas and recipes.  While on the subject, Ranee also has a list of Lenten recipes with links.

People talk a lot about love being a verb, but Fred Sanders says we should look at the fact that love is also a noun. (It's worth reading this one for the short devotional exercise at the end alone.)

This article called "My Untranslatable Novel" makes me really want to read the author's book. I'm not sure my wee bit of French would carry me over though.

Emily's giving up her computer for Lent. And the reasoning behind her decision is worth reading.

This article about the biathlon is kind of awesome.  Here's an excerpt:

Furthermore, how great are penalty loops? If you've never seen biathlon, the way it works is that you stop periodically and shoot at a set of five targets, and if you miss one, you have to go over to a little track on the side and ski around in a circle. If you miss two targets, you have to go around twice. It's brutal and petty and wonderful. Imagine, if you will, that if you fell down in figure skating, you had to drop to the ice and do push-ups. We're talking about an Olympic sport where, in essence, when you mess up, you have to run laps. Obviously, the extra loops function as effectively a time penalty, but it's so much more colorful than anything most sports would ever even conceive of.

This animated poem is very cool. <-- Note the declarative sentence.  If you've noticed the plague of "y'know?"'s at the end of every other sentence you hear, you'll appreciate this.

A couple of good posts from Semicolon: on on "The End of the Alphabet, Wit and John Donne" and one called "Perelandra and Truth".

Monday, February 22, 2010

this is why I love Wil Wheaton

When I was a teenager, I loved him because he was a TEENAGER on the ENTERPRISE. (I mean, how cool is that?)
But now I like him because he is not only an excellent writer, but an excellent writer on the subject of writing (which might be harder - unless you're procrastinating, and then it's easier).
Link has some vulgarity (on the other hand, I didn't know you could draw that in type).
Anyway, the take-away of the article is great; go read it!
peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Saturday, February 20, 2010

and we, we should have lost it

Tonight,  in the midst of grieving some losses, and realizing that there are more to come, I remembered vaguely that there was a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins that talked about loss. And I went and reread it, and was so glad I did. It's ostensibly about the loss of physical beauty, but "age's evil", really, is death, and that's the deeper meaning, I think.  The poem, "The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo" starts with the question:
HOW to kéep—is there ány any, is there none such, nowhere known some, bow or brooch or braid or brace, láce, latch or catch or key to keep
Back beauty, keep it, beauty, beauty, beauty, … from vanishing away?

And the answer soon comes:

No there ’s none, there ’s none, O no there ’s none,
Nor can you long be, what you now are, called fair,
Do what you may do, what, do what you may,
And wisdom is early to despair:
Be beginning; since, no, nothing can be done
To keep at bay
Age and age’s evils . . .

 (Emphasis mine, here and throughout.)
It's hard for me to excerpt this poem, to skip over any of it, but soon comes the even further answer:
There ís one, yes I have one (Hush there!);
Only not within seeing of the sun . . .
Somewhere elsewhere there is ah well where! one,
Oné. Yes I can tell such a key, I do know such a place,
Where whatever’s prized and passes of us . . .
Never fleets móre . . .

And later yet:
. . . beauty-in-the-ghost, deliver it, early now, long before death
 Give beauty back, beauty, beauty, beauty, back to God, beauty’s self and beauty’s giver
See; not a hair is, not an eyelash, not the least lash lost . . .
O then, weary then why
When the thing we freely fórfeit is kept with fonder a care,
Fonder a care kept than we could have kept it, kept
Far with fonder a care
(and we, we should have lost it) finer, fonder
A care kept . . . 

That is it: "and we, we should have lost it."
Thank you, Lord, for your servant Gerard Manley Hopkins.
peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

more of Frederica on fasting

I found this short (about 2 min.) video of Frederica Mathewes-Green talking about fasting. There's a lot of good stuff in those short two minutes, and it's a good one to listen to before Ash Wednesday tomorrow.
Particularly good, I thought, was her observation that we join in the traditions of the church (such as fasting) as children: we might not understand why it's all good for us, but we can still participate.  My mom and I were talking this morning about how there are a lot of things that you don't really understand until you do them. Obedience leads to understanding.
And as the blessed George Herbert pointed out, "the Scriptures bid us fast; the Church says now".
God's blessings on you as you keep a holy Lent. And pray for me.
peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Monday, February 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: CSA Basket and the Start of Lent

In our CSA basket this last week, we got lots of fruit, plus:





