Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another mystery?

I guess it's part of living in a large old house whose owner never finished completely cleaning out his attic or some spare rooms.

A year or two ago, while cleaning out a big storage room that we'd been using to stock old worn-out computers, printers, modems, and the like I ran across a small brown envelope marked "Correspondence 1958" on it.

Not having the time or inclination at the moment, I shelved it for later inspection. Last week I came by it again and decided to have a look at what could have been so precious to warrant being kept for fifty years.

Inside are a couple of dozen carefully-folded airmail letters (remember them?). All are addressed to a Monsieur MARTEL (whom I've never heard of before) apparently living in a town called Maspeth (almost invariably misspelt "Maspeht") in New York State, and they are signed from a Monsieur Paul Gerbault living at the time in Saint Pierre des Corps.

Now, Saint Pierre des Corps is a town that merges into the greater metropolitan area of Tours, about 45 kilometres south of us. But, needless to say I've never heard of M. Gerbault, either!

So how on earth did all these letters, written by M. Gerbault (from Saint Pierre des Corps) to M. Martel (in New York!) find their way here, at Courtiron? And what is the important subject matter?

Well, I don't know the answer but I have one clue (just noticed it now): there is the same name again that we saw a few months ago on the book from Switzerland! (If you missed that post, go back and read it here.)

I'm going to read a few of these letters and see what I can learn about these guys. I'll get back to you with an update in a few days!

Meanwhile, this being the last day of the year: have a happy time tonight and a happy year throughout 2010, with all God's blessing on you.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back to the Bible

Quite by accident I came across another powerful argument for us, as believers, using the same Bible that Jesus and the Apostles did.

For the past few weeks we've been studying through the book of Hebrews and I had noticed a marginal reference in the first chapter and verse six. The verse is, "And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. " (Hebrews 1:6) and is supposed to be a quote from Deuteronomy 32:43.

But when you look the reference up you'll find it leads nowhere. How is that supposed to be a quote or fulfilment of the verse in Hebrews? I concluded it must be a printing mistake in my Bible and had crossed it out and put a big question mark beside it.

Suddenly last week it occurred to me to check the reading of this verse in the Septuagint. I was amazed as I read word for word the same thing Paul had quoted in Hebrews!

What can one say? What more proof do we need? No matter how the cabalistic judaizers tried to alter the Bible after Christ they couldn't undo the version that had already been translated — by their own rabbis — several hundred years earlier! Thus God saw to it that the whole Bible was preserved for us in Greek — both the Old Covenant and the New.

God grant us freedom from such as would enchain us with false Hebrew roots and Hebrew names and Old Covenant legalities that have been fulfilled and passed away in Christ!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas calendar for you

Here's our calendar for you, this year, for 2010. Right-click on the image below and choose "Save Link As ..." which saves the PDF file to your disk, then print it out as needed. Either that, it simply click; it'll open in a new window for you. It's just for fun, so enjoy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A good quote

As we were sitting down to lunch, Camille whispered to me a quote that's been on the dining room wall for some time.

"The only answer to unreasonable evil, is unreasonable good!"

If you haven't read any Watchman Nee lately you may not recognize the context but it is so radical, so good, so true, so Christ-like.

Camille was making reference to an unpleasant visitor that had come by and she was right: that is what our response is always to be. It is the believer's reaction that is important, not what causes it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The cruise

I suppose everybody finally gets to do something he never dreamed he ever would — in my case, I never even gave it a thought. But if I had, money is always far more needed on other projects.

However, recently I have been really feeling that Sarah and I ought to get away for a break, be alone, get some sun, just relax. We've done Italy fairly well, though we'd return in an instant if we could. I've felt attracted to explore Greece and feel a pull in that direction but how to go? We are both thoroughly indifferent to air travel and the last flight I took was in 2002 and I told myself it'd be my last.

Well, while browsing a couple of favourite sites I couldn't believe my eyes as I saw a 12-day cruise to from Nice, through Savona (Italy), to Katalono, (Greece), Pireas, (Greece), Ashdod (Israel), Port Said (Egypt), Alexandria (Egypt), Civilavecchia (Italy), back to Savona and finally ending up back in Nice. Right now this cruise is on "fill-it-up" promotion at under five hundred Euros!

