Monday, March 28, 2016

Bright Week Blog Break

Hi dear ones -

I loved finding and reading and posting poems all last week. Thanks so much for going on that journey with me!

I'm taking Bright Week off of blogging, but I'll be back here next week.

I hope you all had and have a wonderful celebration of the Lord's resurrection!

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Sunday, March 27, 2016

A poem for Easter Sunday

I'm posting a poem and a picture for each day of Holy Week this year. 

Today's poem always starts sneakily singing through my head as soon as Holy Week begins, getting stronger and stronger as we go through the Triduum. And today? It's shouting.  Here it is, our song of joy, the joy of the redeemed, the rescued, the ransomed. 

from "Easter"
by George Herbert

I got me flowers to straw thy way:
I got me boughs off many a tree:
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st thy sweets along with thee.

The Sun arising in the East,
Though he give light, and th’East perfume;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume.

Can there be any day but this,
Though many suns to shine endeavour?
We count three hundred, but we miss:
There is but one, and that one ever.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Poem for Holy Saturday

I'm posting a poem and a picture for each day of Holy Week this year. Today's poem isn't strictly related to the day, but Holy Saturday has always been a day of quiet reflection, of waiting, of vulnerability and patience, of longing for the presence of God. And so I thought this poem fit.

by Gerard Manley Hopkins
A nun takes the veil

I have desired to go
Where springs not fail,
To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail,
And a few lilies blow.

And I have asked to be
Where no storms come,
Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
And out of the swing of the sea. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Poem for Good Friday

I'm posting a poem and a picture for each day of Holy Week this year. Today Good Friday falls on the Feast of the Annunciation, when Gabriel appeared to Mary. Today's poem was written on a similar Good Friday, and I've heard many people talking about it already today. If you're full-up on this poem already, let me direct you to Donne's other (maybe better) Good Friday poem, here.  

But if not, please direct your attention to this beauty. (As my priest pointed out this morning: the gorgeous wording is Donne's, but the amazing content was all put there in the world by God Himself.)

Upon The Annunciation and Passion Falling Upon One Day, 1608
by John Donne

Tamely, frail body, abstain to-day; to-day
My soul eats twice, Christ hither and away.
She sees Him man, so like God made in this,
That of them both a circle emblem is,
Whose first and last concur; this doubtful day
Of feast or fast, Christ came, and went away.
She sees Him nothing, twice at once, who’s all;
She sees a Cedar plant itself, and fall;
Her Maker put to making, and the Head
Of life, at once, not yet alive, yet dead.
She sees at once the Virgin Mother stay
Reclused at home, public at Golgotha;
Sad and rejoiced she’s seen at once, and seen
At almost fifty, and at scarce fifteen.
At once a Son is promised her, and gone;
Gabriell gives Christ to her, He her to John;
Not fully a mother, She’s in orbity;
At once receiver and the legacy.
All this, and all between, this day hath shown,
Th’ abridgement of Christ’s story, which makes one–
As in plain maps, the furthest west is east–
Of th’ angels Ave, and Consummatum est.
How well the Church, God’s Court of Faculties
Deals, in sometimes, and seldom joining these!
As by the self-fix’d Pole we never do
Direct our course, but the next star thereto,
Which shows where th’other is, and which we say
–Because it strays not far–doth never stray;
So God by His Church, nearest to Him, we know
And stand firm, if we by her motion go;
His Spirit, as His fiery pillar, doth
Leade, and His Church, as cloud; to one end both.

This Church, by letting those days join, hath shown
Death and conception in mankind is one;
Or ’twas in Him the same humility,
That He would be a man, and leave to be;
Or as creation He hath made, as God,
With the last judgement, but one period,
His imitating Spouse would join in one
Manhood’s extremes: He shall come, He is gone;
Or as though one blood drop, which thence did fall,
Accepted, would have served, He yet shed all,
So though the least of His pains, deeds, or words,
Would busy a life, she all this day affords;
This treasure then, in gross, my soul, uplay,
And in my life retail it every day.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Poem for Maundy Thursday

I'm posting a poem and a picture for each day of Holy Week this year. (Except for yesterday. Because...because it was just one of those days.) Today's poem might look more fit for tomorrow, but...well, there are many, many poems about Good Friday, and so we'll spread the goodness over two days.

