Monday, November 29, 2010

What I'm Reading

I've only read one of the daily readings for Advent thus far, but I can already tell it's going to be such an encouraging and focusing book. Dr. Underhill was a 20th century mystic and intellectual and was known to approach Christianity by her appreciation of St. Teresa of Avila's quote: "to give our Lord a perfect service Martha and Mary must combine." In the first reading, she brings our attention to the expectancy of the holiday commemorating Christ entering history. She also reminds us that when we prepare and invite our lives for God's arrival, God will always come to us. Very encouraging!

If I wasn't reading this book during the Advent season, I would probably be reading Watch for the Light. If you have any recommendations for Advent reading, please do share them in the comments. I'm very interested in how others focus on the true reason for celebrating Christmas.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I'm Reading

Extraordinary so far! Hans Fallada wrote Alone in Berlin in 1947 following World War II, and Penguin has revived this classic with a recent edition released in 2009. It's rare that I read historic fiction with footnotes, but this book has plenty of them -- making it even more interesting as it's filled with  plenty of historic details and facts. Although I'm only half way through it, I can tell you that it's an insightful and engaging read. The translator also did an excellent job, as it doesn't read awkwardly at all.  Furthermore, my understanding of Nazi totalitarianism in Germany is expanding by the page. Hands down, put this one on your list!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I just returned from a weekend in Switzerland. That's Mont Blanc back there. Wow! Geneva was such a nice place for a city break.  And how could you not love a place that makes bread and melted cheese an entire meal!?!? God bless fondue!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Babette's Feast

I recently watched Babette's Feast after learning about the film from reading The Hungry Soul. The main contention in this book is that eating amongst one's loved ones is not just about feeding the body but also about feeding the soul. This theme is perfectly portrayed in Babette's Feast, which is a Danish film made in the late 1980's. As we enter the Thanksgiving season, it is a most poignant reminder of the celebration and ritual of gathering with friends and family to feast together not merely for the sake of the food alone.

The following video contains a New York Times critic highlighting the importance of Babette's Feast:

"Beasts feed: man eats: the man of intellect alone knows how to eat."

"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are."

- Brillat-Savarin

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Law & the Constitution

"The end of every law is the common good of the community that it governs." - Thomas Aquinas, church father and influential thinker in the development of the western legal tradition, in his 'Treatise on Law' in Summa Theologica

"Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."  - John Adams, founding father and second President of the United States, to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts on October 11, 1798

If I was a law professor, I would come up with an essay exam based on these two quotations. It would go something like this: "Does the United States Constitution promote the common good of society? If so, must the government enacting laws and enforcing laws be made up of moral  and religious people? You have thirty minutes to answer and discuss. Start writing." That might also be a good exam for a moral philosophy course.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Post without Pictures

Hi Friends ~

Blogger has annoyingly declined to accept any picture uploads for several days now. And my research on how to fix the glitch has only complicated the matter as Google has no official recommendations on this and the forums are chocked full of a variety of (hundreds of) suggestions.  And - having a job or two negates the necessary time needed to problem solve. Thus, I bring you the post with no pictures!

This past weekend was delightful. We had friends over Friday night and made Thai rice wraps, sushi, and then steamed yummy Chinese dumplings for dessert. It was a fun and very active dinner party, as we kept making more delicious treats! 

On Saturday we went hiking with MBA's supervisor and several other students and spouses. We hiked from Dollar through the Glens of Sorrow and Hope over to Glendevon and back with a wee lunch stop at the Tormaukin Country Inn Pub. The food at Tormaukin was great, and it kept us going for the five mile hike back to Dollar. However, the highlight of my day was asking MBA's supervisor for a recommendation for Advent reading and his reply of Barth's Dogmatics on the incarnation. Light Advent reading anyone???

This past weekend we also celebrated the baptism of a very dear friend's baby, and it was a beautiful and very happy day. Don't you love those kinds of days? Where everything is good and right with the world? It was delightful, and we were blessed to be invited to participate in all the festivities. 

This is where a very cute picture of an adorable baby should be.
But it's not.

Anyway, it's ridiculously cold here today. The temperature on my phone reads zero. Zero! (Celsius of course -- but still!!!). And now - I am off to meet my husband for lunch at our favorite French restaurant, because you can never really eat to much French food :) 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gorgeous Fall in Edinburgh

Yesterday I shared some beautiful fall sites from the Highlands, and today I want to share a few pictures of the fall beauty we have here in the capital.
This beautiful tree is right out my front door. So gorgeous!

Princes Street Gardens

Princes Street Gardens with a view of the Walter Scott Monument and Balmoral Hotel

Other Side of Princes Street Garden

Fettes College - Inspiration for Hogwarts in Harry Potter?

I hope you enjoy your fall day!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Scottish Highlands in the Fall

We had some friends in from the States for the weekend and took them out into the Highlands for a quick day trip yesterday.  It was an absolutely fantastic day for a drive out into the country. The air was cool and crisp, the leaves were changing all kinds of brilliant and vibrant colors, and after a morning with a bit of fog, it cleared up to make for a super calm and clear day.
Our first stop was by Stirling Castle. MBA and I were last in Stirling in July, and you can definitely see a shift in the colors! I love how the fog added a bit of mystique to the castle.

We then headed through several glens to drive along Loch Earn. I couldn't get enough of the majestic sites we were taking in.

We then headed over to Loch Leven where you have to take a boat out to the Loch Leven Castle. 

Isn't it all so breathtakingly beautiful?
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