Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Dangers of Reading and Writing

Today in American literature (my 11th grade English class, and my favorite), we finished up reading parts of John Winthrop's Journal, the twenty-year record he kept of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Now, I very much respect Winthrop and enjoy examining both the Journal and Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation as examples of Puritan histories, as illustrations of Puritan plain style, and as records of our country's founding. But this entry below never fails to make me laugh (though I didn't find it so amusing when I first read it in college). It was the highlight of today's class.

April 13, 1645

Mr. Hopkins, the governor of Hartford upon Connecticut, came to Boston, and brought his wife with him, (a godly young woman, and of special parts) who was fallen into a sad infirmity, the loss of her understanding and reason, which had been growing upon her divers years, by occasion of her giving herself wholly to reading and writing, and had written many books. Her husband, being very loving and tender of her, was loath to grieve her; but he saw his error when it was too late. For if she had attended her household affairs and such things as belong to women, and not gone out of her way and calling to meddle in such things as are proper for men, whose minds are stronger, etc., she had kept her wits and might have improved them usefully and honorably in the place God had set her. He brought her to Boston, and left her with her brother, one Mr. Yale, a merchant, to try what means might be had here for her. But no help could be had.
Let that be a lesson to you, girls! :-)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

City on a Hill

I've been rather neglectful of this blog in recent weeks. My head is filled primarily with wedding and school details. So here's an excerpt from today's 11th grade American Literature class. We read several excerpts from this sermon this morning.

~ from "A Model of Christian Charity," preached by John Winthrop on board the Arbella, 1630, as the Puritans were making their way to Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Now the only way to avoid shipwreck, and to provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. For this end, we must be knit together, in this work, as one man. We must entertain each other in brotherly affection. We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of others’ necessities. We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other; make others’ conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as His own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when He shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, "may the Lord make it like that of New England." For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God's sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.

And to shut this discourse with that exhortation of Moses, that faithful servant of the Lord, in his last farewell to Israel, Deut. 30. "Beloved, there is now set before us life and death, good and evil," in that we are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walk in his ways and to keep his Commandments and his ordinance and his laws, and the articles of our Covenant with Him, that we may live and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may bless us in the land whither we go to possess it. But if our hearts shall turn away, so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship other Gods, our pleasure and profits, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over this vast sea to possess it.

Therefore, let us choose life,

that we, and our seed, may live;

by obeying His voice and cleaving to Him,

for He is our life and our prosperity.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Big News!

I'm getting married!!

This past Saturday, Jeff Cavanaugh asked me to marry him, and it was with great joy that I said, "Yes!"

(Well, actually, it was more like, "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!!!!")

I met Jeff last fall soon after I started attending Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Jeff was an intern (and interns aren't allowed to date!), but I was particularly struck upon meeting him with his kindness and gentlemanly demeanor. In November, he sat in on my membership interview (which, I discovered later, was not coincidental). One night in December after a church caroling outing, he pulled up a chair and started talking with me. My interest was most definitely perked after that conversation, which was primarly about literature if I recall correctly. And over the next few months, we kept talking. At church. At Sunday lunch. At the circus. At IHOP. At the baseball game. At Starbucks. And then in May, all that talking culminated with a most lovely talk over an Italian dinner one night when Jeff asked if we could date seriously. And I said yes. (Hmm . . . I love foreshadowing!)

So, fast forward through one fabulous summer (I've never been so thrilled to be a teacher and to have the summer off!), and we arrive at Saturday, September 2. All I thought we were up to was afternoon shopping followed by a movie and dinner. But on the way, as we drove past the National Cathedral (which I'd toured for the first time with him just a few Saturdays earlier), Jeff suggested that we stop and see if there was any information on a concert that we're hoping to attend in November. We asked about the concert, then meandered through the church's great bookshop, and then headed outside where Jeff suggested we walk down some paths surrounding the cathedral and winding around smaller buildings. And then in a quiet corner of the pathway, Jeff asked me to marry him, and I was able to say yes again, though this time with even greater delight!

I'm continually amazed and delighted that God has so clearly brought Jeff into my life. We are so looking forward to marriage and a future of reading great books, drinking great coffee, and enjoying God and each other!

(And we'll try to get pictures up at some point! Picture-taking hasn't been our strong suit in this relationship!)