Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thoughts on The Aenied

Well, I finally finished the Dryden's translation of the Aenied. Rather than bore you with a book review, I thought I'd just share the thoughts that came to mind as I finished the final chapter.

As Virgil penned his masterpiece, Rome had just emerged from civil war, chaos and social turmoil. Luxury and vice proliferated and wealthy aristocrats preferred pleasure to children. The new Caesar realized that something must be done. Order and virtue must be restored as well as a fresh confidence in Rome and Rome's gods if the new Empire was to survive.

In this setting Virgil attempted to create a glorious history for Rome and provide an example of a model citizen. Throughout the tale he emphasizes repeatedly the virtues of Aeneas, pointing to his devotion to his gods, courage, self-sacrifice and glory.

Then, as now, the heroes set before a people do influence culture. Today toleration, success and happiness are emphasized with quite foreseeable effects. But what a poignant reminder of the importance of ideals- the vitality of looking continually unto Christ "the Author and Finisher of our Faith" so we can be transformed more and more into His image!

But the thought that kept constantly running through my mind while reading was "I am so glad that we don't serve gods like his!" Endless accounts of fighting and intrigues, infidelity and revenge between the gods made me realize afresh the glory of the true God. God who never changes. God who is the same "yesterday, today and for ever." God who was also the Perfect Man.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Many of the blogs that I enjoy visiting frequently share tips on frugality. Sometimes they are things I already do or wouldn't dream of doing, others times ideas that I have never considered that inspire me. The many different ideals of frugality can be amusing, but Webster's definition from his 1828 dictionary hits right on.
"1. Prudent economy; good husbandry or housewifery; a sparing use or appropriation of money or commodities; a judicious use of any thing to be expended or employed; that careful management of money or goods which expends nothing unnecessarily, and applies what is used to a profitable purpose; that use in which nothing is wasted. It is not equivalent to parsimony, the latter being an excess of frugality, and a fault. Frugality is always a virtue. Nor is it synonymous with thrift, in its proper sense; for thrift is the effect of frugality.
Using the resources God has blessed us with judiciously. This will obviously look different for each person: for some purchasing a slightly used BMW rather than one off the lot and for others saving up to by a well-worn Honda.

No matter where we are in the journey of life, it is easy to begin to envy the more lavish expenses of those who can genuinely afford it or become dejected because we don't stack up to a friend's frugality, rather than striving to become more prudent in our own "housewifery" and maintain the joy of frugality.

Joy seems to me to be the most important part of frugality. If the two do not stand together it will be difficult to avoid miserliness on the one hand and discontent on the other. But when they are united, joy brings contentment and peace to frugal endeavors.

By the way, for those who don't own a copy of Webster's 1828 dictionary, an online version is available here. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Puppy puzzles and kitty sounds

As I tackled the stack of shirts waiting to be ironed, Rosalind sat on the floor playing with her puppy puzzle. The first shirt done, I glanced down and stood amazed. She had already matched all the pieces. Yes, I know. It's not that big of an accomplishment, but every time before this she was flabbergasted when I attempted to show her how to match the pieces.

Silently I had begun comparing her to other little ones her age and worried that she was lagging behind.

How silly! It just hadn't clicked yet. Eventually she will learn to say "meow" not "num, num" when asked what the kitty says, begin reading, write cursive... In the long run does it really matter if she's a little behind or ahead "of schedule"? I am not called to compare her with her aunt or cousins or friends but to patiently train her and enjoy being her mommy.

However, since the puzzle was quite a breakthrough for her, I decided it did deserve a video. (She still thinks putting it away is the best part!)

Puppy Puzzle from Anna Christensen on Vimeo.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Goals for the year

With the New Year comes the urge to begin upon the soon forgotten "New Year's Resolutions", but also the chance to look over the past year and contemplate goals and priorities for the new. I know the first of January has come and gone, but the rest of the year lies ahead and these are a few of my goals in it.

Finish my degree: After Rosalind was born and we decided not to go to China right away (though hopefully we will someday :), I lost the impetus for completing the last few classes and decided just to enjoy the time with Rosalind. But with only three classes left, Joshua really wanted me to finish. I'm on my last one now and, unless I flunk out, will finish the beginning of March. I can hardly wait!

Write more:
There is something so thrilling about putting the pen to the paper, or rather the fingers to the keyboard, but I am so slow at writing. My goal this year is to spend at least two hours a week writing with a timer and forcing myself to get something on the screen.

Read at least two books a month: Reading. I am either so engrossed in a book that every spare moment is spent devouring it, or else I lag and let it slide. Neither extreme is good. I certainly don't want to neglect more important things just for the sake of a book, but also shouldn't stop reading. Much of the problem has been not having a set time for reading, but I realized the perfect opportunity has been staring me in the face: while I rock Rosalind to sleep. I just love cuddling up with her and feeling her succumb to sleep and it's a perfect time to relax and read myself.

Focus on memorizing and studying the Word:
By beholding we do become changed and that is my prayer for this year.

Of course, there are many other things that I want to do like have a successful garden and potty train Rosalind, but hopefully these won't take all year...especially not the latter. : ) But no matter what the year holds, I am looking forward to the delights, challenges and unexpected twists ahead.

photo by Cempey

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hello again

How the last few weeks have flown by! I began the trip with great plans of blogging consistently but was having way too much fun doing other things. We had a delightful break spending time with family and friends, numerous rounds of Settler's of Cataan, yummy food, a wonderful Christmas, late nights, good fellowship, gas at 1.39.... and just being "home" in Missouri. :)

Settler's of Cataan. Perhaps the wisest $40 investment ever made. We played daily with my family.

My little sis and me. She just started a blog here.

I did learn one important lesson while there: take pictures with your own camera. Or, at the very least, remember to copy the thousands of awesome ones your sister-in-law took with her new camera. I ended up with two (not very flattering) pictures from the week and a half spent at Joshua's family's house... which wisdom compels me not to post. But despite the dearth of pictures, we have so many, many fun memories from the holidays.

After three weeks away I really did look forward to pulling up into our driveway, unpacking and getting back to a somewhat normal routine. Rosalind was thrilled to wake up in her own bed and spent nearly an hour walking around her room checking to make sure her books and toys were still in their place, pulling out one after another while smiling and jabbering.

It didn't take long, however, for her to walk to the front door, point to the car and say "Nonny? Hei-ee? Ro-Ro? Meee?..." We miss everyone already.