Good Friday
by Christina Rossetti
Am I a stone and not a sheep
  That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy Cross,
  To number drop by drop Thy Blood's slow loss,
And yet not weep?
Not so those women loved
  Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
  Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;
Not so the Sun and Moon
  Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
  A horror of great darkness at broad noon—
I, only I.
Yet give not o'er,
  But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
  Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Poem for Tuesday in Holy Week

I'm posting a poem and a picture for each day of Holy Week this year. Today's poem is very long, so I'm posting only a selection of the stanzas. You can read the whole thing here.

from The Sacrifice
by George Herbert

Oh all ye, who pass by, whose eyes and mind
To worldly things are sharp, but to me blind;
To me, who took eyes that I might you find:
                                             Was ever grief like mine?

...Arise, arise, they come. Look how they run.
Alas! what haste they make to be undone!
How with their lanterns do they seek the sun!
                                             Was ever grief like mine?
With clubs and staves they seek me, as a thief,
Who am the way of truth, the true relief;
Most true to those, who are my greatest grief:
                                            Was ever grief like mine?
Judas, dost thou betray me with a kiss?
Canst thou find hell about my lips? and miss
Of life, just at the gates of life and bliss?
                                          Was ever grief like mine?

...Then they accuse me of great blasphemy,
That I did thrust into the Deity,
Who never thought that any robbery:
                                          Was ever grief like mine?
Some said, that I the Temple to the floor
In three days raz’d, and raised as before.
Why, he that built the world can do much more:
                                         Was ever grief like mine?
Then they condemn me all with that same breath,
Which I do give them daily, unto death.
Thus Adam my first breathing rendereth:
                                        Was ever grief like mine?

....They buffet me, and box me as they list,
Who grasp the earth and heaven with my fist,
And never yet, whom I would punish, miss’d:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?
Behold, they spit on me in scornful wise,
Who by my spittle gave the blind man eyes,
Leaving his blindness to mine enemies:
                                        Was ever grief like mine?
My face they cover, though it be divine.
As Moses’ face was veiled, so is mine,
Lest on their double-dark souls either shine:
                                       Was ever grief like mine?

....O all ye who pass by, behold and see;
Man stole the fruit, but I must climb the tree;
The tree of life to all, but only me:
                                      Was ever grief like mine?
Lo, here I hang, charg’d with a world of sin,
The greater world o’ th’ two; for that came in
By words, but this by sorrow I must win:
                                    Was ever grief like mine?
Such sorrow, as if sinful man could feel,
Or feel his part, he would not cease to kneel,
Till all were melted, though he were all steel:
                                     Was ever grief like mine?
But, O my God, my God! why leav’st thou me,
The son, in whom thou dost delight to be?
My God, my God –---
                                       Never was grief like mine.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Poem for Monday in Holy Week

I'm posting a poem and a picture for each day of Holy Week this year. Here's the poem for Monday in Holy Week. If you can only read a bit of it, make it the last stanza.

The Incarnation and Passion
by Henry Vaughan

Lord! when thou didst thy selfe undresse 
Laying by thy robes of glory, 
To make us more, thou wouldst be lesse, 
And becam'st a wofull story. 

To put on Clouds instead of light, 
And cloath the morning-starre with dust, 
Was a translation of such height 
As, but in thee, was ne'r exprest; 

Brave wormes, and Earth! that thus could have 
A God Enclos'd within your Cell, 
Your maker pent up in a grave, 
Life lockt in death, heav'n in a shell; 

Ah, my deare Lord! what couldst thou spye 
In this impure, rebellious clay, 
That made thee thus resolve to dye 
For those that kill thee every day? 

O what strange wonders could thee move 
To slight thy precious bloud, and breath! 
Sure it was Love, my Lord; for Love 
Is only stronger far than death.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Photo & Poem: Palm Sunday

I'm posting a poem and a picture for each day of Holy Week this year. Here's the poem for Palm Sunday:

The Donkey
by G. K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked
  And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
  Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
  And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
  On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
  Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
  I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
  One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
  And palms before my feet.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Good reading: "Why miscarriage matters?"