I don't know how that strikes you but you couldn't even get a hotel room for twelve nights for that price, and this is full board. I am so thankful — I really feel we need it. This is what it looks like over at Google maps:

Saturday, December 19, 2009


You may have heard about our sudden decision to adopt arctic customs here. After a good cooling down over the past ten days (night temperatures often sub-zero) we finally had several days of minus five degree weather to really solidify things and harden up the ground.

Then, yesterday morning, we woke up to grey skies and a carpet of snow. Everything in town ground to a halt, schools were closed (more for affect, I think, since today would have been the last day of the term before Christmas break) and buses stopped running — for 24 hours.

The children, of course, were wildly delighted, as children always are when the see the first snowfall of the season. Soon there was a multi-thoraxed snowman over two metres high outside the back door!

All well and good for the littlest ones but I am feeling very much like I need some sun. More about that later... Hope you are staying warm!

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Not to be outdone, I must now post the pictures of Amos! Camille went down with Debbie the same day to get pictures, of course, and they sure are cute ones!

Friday, December 04, 2009


Today Debbie took little Ruben down to get some ID pictures for his national identity card. They were so cute I made a scan for you so you could enjoy them, too. Four and a half months old.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Our first Tozer in French!

As you most of you know, we've been translating good Christian literature here from English to French for well over ten years. It has all finished up on one web site or another in an effort to spread the gospel and pertinent Christian teaching to those we love around us, who have never had it.

One of our longest-lasting favorites is A. W. Tozer and one of his books we translated first was called "This World: Playground or Battleground". Well, we've finally got around to printing the whole book (108 pages) and it is now available by clicking here. (We're putting both books at 10€ to adequately cover costs — I never thought publishing would be so expensive. I guess it's the fact of do-it-yourself that makes it pricey.

Anyway, we are very pleased to be able to get this book out — it's a compilation of 42 of his editorials, as a lot of his books are, and well worth reading — if you speak a little French. :-)

Friday, November 20, 2009

News from Courtiron

News today was quite varied: I heard the Airbus 380 made it's first flight from Toulouse to New York with over 500 passengers (apparently they bought their tickets by auction!).

Europe woke up to the appointment of two new politicians to represent them at the highest level: someone called Herman van Rompuy will now be our President (starting January 2010) and someone called Catherine Ashton will be in charge of Foreign Affairs — I guess, a sort of Secretary of State or Foreign Minister or something similar.

Well, we'll just have to get to know them as time goes on — no one seems to know who they are, at the moment. As usual, there's a lot of criticism of them and the way they were chosen, but you can probably tell that I'm not concerned much one way or another.

Thirdly, I bought a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau this morning (24-hours late!) called Pisse-Dru which surprised us all at noon. Beaujolais has its good years and its mediocre ones but I was suspecting this was going to be a good one after hearing that they were picking grapes in the Médoc in August — a good two weeks ahead of normal. Sure enough, I'm now starting to hear people compare 2009 with some of the golden years I can remember, like 1982.

Well, this bottle so took me by surprise and was such a pleasant wine that I went out and bought another to share tonight with everyone else who wasn't here at noon.

You may have guessed that I'm referring to Raphael, in particular. He's been gone for two days to Bordeaux to visit a new customer we have acquired down there. I can't give the details here but it is going to entail a lot of work on our part — and they want it done soon!

Another one missing at noon was Jonathan, who's been working every spare minute on his "new" house. He's started logging his progress on his own blog which I've added to the list on the left. You can also go there from here. Raph left early yesterday morning and was back this evening. I drove him to Vaas yesterday and picked him up there again tonight since he traveled down there (4 hours) with Laurent from the mother company.

This afternoon, after picking Christopher up from school, I was greatly surprised by a call from Alan, from Darvell! We had a nice little chat and got caught up on some of our news and the whereabouts of another couple we knew who have moved to London, apparently. It is a great pity that he and Marcelle couldn't have stayed longer than they did, but the Lord knows and we may not have seen the end yet.

Lastly, I must tell you that we sold one book — see my last entry! I had 25 printed up for ourselves and friends but I was very pleased to see an order come in from outside — from a dear brother in Germany we've been corresponding with. He won't be disappointed in the book, that's for sure!

Good night from all of us here. May the Lord Jesus give you his peace.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New book!

Well, it's finally happened: I've published our first book at an online print-on-demand publishing house. This is a project that I've been "working on" for literally years. In fact, it was all but finished (just needed some touch-ups on the layout) exactly a year ago.