-lettuce: greenleaf, iceberg & romaine






And we're making of it:

Saturday: miso soup with kohlrabi leaves & mushrooms

Sunday: chef salad (used kohlrabi bulb, lettuce, tomato and carrot)

Monday: turkey soup w/ basil rolls (from freezer stash)

Shrove Tuesday: pancakes w/ fixings and bacon 

Ash Wednesday: swiss chard and lentil soup (from this book), with yam fries

Thursday: taco salad (vegetarian, with beans)

I'm continuing to enjoy the challenge of menu planning with a CSA basket. It's fun to eat new things (kohlrabi was new to us this week), and I think we'll appreciate it especially during Lent.

For more Menu Plan Monday, visit OrgJunkie here.

peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

Finished Object! (crocheted dishcloth)

I had a dishcloth that looked like this. 

That's what happens when you work a lot. You get holy. Er, holey. Right? Right?

And then you get replaced with something new and perfect.

And thus the analogy breaks down.

peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

Sunday, February 14, 2010

You've got to go over to Smithical

Right here, and read #3 on her Quick Takes list. It's about why she loves Lent, and it's short, and I think it's the best thing I've read about Lent this year. It's exactly right.

peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Children, Lent and Fasting

Two Square Meals left a comment on my post about vegetarian recipes for Lent that I thought was worth addressing in a post. It boiled down to: what about the kids? How do you make sure they get enough protein if you do a vegetarian fast for Lent?
I don't know what everyone does, but here's why it works for us:
1) My kids all willingly eat eggs, cheese, milk and beans. If they didn't, I'd probably make sure they had meat during our Lenten meals. They're growing, and I'd make sure they had what they needed.
2) At least a night or two a week, we eat dinner at my folks' place or with my mother-in-law. They almost always fix meat, and we follow the rule that if someone offers it, you eat it, because you don't impose your fast on other people. So the kids get meat during Lent when they visit their grandparents.  :)
3) We don't fast at all on Sundays, because that's the day we celebrate the resurrection, even during Lent. So the kids eat meat then.
4) This should maybe be a sub-category of #1, but I think that a well-balanced vegetarian diet has plenty of protein for a growing child. Again, if you have kids who will eat the big veg. protein sources (eggs, dairy, legumes).
As you can see, with our exceptions (Sundays, other people's homes), the fast from meat isn't really that strenuous. So, it seems to me like it's a good way to introduce the idea of fasting to children, without worrying that it'll do them any harm. Kids (or "those who are attaining their growth" as they used to say) shouldn't do any true fasting. They shouldn't go hungry or be undernourished. If they're hungry for it, they probably need it. (Unless "it" is five bowls of ice cream a day.) But, at least the way we do it, I don't think going vegetarian for Lent is anything that will do them any harm. Frankly, I'm not even sure they'd notice unless we pointed it out. :)
peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

links (yes, again): pretty bags, pretty dishcloths, pretty awesome object lessons . . . and more!

I'm linking to this just because I think it's pretty.
StandFirm has had some great stuff recently, including Part II of Matt and Anne Kennedy's Leaving Home series and this post on the crazy stuff going down in South Carolina.
Amy has created a FAQ for homeschooling children with Down Syndrome and other special needs. It looks like a great place to start if you're thinking of doing that yourself, and it looks like a great one to pass on if you have a friend who's thinking of homeschooling a special needs child.
My friend Katie has created a super-cute Valentine's-y knit washcloth, and she has the pattern for sale in her Etsy shop.
I like this post from Fumbling Towards Grace. It includes paragraphs like this:
Stewardship, he went on, requires a sharp mind. There are constant forces trying to divert our attention from God and from building his kingdom. Faulty ideas about the human person, about our purpose in life, and also things like t.v. advertisements, promising peace, fulfillment and a trim waistline for 19.99. Having a “sharp mind” as he called it, is a requirement, so that we might be good stewards of the gifts and talents that God has given us.
as well as a great object lesson that includes beer. (How could that be bad?)
Here is a link to an index of a bunch of youtube videos on various math and science concepts.
This one I offer with a caveat: I have no idea if it works or not. But I read about it in Good Housekeeping (I think): it's a website where you can buy other people's unwanted gift cards at a discount (or sell your own). So if there's a store you're planning on shopping at anyway, it might be worth it to buy a gift card here at a discount to cover the trip.
I also can't vouch for this site, but I am planning on researching it more the next time we have a vacation: it's a site where you can find vacations houses for rent by owner. When you've got a family of six, it can be cheaper to rent a condo than to stay at a hotel when you travel. Also, it can be a nice option if you're traveling with a group. So, anyways, fyi, this exists. :)
peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So, should I keep homeschooling next year?