Here's a link that's really good reading: "Why Miscarriage Matters If You're Pro-Life".  It's an older post, but it's very good. Here's a snippet of it:

Here are some of the mixed messages I received -- sometimes just hinted at, other times outright: 
An aborted baby deserves to be grieved. A miscarried one deserves to be gotten over. And quickly
An aborted baby could have been the next Einstein or Bach or Mother Theresa. A miscarried baby was probably damaged goods.
Please go read the rest over at The Lewis Note, because the author offers some really helpful thoughts about consistency in our thinking about the unborn and also some wonderful ideas about how to support those who have suffered a miscarriage.

When I found this post, it resonated with me simply because it resonated with so many of the stories I read as I was editing "Not Alone". I wanted to signal-boost such important thoughts.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link; if you purchase a book from this link, I receive a small percentage of the purchase price.  (See full disclosure on sidebar of my blog.)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

New Finished Objects!

I recently finished a few large projects: an afghan and a table runner.

The table runner was made of laceweight cotton, and it was one of those slow, meditative projects. I designed it myself, specifically for this yarn. Very plain, the only decoration was a line of eyelet lace on either end:

But it looks pretty on our oak table, and I've been enjoying seeing it in our dining room this week. (Forgive my terrible photography! I promise it looks better IRL.)

The afghan was another project where I made up the pattern in order to fit the yarn: in this case, the yarn was passed on to me by someone who'd decided to go a different direction with her own project. I started crocheting it, and my daughter, Bess, asked, "Is that for me?"

And with that question asked, it was. :)

Now that it's done, Bess has taken to coming home and curling up straight away on the couch and burrowing under her cozy new blanket, which is just very gratifying to this crafter.

Of course, now the other three kids are sure they need one, too.

They all already have full-sized blankets that I've crocheted them, but those blankets were made of acrylic, and I admit that I love the idea of making them all wool afghans that are really, truly WARM. I think I just might ...

And that's how it goes: projects beget projects.  

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Yarnalong: Oh-so-bright socks & "Love the Home You Have"

Today I'm linking up with Ginny, over at Small Things, who says, "Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading . . . I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?"

The book:
I'm reading "Love the Home You Have", by Melissa Michaels. As a mom of four in a small home, I admit to loving the title. :) 

And so far the book is pretty good. I don't identify much with the author - she's someone who has moved many, many times, mostly just in search of the "perfect home" - and I'm someone who enjoys staying put when I can. But I do appreciate her search for contentment, and now that I'm through the more biographical part of the book, I'm curious to see what practical advice she has for me.

The knitting:
The knitting is (yay!) birthday yarn! It's Schachenmayr Regia Fluormania Color in Neon Beach (Rav link). It's so beautifully bright. I almost made the yarn into a scarf (and I have another skein of it, so I might yet), but I was really in the mood for making socks, so I just gave into the impulse!  

What are you making and reading this week?

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link; if you purchase a book from this link, I receive a small percentage of the purchase price.  (See full disclosure on sidebar of my blog.)

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Weekly Links: on clean houses, that one TV hairstyle, and more!

Jack is judging you.



-"Reading the Danvers Statement II" - about men and women and the Bible. Here's a snippet:
Sure, these scriptures are for every culture. Nobody reading the bible should think that it is ever just for them. It is for the whole world. And so every single culture should read the bible. But that’s the point. I think every person should read the bible–the whole bible. And when that happens, some interesting things might happen.
-"Why I Quit Watching Downton Abbey" - on suffering and stories (maybe I put this link in the wrong section); here's a snippet:
The best way to honor sad stories is to simply present them as such. To not rush to a tidy conclusion, to not veer quickly off into either redemption or revenge. To honor the victim, to look unblinkingly at the trauma, to hold the story in your heart and then to tell others—this is what we are supposed to do.


-"9 Habits of One Mother Trying to Keep a Clean Home" - I admit to reading this more than once. Bethany is pretty inspiring.


