Anna Karenina and the Givenness of Life

Anna Karenina and the Givenness of Life

I was in a serious slump this February, drowning in a sea of unaccomplished tasks all loudly condemning my laziness and inefficiency. I felt incapable of stirring up my own enthusiasm for life to get my head above water, no matter how well I organized my planner or how early I set my alarm. But now it’s March, and things are looking up! My long and daunting to-do list is finally beginning to shrink...

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The Lost Transcendental: What About the Moral Imagination?

The Lost Transcendental: What About the Moral Imagination?

Ian and I did a lot of driving last year. Having recently moved to the middle of the country, equidistant between our two families with almost mathematical precision, we decided to forego flying home for the holidays in favor of seeing America by car. It was a great idea, and we saw a lot of cool landscapes, but let me tell you there are some areas of this beautiful country that are the very reason the Wright brothers desperately turned to flight. Sorry eastern Colorado, but you are one of them...

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Great Expectations of the Soul

Great Expectations of the Soul

The first chapter of Charles Dickens’s classic, Great Expectations, deserves its reputation as one of the great openers in literature. The tiny orphan Pip stands at the graveside of his parents, quietly mourning his lonely estate. Suddenly, a fearsome convict, lately escaped from a nearby prison ship, accosts him from the surrounding mists and demands food on pain of death. Pip’s terror in this moment is every bit as palpable as was his grief a moment before... 

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The Lost Transcendental: Moral and Theme

The Lost Transcendental: Moral and Theme

In my last post, I examined the so-called ancient Greek “transcendentals,” truth, goodness, and beauty, and suggested that if these concepts are meant to describe qualities that bridge the gap between heaven and earth, we might be missing one. And, in fact, this lost transcendental should stand in front of the other three, like a lens that necessarily colors our attitude toward them. I am talking about grace, which recognizes our condition as flawed human beings and understands that perfect truth, goodness, and beauty can only exist in the Godhead...

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Fall Pinterest Fails and the Messy Real

Fall Pinterest Fails and the Messy Real

Fall has officially arrived here in northeast Washington. As the air adopts a chill, we are barreling towards the season of harvest parties and hay rides, hot chocolate and flushed faces, pumpkins and apple-cider. Tradition holds that this season affords us all a glowing opportunity to throw open our homes to company. Thanks to Pinterest, we have a vivid picture in our minds of the model autumnal home: decorated but not cluttered, festive but not garish, tidy but just the right amount of “lived in.” If you’re anything like me, you are already laboring under the weight of this impossible standard...

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Running the Race: A Lit Lesson in Preparation for Labor Day

Running the Race: A Lit Lesson in Preparation for Labor Day

Man, that Apostle Paul must have been a lit teacher! Consider how well he chose his metaphors: In a passage of Scripture that is being intoned and memorized by homeschooling parents all over the world this week, he urges his readers to“run in such a way as to get the prize…Go into strict training…to get a crown that will last forever” (I Corinthians 9:24-25).Is there any better image to describe the upcoming year than a race...

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Of Lists and Laws: Busy Lives and Back-to-School Plans

Of Lists and Laws: Busy Lives and Back-to-School Plans

August is upon us, and if you’re anything like me, in addition to the sunshine and heat, it brings with it a crushing realization that the long list of summer to-dos that we penned with great hope in late May is not going to be accomplished.  Mine sits before me, a glaring accusation... 

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The Lost Transcendental: My Only Concern for the Classical Education Movement

The Lost Transcendental: My Only Concern for the Classical Education Movement

Prince Hal is one of my dearest friends. I met him at a critical moment in my life, and in fact, it is not entirely an exaggeration to say that he almost single-handedly saved my education.

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The Humility of Socratic Discussion

The Humility of Socratic Discussion

We spent the June session of the Pelican Society’s Office Hours pondering teaching with Socratic discussion. Socratic discussion and teaching is relatively new to me, I’m embarrassed to admit. This probably isn’t as true as I believe, for at its most basic level, Socratic teaching is asking questions, and doesn’t everyone ask questions all the time?

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"The Penderwicks in Spring" and Expectation Games

"The Penderwicks in Spring" and Expectation Games

You guys. I just finished the latest Penderwicks book by Jeanne Birdsall. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy as soon as you can, because it was wonderful! Surrounded by tissues, red-nosed, and teary, I am remembering all of the reasons that this little family is my favorite. 

 

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