It's a book of six great sermons by Tozer that I've transcribed and collected from a series of messages he did in 1957 called "Awake!" so that's the name of the book.

Thanks, Raph, for your help on the cover — and if anyone wants to get themselves a copy, here's where to go. Click on the button below to get one from Lulu, and click on the cover below to go to our French Bible book store and get one from us — a little cheaper plus we'll send you a free CD with the book containing the six sermons in mp3 audio format! We love these sermons and I think you will, too!


Here's what the cover looks like:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Back together

A little bit of news. Raph & Camille got back last night around 7 pm to most joyful exclamations from everyone! Raph brought us a bottle of wine — quite unusual really — made in the Isle of Ré of pure Chardonnay. I promptly stuck it in the fridge for later appreciation.

They said they'd had gorgeous weather last Monday (we could see that in the photo) but that it had clouded over afterwards and presented more expected November weather on the Atlantic. Even at this distance inland, our prevailing winds come from the Vendée and the sea.

Don't know if I mentioned before that the Stroms left bright and early last Monday to rejoin Andrew in London on his return from Uganda. We had a lovely visit and they wrote a couple of days ago to say they'd arrived safely and happily.

Catherine has been coming around a lot lately, which is a good sign for her as she really needs stability and godly counsel. She's seems to be drawn to Nat and they spend a fair bit of time together sorting out life's problems.

Jonathan has taken today and tomorrow off work so he can work outside on his new house. He has set himself a big project and has created a blog to keep a track of developments. You can check it out here, if you like.

Finally, here I was waiting for lunch with Amos on one side and Ruben on the other when along came 'Tiney and climbed on my back! (I love it!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Picnic on the way home

Take a look at one of the longest bridges in the country, connecting the island of Ré to the mainland, nearly four kilometres long, it is an impressive construction. The Snoozie's picked a spot in its shadow to make their picnic on the way back home.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday, November 09, 2009

A sunny day on the isle of Ré

This coming Wednesday, of course, is a bank holiday — the last of the year before Christmas. So Raphael, knowing the work load we have planned for the last half of this month (a new client in Bordeaux means he'll have to be gone for a couple of days as he plans the project with them on site) saw those two little work days (today and tomorrow) were getting in the way of a nice little three-day break with his family. So after talking it over with the boss (a very understanding gentleman and a family man himself) and getting his approval, he sprung the idea on his delighted wife and children.

Then after settling their destination as the Vendée, where one of Camille's family has a holiday home on the isle of Ré (pronounced ray), this weekend Raph & Camille left with Christine, David, Susanne, and Amos out for a couple of days to this remote island just off the west coast jutting into the Atlantic.

The Vendée is a three-hour trip from us and its endless sandy beaches are favourites with many — especially those wanting to get away from the crowds while they get a little sun. We reluctantly let them go having made them promise to return with a large brioche de Vendée — a large light loaf of sweet fluffy bread that is a gastronomical trademark of the area.

Now, this morning we just received a note from Raph sending these pictures and saying they've decided to rent bicycles and explore the island.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

He should know

"I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens who, reading newspapers, live and die in the belief that they have known something of what has been passing in the world of their times."

Who said this? The same person also said the following:

The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.

So who was it that held the public press in such disrepute?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I recently ran across the most amazing web site by which I learned of the existence of groups of educated people that hold a geocentric world-view. I had no more dreamed such a thing existed than I would have believed in a twenty-first century Flat Earth Society.

But these guys are serious. Some of them, scientists, astronomers with Ph.D. after their names who've written books and give lectures. I thought heliocentricity was undisputed. It turns out that both are mere theories because neither can be proven! In order to prove either you need to have an external point of reference that is stable.

More interesting than the mere physics of it, though, are the spiritual implications. Let me quote a couple of people whose thoughts struck me as well-said:

"The story of Christianity tells about a plan of salvation centred upon a particular people and a particular man. As long as someone is thinking in terms of a geocentric universe ... the story has a certain plausibility.

As soon as astronomy changes theories, however, the whole Christian history loses the only setting within which it would make sense. With the solar system no longer the center of anything, imagining that what happens here forms the center of a universal drama becomes simply silly."