-"Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station" - another good one from Lightspeed. Remember those choose-your-own-adventure paperbacks back from when we were kids? This short story is that style, but hilariously pessimistic.

-"The Overlooked Hope for Narnia's Susan Pevensie" - I admit to thinking something similar before. Such a good rebuttal to the popular view that Lewis was just being a sexist pig when it came to Susan! (Not that maybe he couldn't have been sometimes - and he'd be the first one to admit he was a sinner with blindspots - but I've always thought the popular criticism of Susan's fate was unfair, and this article's a good take on that.)

-"Why Everyone on TV Has the Same Hair" - I found this fascinating, because I'd noticed this (extremely boring visually) trend. The explanation makes sense! (But still folks: change it up!)

Hope the rest of your weekend is restful and good!
-Jessica Snell

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Maybe you aren't called to be someone amazing

Maybe you aren't called to be Joshua the son of Nun, bringing the people into the Promised Land.

Maybe you aren't called to be someone amazing.

I know, I know, we're all "special". All amazing. All wonderful. I guess that's true, in some ways.

But we're not all doers of great and memorable deeds. And that's fine: we're called to be faithful, not famous.

So here's an encouragement for the unfamous faithful: who comes to mind when you think of "Joshua" from the Bible? Joshua the son of Nun, right? Joshua who fit the battle of Jericho. Joshua, the heir of Moses' leadership.

But he wasn't the only Joshua.

Maybe you aren't amazing. Maybe you aren't called to be Joshua the son of Nun.

Maybe you are Joshua the son of Jehozadak, who we read about in Haggai, working on a temple that is "as nothing" compared to the former one.

Maybe you are one of God's people living in the degenerate days, when no one is doing great deeds. You're just, y'know ... doing the deeds that are to hand.

But hear God's call to Joshua the son of Jehozadak:
Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LordWork, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts...

You may not be called to great deeds in great times.

You are still called to be faithful.

"Work, for I am with you..."

And that lesser temple? the one Joshua the son of Jehozadek served in? the one that people looked at, and thought it was "as nothing"?

It was the one the Greater Joshua came to: Jesus, the Son of God Himself.

"But the Lord you seek will suddenly come to his temple . . ."

Maybe you are not anyone great, in any great time, doing any great deed.

But if he calls you to it, you can still prepare the way of the Lord.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Friday, March 4, 2016

some things we share, and some we don't...

So, after sharing that book post about how sharing bits of your day is such a good way to blog ... I got horribly sick.

I decided everyone would be okay if I didn't share tales of the flu every day. :)  You're welcome.

But something nice did happen online this week, and that's that the lovely Anne Kennedy reviewed "Not Alone". Here's a bit of what she had to say:
...I was constantly surprised by hope as I turned over the pages. God cares for the child, we all know that. But we don’t give much thought for the gracious consolations of the mother by God, nor for the heartbroken father. For the Christian, suffering isn’t random, isn’t cruel, however sharp and unbearable. These writers lay bear the internal, private, outpouring of God’s mercy in their grief. What did he say? What didn’t he? How did they go on? What did they learn? It’s all there.
Head on over to Anne's place to read the rest.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Asking Jesus to Leave

If you're visiting my blog today because you found me via The Lent Project, welcome! Take a look around and make yourself at home. :)

And if you're one of my regular readers, please come and stop by The Lent Project today! I have a devotional up about Jesus' healing of the demon-possessed man ... though I take it a bit of a different direction. Here's how it starts:

This is the story about the people who asked Jesus to leave. 
Yes, it is also the story about the horde of demons infesting one naked and helpless man. It’s also the story about the herd of pigs streaming down the cliff to their deaths. The story about the maniacal strength of the fallen angels as they used their host to break iron shackles, to scream their filthiness to the skies, to dance in the dark around the mountains and the tombs, to terrorize everyone who came near them.
It is that story. 
But it is also the story about the people who asked Jesus to leave.

Please head over to The Lent Project to read the rest, and to enjoy and ponder the art and music that accompanies the devotional. (Biola's CCCA does such an amazing job putting together the readings, art, and music for this every year; it's an honor to get to take part in such a beautiful and collaborative piece of work.)

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell