“The finest men in all the world are not to be found in the warm, genial climates, where the earth has only to be tickled with a hoe, and it laughs with plenty; but the strongest and the most enterprising spirits have been found at the back of the north wind, where there are frosts and ice, and long, dreary winters, and men have a hard struggle for a livelihood. They become really men under that stern training. Now, if there were no thorns and thistles, no struggles and no trials, should we have any brave Christians? Should we have any great and noble souls at all? When did the Church yield her best men for her Lord’s service? It was in the persecuting times, when they had to swim through seas of blood to hold fast the truth of Christ. These are silken days, and we have wretched specimens of Christians everywhere; but if the times of persecution were to come once more, with the rough winds blowing, and the whole sea of the world tossed in tempest, we should then find brave sailors who would put the ship’s head to the wind, and ride safely over the stormy billows in the name of the Eternal God.” Spurgeon, C. H.

From the Thorns and Thistles Sermon, Vol 39.

Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco

A Place the Kids Actually Love

Jenn has been exposing the kids to art during their home-school days. But I still wasn’t sure if the kids would enjoy extended time at a classical art museum. But they really enjoyed looking at the various sculptures, painting, and items.

The Legion of Honor has the Royal Treasures from the Louvre: Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette on exhibit. The entrance is marked by a large hanging tapestry artfully woven, displaying two angels holding a crown above the family crest (my interpretation). I was in awe by the way it looks like a very solid and lively image from a distance, yet upon close examination we can see threads of various colors weaving their way through the fabric (all of this and more is shown on the video below).

In other rooms, there are various useful objects, such as trays, vases, and serving vessels. The function is quite ordinary, but the appearance is far from ordinary. Something that would normally be plastic or steel, is made of gold or silver. A container and it’s lid are adorned with a garden of intricate leaves and flowers made with gold and jewels. It’s simply stunning to see.

I was also impressed by the tiny snuff boxes with portraits painted on the lids. Normally, we might see this and think it’s quite easy to replicate. We use inkjet printers, or other methods of image reproduction. However, these images have been carefully painted with what I can only imagine to be very tiny brushes. The art is so precise that even close inspection barely reveals any brushstrokes or evidence of having been drawn by hand.

The treasures will be there through March, 2013. I highly recommend visiting.

The detail can be seen better at full-screen. Click on the expand icon (four arrows pointing outward) to go full-screen.

Scripture Recital and Opening Presents from Nana

Christmas Day 2012

The kids had memorized a section of scripture over the past month. Perhaps Jenn had told me early on, but this was as much of a surprise to me as it was to Nana Lynn in Alabama. Matthew was able to memorize much more than Claire, but it’s nonetheless cute and warming to the heart.