(A. J. Burgess)

"We know that the difference between a heliocentric theory and a geocentric theory is one of relative motion only, and that such a difference has no physical significance."
(Sir Fred Hoyle)

"The heliocentric theory, by putting the sun at the center of the universe, ... made man appear to be just one of a possible host of wanderers drifting through a cold sky. It seemed less likely that he was born to live gloriously and to attain paradise upon his death. Less likely, too, was it that he was the object of God's ministrations."
(Morris Kline)

"Much of the history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. In area after area—crime, education, housing, race relations—the situation has gotten worse after the bright new theories were put into operation. The amazing thing is that this history of failure and disaster has neither discouraged the social engineers nor discredited them."
(Thomas Sowell)

The thing that staggered me was realizing that both heliocentricity and geocentricity are merely unproven — and unproveable — theories, that must ultimately be accepted by faith alone.

That helped a lot.

If you're interested in further reading on the subject, check out the following web sites:

Besides the link Raph suggested below ( a very good site seems to be:

(Type "the earth is not moving" into your search engine just to see the multitude of web sites that promote this concept, and why. Have fun!)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Buffalo hamburgers & tomato ketchup!

We got the second side of the buffalo from the butcher this evening after work so Raph, Jonathan, Kevin, and Nat worked long into the evening getting it all sorted out and frozen.

When they were finished they went up to the apartment where Camille and Debbie were waiting for them and enjoyed a little of their work with some freshly ground steak complemented with some of Kevin's delicious tomato sauce he'd made earlier in the week.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Grow your own health

I've been wanting to get my thoughts organized on this topic for a long time and even created some titles on our family web site years ago. But I don't seem to make the time the get it finished. So today here goes, with at least a rough outline and the basic idea.

Nothing happens by accident — especially accidents. Over the years we've seen a correlation between certain types of "accidents" and certain modes of conduct. The two we have seen most clearly so far are broken bones and cancer.

I haven't got time right now to be more detailed than this but take these thoughts for what they're worth:

1. Broken bones seem to come about as a result of back-biting, gossip, and divisive talk; one of the seven things the Lord hates (Proverbs 6:16-19). The Bible tells us that "Pleasant words are ... health to the bones." (Proverbs 16:24) Is it stretching things too far to suppose that unpleasant words are ... not health to the bones?

One of the strangest prophecies concerning our Lord (that was fulfilled to the letter, of course) was that not one of his bones would be broken. Ever wonder what's significant in that? It was not important that he never cut his finger or had a headache. But even after he'd died, it was important that he go into the grave whole, with not a bone broken. Ask yourself why? It is proof that the fact of a broken bone is significant.

2. Cancer is an independent growth in the body by a cell that is not working with the others but against them. The way it is working against others in the body is by working solely and exclusively for itself. A cancerous cell has given up its created and useful role in the body and all it is doing is reproducing itself according to its own, new, agenda.

On the human level, this seems to manifest a spiritual truth in physical terms and most often seems to come about as a result of an independent and rebellious spirit that displays an unwillingness or inability to work with others. This may well explain the vertiginous expansion of cancer in our society.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Harvest festival 2009

We'd decided that, with such an abundance of crops this year, we really ought to make a special meal today consisting entirely of our own grown and baked food!

We fired up the wood oven and started with whole grain breads, buffalo roasts, and finished up with baked apples, pies of all sorts, and meringues. I've uploaded two little video clips we took of this meal; one shows the table and the second shows us.

Hope it makes you feel like you're sitting down to eat with us: which you would be, if you were only here!

Harvest festival 1

Harvest festival 2

Friday, October 23, 2009

Suzy's Jewels

We've had requests for a video clip of Susanne singing her favourite hymn (it's almost gotten to be a joke). It is so cute as she sings with such energy! I've uploaded it for you to watch here (it will open in a new window) or just click below.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Raph with Dock

Raph and Jonathan ran over to the butcher in La Chartre this evening to catch a first glimpse of Dock, who was delivered yesterday to him (Hickory and Dickory are still here).

No more chasing that runaway buffalo!

He told them he was very agreably surprised by the apparent tenderness of the meat and was very upbeat about the quality. We'll get you a real appraisal by this weekend: Saturday we've decided to have a real Harvest Festival — more on that later!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Buffalo ice cream!

Well, it's been an interesting an eventful few days here! Raph took Dock, one of the original buffalos we got, to Vendôme yesterday. The word was, She went in peace. And she'll come back in pieces!

