Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fun in the Snow!

This week we finally got some snow. To the surprise of many I'm sure, we have not really had much snow at all this year so far. So with fresh snow on the ground we headed to the park to enjoy some sled-riding. The girls had forgotten that such an activity existed since the last time we did it was in Connecticut on New Years Day a year ago. It was a big hit and we followed it up with some Blueberry Soup, making it an all around great day.


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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dear Grammy and Papa

Thanks for the Christmas gifts...

Dear Great-Grammy

Thanks for the Christmas gifts...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Adventure We Call 2009

  Enjoy our Year in Review!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dear Brookie...

...your Christmas gift box was a big hit.

Gifts From Brooke from Colby Garman on Vimeo.

The Great Christmas Race '09

Annie made a scavenger hunt for the girls to find their final Christmas gift. We made it into a great race and included an appearance from own version of the villain Glanni Glæpur. It was filmed by Annie on our new Flip Ultra HD (Merry Christmas).
sorry for the poor video quality...still working on formats

Friday, December 25, 2009

Remembering a Year of Reading: Part 2

Here is the continuation of my memories from the past year of reading:

5. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens - The word I would use to describe this book is "moving". The story is heart-wrenching, tragic, and redemptive. I was sad to leave the characters when I had finished it. It is the best of Dickens that I have read.

6. Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton - For someone who spent an educational degree exploring the subject of Christian Apologetics I thought I had at least sampled all the variations on the theme that existed. When I read Orthodoxy this year I felt like I was reading something very unique and original, so much so that I still feel Chesterton has much more to offer than I understand. I plan on exploring this author a bit more in the coming year.

7. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - A high recommendation from my mother-in-law landed this book on my list. It is really two stories weaved together chapter by chapter. It is the story of the developers of the Chicago World's Fair at the turn of the 2oth century as they labored against amazing odds to put on a display like the world had never seen. It is also the story of a serial killer that used the occasion to feed his twisted obsessions I often found myself reading this book into the early morning hours and more often than not thought I was reading a novel.

8. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - Considered one of the greatest novels ever written, Anna Karenina presses the decencies of traditional Russian society to try and answer important questions about meaning in life and what our greatest good really is. The title character Anna throws away her place in society to pursue Romantic love, ultimately leaving behind her marriage and her son to for the sake of this "love" that is worth more than  everything else to her. The rest of the cast of characters form comparisons as they pursue different ends in life with differing motivations. The discussions and introspection of the characters is at times brilliant and I think the novel deserves its reputation.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ég tala Íslensku

Over the past year you have read a few stories about our chronicles of language acquisition. We have mistaken food for a foot, bought a children´s book that was really about a mole trying to find out who s#!t on his head, and told stories in language class about the abundance of sperm that Johnny Appleseed spread through the countryside of middle-America. It has not been a pretty process, but a rewarding one nonetheless. I have never learned to speak another language and at the beginning of the year I didn't really know if it was possible for me to do so. 
It is a strange feeling setting out to accomplish a task that you cannot imagine at the beginning. Imagining yourself speaking a new language is impossible if you have never actually done it. There is a certain level of faith that is exercised at the beginning of the journey, as you cannot yet see the destination that you have in mind. Rest assured there is a land that lies ahead where you will be able to understand what is being said, but there is a long walk before you start to recognize it. After a long walk in the same direction you will begin to see it. Somewhere during the past year I arrived in a land where the words I was seeing and hearing made sense. I do not know exactly when it was, but after a lot of walking I began to believe there would be a day when I could express myself and be understood. 

