Praise as Plain as Bread and Milk

My wise friend and mentor Cindy Rollins once wrote:

…surely mothers at home are the modern equivalent of the monastics. We are the preservers of truth and beauty in our culture. This will never be understood by the culture at large. We will continue to be scorned and told we are not contributing. But some day maybe hundreds of years from now someone will write a book titled How Motherhood Saved Civilization.

In light of this we should be very, very busy in our homes creating an environment of truth & beauty.

Somewhere about the rubbish of my scraps of paper and clippings I have a scrap of a poem I found once in a now defunct book catalog called Orange Cat Goes to Market. Kathy Epling used to write the catalog for the small bookstore, and I loved that catalog. Ms. Epling and I share little in our politics, but we both homeschooled, loved our children, and believed in the value of community and home-things.  We both have disabled children.

She wrote a beautiful Christmas poem about bringing her children to the Nativity, an honest poem about the exhaustion that sometimes accompanies the work involved in mothering children, in taking small tots anywhere, and within that poem was a sustaining (to me) phrase about a mother’s praise, ‘plain as bread and milk.’

Bread and milk are plain fare, peasant food, but anybody who has ever baked bread also knows that the humble loaf of bread is a beautiful symbol of hearth and home, a work of patience and attention, a hands on process requiring some attention and feel for when the dough is ‘just right.’

Milk, too, is both an ordinary food, and one of two foods God used to describe the promised land, one flowing with milk and honey. The Proverbs 31 woman is to have the law of kindness on her tongue, and we speak metaphorically of a kind and generous soul as one flowing with the milk of human kindness. Bread is a metaphor, too. It’s a metaphor for our Lord, who is the Bread of Life. He gives us life, and we give it back to Him.

Think about that today as you go about your daily tasks and duties. Your praise and your days may be plain as bread and milk, but you, too, can be a preserver of truth and beauty.

You may also enjoy an older  post on Sacramental Realities, or this version on frugalities as sacraments.

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Commonplace Book Quotes from Jesus Among Other Gods  Affiliate link

The cross of Jesus is without parallel.  “it was the innocent dying for the guilty, the pure exchanged for the impure.  This evil cannot be understood through the eyes of the ones who crucified him but only through the eyes of the Crucified One.  It is the woman who has been raped who understands what rape is, not the rapist.  It is the one who has been slandered who understands what slander is, not the slanderers. It is only the one who died for our sin who can explain to us what evil is, not the skeptics.  The cross points the way to a full explanation.”


Ravi Zacharias Jesus Among Other Gods


Are we as troubled by the problem of the evil that is within us as we are by the more abstract to us problem of the evil in the world? (paraphrased greatly)


“It is not pain that has driven the West into emptiness; it has been the drowning of meaning in the oceans of our pleasures.  Pleasure gone wrong is a greater curse than physical blindess.  The blindness to the sacred it the cause of all evil.”

Speaking in Moscow at the center for geo-political strategy wit faculty members: “Jesus never came to establish a government upon the people by force.  He did not even talk bout political systems He came to rule in the hearts of people and not by the establishment of political power.  He asks to live in you, not to control your state.”

“I was on the verge of quoting what Aleksnder Solzhenitsyn once said, that the thin line between good and evil does not run through states or ideologies but through the heart of every man and woman.  but I resisted, fearing that even that reference may have stirred political passion.”








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Beautiful, beautiful star

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Church Fathers Hymns of Nativity

This is the day that gladdened them, the Prophets, Kings, and Priests, for in it were their words fulfilled, and thus were the whole of them indeed performed! For the Virgin this day brought forth Immanuel in Bethlehem. The voice that of old Isaiah spoke, Isaiah 10:19 today became reality. He was born there who in writing should tell the Gentiles’ number! The Psalm that David once sang, by its fulfilment came today! The word that Micah once spoke, Micah 5:2 today had come indeed to pass! For there came from Ephrata a Shepherd, and His staff swayed over souls. Lo! From Jacob shone the Star, Numbers 24:17 and from Israel rose the Head. Hosea 1:11 The prophecythat Balaam spoke had its interpreting today! Down also came the hidden Light, and from the Body rose His beauty! The light that spoke in Zachary, today shined in Bethlehem!