As we round the corner of this school year, Bess' kindergarten year, this question is looming in my mind: do I keep homeschooling next year? Right now, I’m very much inclined to say yes.


Though we’ve had our bumps, this has been a good year as far as Bess’ academics goes. She’s learning to read and powering through her math. She’s been introduced to Spanish and to science experiments. She’s had an outside P.E. class she loves and is learning a lot of Bible stories. She’s even memorized some poetry and is learning to draw.


So, academically, I am thrilled with homeschooling. And when I look ahead to the Well-Trained Mind plan for the first grade year, I get a little giddy. Honest and true, this is how children should be educated. I love, love, love the four year history-science cycle. I love the idea that we will be doing so much reading. I think that Gamgee will be interested in a lot of the reading too (all my kids love being read to), and even the twins might enjoy some of it, especially the life science stuff.


I don’t think the public schools are going to teach my kids as well. In the subjects they do offer, like math and reading, I don’t think their methods are as good. And then there’s the subjects they don’t offer! Spanish, music, religion . . . possibly also grammar. So, academically, I’m all in favor of homeschooling.


Where does it possibly fall down? Well, in socialization, of course. And I get the standard response: that everyone is socialized, and you just choose who your child is socialized by: a horde of children their own age, or their parents. I understand that. But I also understand that it’s important that children learn to deal with the world while they’re still children, while they have their parents’ support in helping them solve the problems they encounter outside of the home.  And I don’t want my kids to get out of the house without learning to how to handle the boring people, the creepy people, the neurotic people, etc. 


But . . . I’m not convinced that public schooling is the only way to learn that. One big way you learn those skills, frankly, isn’t at school, but at your first job. And I expect my kids to get a job in high school, at least. But is that too late?


Also, I expect they’ll do various lessons or sports – martial arts, or art lessons, or music lessons, or who knows what else. The idea would be not that we shield them from interaction outside their family circle, but that we let them do it in smaller doses when they’re little (sports, etc.) and larger and larger doses as they get older (a job, community college classes, etc.). I’m not sure that’s unworkable. I’ve seen a couple families do it really well.


What I like about homeschooling at least a little bit longer is that it gives us a few more years to give them a really solid grounding in our own beliefs and (good) family dynamics. Lets them solidify who they are before they’re dumped into the mix. 


And here’s the other thing . . . the mix they’d be dumped into is different than the one I was dumped into. When I went to K-3, it was in northern Canada. It was very conservative, and largely supported the moral structure my parents held to. (Not entirely. There was, for instance, the pervading attitude in my elementary school that girls weren’t as good as boys.) And the schedule was different. I got to come home for lunch every day. It wasn’t eight straight hours at six years old. I don’t think that first grade in Southern California is equivalent. I should ask my brother though. He went to K-3 down here, though that was, eh, almost twenty years ago. Times change. Used to be that the girlfriend/boyfriend stuff hit in sixth grade. I’m hearing as early as second now. No thanks.


So . . . I’m still leaning towards homeschooling next year, because I like the academic aspect so much. But I don’t want to underestimate the social aspect, because there’s no use in having a brilliant child who can’t deal with life.


But I also don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking “sink or swim!” Sometimes the answer is to get a really solid foundation before you attempt the hard task. You don’t just go run a marathon (unless you want the result the first marathon runner got). You start a training program and slowly build up your endurance, so that when race day comes, you’re ready, you’re capable. And if we homeschool the whole way (or even just a bit further), I think that’s the image I want to hold in my mind. I’m not homeschooling my kids to keep them home, I’m homeschooling them to let them go.

peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Links: Whiskey, Weight, Word and more

This is a recipe for something called a "hot skin". I don't know why it's called that, but it's made from lapsang souchong tea and whiskey, with a few other ingredients, and it is smoky goodness.
Why do you gain weight when you start a new workout? This is the most clearly I've ever seen it explained, and I think knowing this can save you a lot of discouragement when you start that new weights or yoga routine!
This made me laugh so hard. To my writer friends especially: check it out. It's an autocorrect hack for Word. "No! No! No!"  Ha!
Staying on the topic of books, I've learned a lot about publishing in the past year, but I did not know about signatures. Apparently, the possible page counts for your masterpiece were determined hundreds of years ago by none other than Johannes Gutenberg.
I've been thinking a lot about how I use my computer, and I appreciated reading Challies' thoughts about how he moderates his use of technology. (Here is the computer verse: "All things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial. All things are beneficial, but I will not be mastered by anything." Emphasis mine.)
Here's an easy and super-cute Valentine's Day craft for the kids.

