A Considerable Speck

This past week marked exactly one year since I moved into my Provo duplex.  To celebrate, here are a few photos of my home, affectionately called A Considerable Speck (a nod to Robert Frost's poem).  This little place is a "good and perfect gift from the Father of Heavenly Lights."  Come on a virtual tour of the first floor.  (And then come for a real honest-to-goodness visit!)
My cozy kitchen, where many a box of Mac and Cheese meets its demise.  Laundry niche behind the red curtain.
The patio window looks out to a small private patio and lawn.  And beyond those, an unkempt lot with an apple tree, several cats and an abandoned car or two—reminds me of West Virginia for some reason.
Robert Plant hanging out with some wall decs I designed in the background.   (Anyone who achieves the otherworldly experience of singing harmony with Alison Krauss deserves to have a florum named after him, I think.)
More plants that have somehow survived my "care" and also escaped my propensity for naming inanimate objects. Also notice the thrift store vinyl jackets which make very cost-effective decs.  Move over, Martha Stewart.
I'm a firm believer that pillows make a room.  I haven't found Scriptural backing for this yet, but it's gotta be in there somewhere.
A close-up of my new curtains.  Is it just me or does the design look Tolkien-ish?  I could see this flower gently waving in the warm breezes that blow through Rivendell...
I am quite fond of my piano, odd-ball knob or no.  Before it came to A Considerable Speck, it belonged successively to three dear friends, believers here in Utah.  My heart warms to think of the many hymns played and sung around it.  And that picture on the right gets more compliments than anything else I have, making it fully worth the one buck I spent on it at a dollar store in Beckley, West Virginia.  Score.  I do love a good road picture/song/poem.
Any P.D.Q. Bach fans out there?  This "Black Forest Bluegrass"
album cover tickles my funny bone.  As P.D.Q. himself would say: "It's got that certain je ne sais quoi."
I found these fantastic book ends at a yard sale a few weeks ago.  This one's name is Gog and the other's is Magog, a nod to L.M. Montgomery's Anne of the Island.  Sometimes we bookish sorts overdo it on the "nods".


A Picture Is Worth Four Posts

It took me four posts to document my travel saga but it took artist Christoph Niemann just a few doodles for his.  If you have flown much, you will certainly identify, and laugh at the accuracy of his clever drawings.  See them here.  My personal favorite is the 9:57am "poppyseed" entry.  That's me times 10, thanks to these braces, which, since you asked, will be coming off in November and then bring on the poppyseed, sister!


Grace to You

Grace.  It was my grandma's name.  It's what my name means.  It has been the subject of I-don't-know-how-many sermons, lectures and songs I've heard over the years, growing up in the church and attending Bible college.  Even so, when it comes to understanding God's grace for me, I've just begun to scratch the surface.  I have settled all too often for a shallow, defeated, quasi-Christianity instead of embracing the fullness of His grace.  Thanks to Pastor Milton Vincent for bringing this deficiency to my attention in a most thoughtful and heartfelt manner, during the recent Utah/Idaho BMW (Biblical Ministries Worldwide) Field Retreat.  And thanks to Laura Story for writing and recording this sincere, reflective song—which I've found myself adding to just about every playlist I've built for KEYY since the Retreat.  Her song solidifies in my mind and heart much of what Pastor Milton spoke of, and I hope it rings true for you, too.

Good stuff, huh?

Will you let me do something for you?  I want to purchase an mp3 and send it to you, so you can listen to Laura Story's "Grace" whenever you need a reminder of the incredible riches of God's grace for you.  Just get me your email address somehow, if I don't already have it, and I'll "gift" the song to you on iTunes.  Leave a comment, or go the more secure route and email me (k c l a r k 3 4 @ y a h o o . c o m).



Farewell to my pickle-eating, bike-riding, piano-playing, deep-thinking, often-laughing, imaginatively-cooking roomie, Becca.  It's been a great summer.


Good, Better, Best: Three Reviews of New Media

I am a sucker for tear-jerker storybook animals like Lassie and Black Beauty and Misty of Chincoteague.  Therefore, I was disappointed when Blind Hope: An Unwanted Dog and the Woman She Rescued did not quite turn out to be the moving pet story I thought it would be.  Mostly, it's the true story of a young woman emerging from a destructive past and slowly realizing what following Christ is all about.  The neglected Australian shepherd Laurie adopts aids her in learning authenticity, trust, joy and hope.  I found the writing style distracting, as needless dialogue and awkward narrative make the story seem a bit forced.  I ended up skim-reading parts.  Still, there are nuggets of truth and heartwarming anecdotes any dog-lover will enjoy.  And yes, I did cry when the dog died.  Except she didn't die.  Oh, you'll just have to read it yourself to know what I mean.  Keep reading to learn how to get a free copy.  (This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.  You can purchase it here.)

I'm fairly certain Phil Vischer, of VeggieTales fame, has more creativity in his pinky toe than the rest of us 7 billion inhabitants of Earth possess collectively.  Don't you love it when someone with a God-given talent uses it to build up the kingdom?  That's reason number one why I was excited to hear of the release of Phil's "What's In the Bible?" DVD series in March.  The other reason: we've got heaps of bibliology-illiterate folks sitting in our churches these days.  Many Christians aren't prepared to intelligently defend their faith and the Book on which their faith is (or should be) founded.  I have a hunch that's partly because when they (we) were kids, they learned Bible stories without really learning the Bible.  What is the Bible?  How did we get it?  Why is it organized the way it is?  Is it meant to be taken literally?  What does the word "bible" even mean, for goodness' sake?  These are some of the questions Phil Vischer sets out to answer for kids, using a delightful cast of puppets, catchy songs, high-quality production, and lots of humor.  I love, love, love the concept.  After hearing glowing reviews, I purchased the first (of three, so far) DVD ($14.99), including two 25-minute episodes: "What Is the Bible?" and "Who Wrote the Bible?"  I laughed and learned and I tapped my toes to the music.  Yes, I would love to add my glowing review to the rest.  However, some unsatisfactory tiptoeing around controversial issues gives me serious reservations.  The most disturbing is how the narrative of creation in Genesis chapter 1 is left open to interpretation.  According to Phil, it's a matter of opinion whether or not God created the world in six literal, 24-hour days.  He even invokes the worn-out and illogical argument: "with the Lord a day is like a thousand years" (2 Peter 3:8).  (For an excellent 2-minute rebuttal, listen to this.)  Alas, if only there were some way to edit out these moments of wishy-washy theology, I would heartily endorse "What's In the Bible?" DVDs.

And now we come to a product I can endorse, yea even urge you to purchase.   In fact, it deserves a post all its own.  It deserves a blog all its own.  Shoot, it deserves an internet all its own.  It is "Counting Stars", singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson's July 27 release.  I am still digesting these 13 songs of a Christ-follower's struggle and peace, longing and fulfillment, transgression and redemption.  Andrew's music always moves me deeply and this is perhaps his most intimate collection yet.  Give me a little more time to absorb.  For now, I'll simply quote Jonathan Rogers: "These songs aren’t safe. They hunker down and wrestle around, and they come up limping. The hope they express is hard-won."  Hard-won hope; authentic, unshakeable hope: that's the album in a nutshell.  You will not regret purchasing it.

Thanks to the good folks at WaterBrook Multnomah, I have a free copy of Blind Hope to give away.  For your chance to win, leave a comment recommending a book/movie/album you've recently read/watched/heard.