Risen is the Light of the kingdom, in Ephrata the city of the King. The blessing wherewith Jacob blessed, to its fulfilment came today! That tree likewise, [the tree] of life, brings hope to mortal men! Solomon’s hidden proverb Proverbs 3:18 had today its explanation! Today was born the Child, and His name was called Wonder! Isaiah 9:6 For a wonder it is that God as a Babe should show Himself. By the word Worm did the Spirit foreshow Him in parable, because His generation was without marriage. The type that the Holy Ghost figured today its meaning was [explained.] He came up as a root before Him, as a root of parched ground. Isaiah 53:2 Anything that covertly was said, openly today was done! The King that in Judah was hidden, Thamar stole Him from his thigh; today arose His conquering beauty, which in hidden estate she loved. Ruth at Boaz’ side lay down, because the Medicine of Life hidden in him she perceived. Today was fulfilled her vow, since from her seed arose the Quickener of all. Travail Adam on the womanbrought, that from him had come forth. She today her travail ransomed, who to her a Saviour bare! To Eve our mother a man gave birth, who himself had had no birth. How much more should Eve’s daughter be believed to have borne a Child without a man! The virgin earth, she bare that Adam that was head over the earth! The Virgin bare today the Adam that was Head over the Heavens. The staff of Aaron, it budded, and the dry wood yielded fruit! Its mystery is cleared up today, for the virgin womb a Child has borne!

Shamed is that people which holds the prophets as true; for unless our Saviour has come, their words have been falsified! Blessed be the True One Who came from the Father of the Truth and fulfilled the trueseers’ words, which were accomplished in their truth. From your treasure-house put forth, Lord, from the coffers of Your Scriptures, names of righteous men of old, who looked to see Your coming! Seth who was in Abel’s stead shadowed out the Son as slain, by Whose death was dulled the envy Cain had brought into the world! Noah saw the sons of Godsaints that sudden waxed wanton, and the Holy Son he looked for, by whom lewd men were turned to holiness. The brothers two, that covered NoahGenesis 9:23 saw the only Son of God who should come to hide the nakedness of Adam, who was drunk with prideShemand Japhet, being gracious, looked for the gracious Son, Who should come and set free Canaan from the servitude of sin.

Melchizedek expected Him; as His vicegerent, looked that he might see the Priesthood’s Lord whose hyssop Leviticus 14:52 purifies the world. Lot beheld the Sodomites how they perverted nature: for nature’s Lord he looked who gave a holiness not natural. Him Aaron looked for, for he saw that if his rod ate serpents up, Exodus 7:12 His cross would eat the Serpent up that had eaten Adam and EveMosessaw the uplifted serpent that had cured the bites of asps, and he looked to see Him who would heal the ancient Serpent’s wound. Moses saw that he himself alone retained the brightness from God, and he looked for Him who came and multiplied gods by His teaching:

Caleb the spy bore the cluster on the staff, and came and longed to see the Cluster, Whose wine should comfort the world. Him did Jesus son of Nun long for, that he might conceive the force of his own surname: for if by His name he waxed so mighty, Hebrews 4:8 how much more would He by His Birth? This Jesus that gathered and carried, and brought with him of the fruit, was longing for the Tree of Life to taste the Fruit that quickens all. For Him Rahab too was looking; for when the scarlet thread in type redeemed her from wrath, in type she tasted of the Truth.


More here:

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Cell Phones are Distracting Even When Not In Use

Your cell phone is a distraction even if you aren’t using it:

Even if you go all day without touching your cell phone once, just having it visible nearby may distract you from complex tasks, according to new research in the journal Social Psychology.

It’s possible, I suppose, that this merely because it’s still new technology to us and we haven’t developed the discipline to use it wisely.  Whatever the case, meanwhile, it seems like it would a good idea to try putting your cell phone out of sight, and possibly out of convenient reach before sitting down to work on a task.   With the cell phone at hand, it seems I am seldom even interested in the discipline of ‘doing what I am doing.’

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