Friday, February 5, 2010

a bit on fasting and gluttony

I think I mentioned on this blog that I'm looking forward to Lent this year because it's the first Lenten season in a long time that finds me neither pregnant nor nursing, so I can participate in the fasting.

I think I also mentioned that I couldn't figure out how to blog about fasting, given that we're not supposed to trumpet our fasting about. But then I thought: well, why am I excited? Honestly, just because I get to be part of this part of the life of the church again. So, I think that it makes sense for Christians to blog some about fasting. Not to toot their own horns, but just to remember, "hey, this is what we do", emphasis on the we. I wouldn't know anything about fasting if other people hadn't taught me what it is and means, or reminded me that there are times to do it and times not to. One of the biggest things I've learned (and this is so simple, but so important), is that we do it because Christ did it. (And we don't expect ourselves to do it as well as he did it.) In other words, writing about fasting isn't boasting if you write about it in the context of the life of the church. Because it's not "hey, look what I am doing", but it's "I'm reflecting on this thing that we are doing." So, I hope it's okay that I'm blogging about it. (And curious: what do you think? Is fasting a bloggable topic, or am I way off here?)

Anyway, I seemed to recall that it's traditional to fast more strictly on Wednesdays and Fridays. I could figure out the Fridays (in memory of the crucifixion), but couldn't figure out the Wednesdays. But, looking around a bit, I found this article by Frederica Mathewes-Green, and learned that it's because that was the day when Judas betrayed Jesus.

Then I got to reading the rest of the article. Wow, it's good. Good to think about not just going into Lent, but anytime.  And one of the things it talks about is how fasting is just something we're supposed to do pretty regularly, not as earning salvation, and not as earning special favor but just, basically, because it's good for us, like exercising or taking a bath is good for us. 

The other thing that article talks about is gluttony (the fasting part actually comes in as a discipline that can help to curb that vice). Here's a bit from the end:

The law of the jungle is "Eat or be eaten." Indulging in gluttony seems like a private vice, a "cute sin," a matter between only the tempted diner and the eclair. But undisciplined indulgence in the pleasure of food costs us more than we dream: coarsens and darkens our minds, ruins our powers of attention and self-control, of sobriety and vigilance. It hobbles and confuses us. It makes us prey for another Eater.

The one who bids us to His marriage supper will not devour us, in fact he promises to feed us. But there is more; he does not feed us only with the good things he has made, or even the goodness of supernatural food like manna. He feeds us his very self. It is this other bread we must learn to eat, not "bread alone" but the Word of God himself. At the Communion table this becomes, not just theory, but a true encounter—a feast that binds hungry sinners together, and links us to the One who alone can feed our souls.

Isn't that good? Mathewes-Green always is. (Read her!) Anyway, I'm a little intimidated, but over all, I'm looking forward to Lent.

peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I recently read a couple of great posts about Shakespeare, and so, wanting to hear a bit of the Bard myself, I put the soundtrack to this excellent performance of Twelfth Night on while I was doing the dishes. 

And, hands deep in the suds, I felt like thinking something deep about Shakespeare. But I couldn't think of anything deep. So instead, I just thought about why Twelfth Night is my favorite play of Shakespeare's. 

I don't think it's the best. (My vote on that - at least currently - is for Othello.) It's just my favorite.

And I'm still not sure why (Ben Kingsley's Feste doubtless has something to do with it), but I think part of it has to do with the cross-dressing part. Not because I think cross-dressing is a good idea. But because in the play, it's used as a device that allows the hero and heroine to fall into friendship before they fall into love. (Well, at least the hero falls into friendship first.)

And the more I think about it, the more I think that Twelfth Night is my favorite for a very biased reason: I fell into friendship before I fell into love (no cross-dressing involved). And I like reading a love story that reminds me of mine.

And my own love story? Probably not the best. But it's absolutely my favorite.