I still have miles to walk before I will be satisfied, but in the journey I learned a lesson of Christian discipleship. Walking by faith in Christ begins with the same sort unknowns. The direction and existence of a city other than the one we were born seeing with the physical eye seems impossible to imagine as we start out on the journey. As we take a long walk in the same direction The City of God begins to take shape, and meaning and hope spring from places we would never thought of before. Explaining this to someone who has yet to begin the journey can challenge all our categories of language and leave us speechless. But the city is there before us and we travel on beckoning those still waiting to come and see.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Remembering a Year of Reading: Part 1

Books are a lot like people to me, only a bit easier to get along with. I can never figure out what exactly I like about them, but each one offers something a bit different from the other and I find it a delight to get to know them. I sat down to write this blog thinking I would decide what were the top ten books that I read this year, but I have never been good at rating things this way. So, instead of trying go through my year in a systematic way I thought I would share the books that have left a mark on my memory and why.

1. A Praying Life by Paul Miller - Perhaps if you only read one more book on prayer in your entire life this should be it. It is probably the book that I read this year that I will remember the longest. It offered some of the best instruction on how prayer should be understood in the context of a whole life rather than just focusing on prayer as an aspect of spiritual life. It is theological, personal, and practical. As Miller opens up his life as a husband, father, parent of a child with a disability, and friend, the concepts he talks about come to life. 

2. The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis - I hesitated for a long time to read this part of C.S. Lewis's work because it often gets very mixed reviews. I think it may be because some people simply do not engage well with science fiction. I came away from reading these works dumbfounded at C.S. Lewis's sheer ability to imagine and describe a story. I was also struck by how he is able to take theoretical ideas and instantiate them into a concrete situation. My guess is that if you want to be a good writer and teacher these two skills are indispensible

3. Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis - I read Lewis's autobiographical work about his early life and adult conversion to Christianity after reading The Space Trilogy. In reading it I found his early literary education inconceivable. It was intense, serious, and obviously powerful in effect. I feel like a late-comer to literature and language and cannot believe the type of education he received at such a young age. It helped me understand where some of the imagination came from.

4. The Prodigal God by Tim Keller - Keller's insight and application of the parable of the Prodigal Son deepened my love and affection for Christ and provided fresh perspective on understanding the variations of our human condition to use God for own ends. Our preference for using God rather than worshiping Him is subtly hidden and disguised as good. Seeing through the subtleties takes skill, experience, and a good grasp of the spiritual illness of sin. Keller displays all of these in this short but powerful book. If you are a Christian I would suggest you pick it up and read it, it will deepen your understanding of the core teaching of our faith. If you are not a Christian you should also take a shot at reading it and better understand our faith.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Album: Friction Bailey - The Silent Night

I'm not going to review the album or anything overly boring like that, but I cannot help but recommend my favorite new (at least to me) Christmas music. Friction Bailey, The Silent Night, is arresting. I discovered it listening to Sufjan Stevens on Pandora. At least five times over the past week I have heard an arrangement of a traditional Christmas song that was so good I stopped what I was doing to go and look at the screen and find out who it was. Five times out of five it was Friction Bailey. Be warned, it is not your typical radio-mixed pop Christmas renditions, but instead a creative blend of male and female voice on a backdrop of traditional folk instruments. Merry Listening...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Boot-legged Blog Post

I just sat down, completely exhausted and totally uninspired to try to write something about our week.  Fortunately, Clint already did it and you can just read what he wrote HERE .  I hope this is sufficient, Mom and Dad!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

At the end of October I had a minor emotional breakdown when I began to imagine missing Thanksgiving back home.  I cried for approximately 7 minutes about how I've NEVER missed a Thanksgiving with my family and the injustice of it all....Colby listened patiently and then gently reminded me that in college I didn't go home for two years.  Okay, true.  So, I had a choice...have a pity party all November or make the best of it. got me brainstorming about festive crafts we could do, and next thing I knew, we had a 6 Americans coming over to share the meal together.  It was actually fun to not travel for this holiday and start our own traditions.  Hosting a Thanksgiving meal was very fun...especially since one of my good friends here is in school to be a MASTER CHEF.  The meal was nothing short of gourmet.  I'm very thankful for the new friends were making here and the old friends we have around the globe.  Check out some Thanksgiving pictures HERE .