So, I'm curious, what's your favorite Shakespearian play? And which do you think is the best? And - here's the kicker - are they the same play? Or not?

peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

p.s. Anyone want to do a challenge to read the Complete Works of Shakespeare? (Not to be confused with the Cmplt Wrks of Shkspr, Abridged.) Like I need another challenge. But . . . maybe in 2011?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

true love and Truer Love

I have a few other blogs percolating, but here's a quick one for right now.
Someday, I want to get a nice print of this, and an equally-sized print of this, and hang them above my writing space. It's to remind me of what love looks like.
Here's the story: once upon a time, back in those halcyon pre-marriage days, when I was blissfully twirling around in the delicious winds of possibility, having yet to discover the more satisfying delight of actuality, I was in my college library, flipping through an electronic file of Bouguereau paintings.
And I saw this one. I admit, I stared at it for minutes on end. It was exactly everything I was dreaming of. (Remember, I was about 19.) I don't know if I was more enchanted by the enthralled feminine form (what I wanted to be!) or the smooth, perfect masculine body that held her (what I wanted to have!).  But that picture is pure, romantic bliss. It's aesthetic perfection and utterly captures the abandon that I was so carefully keeping myself from (and so hoping to someday lawfully experience).  I admit, upon seeing that picture, I was spellbound.  Especially by the perfection of Cupid's body, as Bourguereau painted it. I thought, that's what love looks like.
Really.  Those were the words going through my head. (Remember: young!)
But, eventually, I felt self-conscious staring at the picture for so long, and I flipped to the next one. And I saw this.
And, immediately, I knew I was wrong.  Oh, I thought. That's what love looks like.
I've never forgotten. And now especially, as I pursue a career writing romance, I don't want to forget what I've learned. So I want both paintings, hung up next to each other, like a diptych, to remind me of the lesson I learned.
There's love. And then there's Love. And the one only looks all-consuming when you look at it in isolation. Once you put them next to each other, there's no question which is greater. I don't want to forget.
peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell
p.s. I'd add that you also realize that the lesser love has to imitate the greater, or it won't survive.
p.p.s. Finally, and someday I might have to get this to hang over my diptych, I need to remember that love looks like this.  And like this.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you

I'm working on memorizing this passage in Deuteronomy, and thinking a lot about it as a description of normal Christian spiritual growth. (I am becoming very convicted about the end - the part about not bringing abominations into your house. What media am I allowing to have hold over my imagination? TV? books? internet? Hmm.)
The part that's really sticking out to me right now though is verse 22:
And the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.
It reminds me so much of that scary story Jesus tells in Matthew 12, about the demon who returns to the man he came out of, and finding his home unoccupied, reoccupies it, along with seven more spirits more wicked than itself.

The idea being - and I could be getting this wrong, I haven't studied this, and these are just my beginning thoughts on these verses - that as the Holy Spirit helps you clear out sinful habits in your life, He does it slowly, so that you have time to fill the space left by those sinful habits with virtuous habits.  If He just made you instantly sinless, if He - in the words of Deuteronomy - destroyed all the nations at once - you would be overwhelmed by the emptiness. The beasts of the field would be too numerous for you. Your house would be unoccupied, and who knows what would come to fill it?
Instead, He drives them out little by little, so you have time to grow into the empty space that is left.
But don't forget the end of that passage:
But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, and will inflict defeat upon them until they are destroyed.
And I like it even better in the King James, where it says he will destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.
I am fascinated by the juxtaposition of "I will do this slowly, so you are not overwhelmed" and "I will do this absolutely, because My holiness demands it." All at once He is aware of our limitations while being uncompromising about His nature. 

It gives me hope, as I look at my habitual sins, and even more, at my persistent immaturity (which is persistent because of my habitual sins), and am discouraged about how long it takes to get better at this, and dear Lord, will I ever get it right, ever be fit to see your face? to know that on the one hand, He is not unaware of my weakness and on the other, He will settle for nothing less than the absolute removal of all wicked ways from me.
When I am afraid my slow progress means I'm not making any progress, I'm encouraged to think that this is actually the way He wants it to be, because He knows that more would overwhelm me.
When I'm tempted to stop trying, because surely where I am is good enough, I am reminded that He is holy, and that I am not to allow any evil to have any hold over me.
I hope you're encouraged too, as you start another week, to turn your eyes upon Jesus, and to keep following. He won't let you fall, nor will He let you fall behind. Keep going.
peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell
p.s. Read Jeanne's post from last year on this passage here. She's the one who first got me thinking about this wonderful bit of scripture.