All went well as he was a little apprehensive of how the whole affair would come off and left early in the morning, just to be sure, but apparently it couldn't have been easier. She'll be delivered in two or three days to our butcher in La Chartre who is going cut up the carcass. Apparently there were 307 kilos of meat, excluding waste, skin, and offal so we're looking forward to seeing that.

You had to be there to taste Sarah's home-made chocolate ice cream made from buffalo cream! Everyone was unanimous in saying it was the best we'd ever had! Thank the Lord.

This was the surprise desert after the Saturday meal of delicious soup, rillettes, pâté, grated carrotts, and a big bowl of Jacqui's coleslaw. With twenty-four around the table I don't have to tell you we had some great fellowship!

Received an interesting email a couple of days ago from a brother named Jay in Munich — with his family and seven children. His reply to mine came this morning so we're getting to know each other prior to a visit.

Becky and Claire went over to the hotel last night to stay up and watch The Taming of the Shrew with the Strom girls. Then this morning everyone was invited over here to watch a new PBS documentary called From Jesus to Christ: The Early Christians which we found quite interesting. We started the fire for the first time this year and Raph roasted pans of chestnuts while we watched the film.

This afternoon everyone has gone to the orchard to make an ultimate harvest of apples (last week we just gathered the windfalls) before proceeding next weekend to preparations for applesauce and cider. At the same time, Sarah and I are making our final harvest of walnuts chestnuts of the season.

Work is progressing on the new "cold room" at the back of the chais (where we make cider and wine) so all this be a great help in working more efficiently. I'll show you a picture of how it's going in my next post, Lord willing.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Vendanges 2009

We knew it was going to be a good year — no rain for weeks and lots of sunny, warm days — and it is off to a good start with 350 litres of must. We had a great time with everyone's participation including Bertrand and Fabienne and all their children as well as Pascal & Aline (the only ones missing were Nat, who was visiting her parents in Lille for the weekend and myself who was on the road taking Rosemary home). Here are some shots of the day's harvest.

Claire, our willing worker

Roobie, hard at work

Millésime 2009

Ugni blanc

Treading out the grapes

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Kevin, God bless him, asked for baptism today and we didn't feel we should wait another minute. Another worker in the Kingdom of God.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Conference preparations

Hello everyone. I want to mention that I had a real nice talk with Jean-Claude last week when he came over to chat. He needs to be encouraged as his job and family situation is rather precarious.

Did I tell you that Andrew, Jacqui and their four children arrived last week? I don't have to tell you how the girls are getting along if you know Becky and Claire, do I! And what about Genereuse, from Luxembourg? She came in last week by train and I picked her up at the station on Wednesday. She's staying down at the hotel with Roo & Debbie, Kevin, and the Stroms so there's getting to be quite a crowd — just the way we like it!

Yesterday Raph asked Andrew if he'd like to share a word with us at this Lord's Day meeting so this morning he gave a good word of exhortation to us all. The thrust was that, as believers, we should remember the poor; the same which we also were forward to do (Gal 2:10). He started by reading passages from Luke that describe the ministry of Christ and emphasized that this is to be our ministry as well. The message was concluded by reading the story of the goats and the sheep from Matthew 25 — as Andrew said, one of the strongest passages in the Gospels concerning the poor.

After this, I read this morning's Sunlit Kingdom newsletter from Peter Hoover (if you're not already signed up to get them, you really ought to: go here). Peter followed on the same topic as last week (the testimony of Elias Chacour of "Blood Brothers") and delivered a wonderfully clear-cut message. It amazes us the experiences he has gone through and his wonderful way with words and we all benefit greatly from his wisdom and honesty.

Following the meeting we ate together, of course, and had some real good time sharing. The girls had prepared a delicious feast of slices of duck breast (magret de canard) — from our own ducks, too! At the end of the meal Camille brought out this month's birthday "cake" in honour of little Suzie and Claire went around the table dishing out sweets that Rosemary had brought so we were well taken care of!

With such a mixed bag of visitors from such varied backgrounds it is to be expected that we would have some pretty lively discussions and today it just happened that way all by itself! But above all our different viewpoints and worldviews we have love and respect for each other and this is so much bigger and more important than anything else. Jesus shall reign where'er the sun. The Kingdom is God is here, now, and only needs us to believe it enough to act like it. Praise God!

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We Shall Meet Him in the Air

I've just received a new book I had on order, named as above, and subtitled The Wedding of the King of Kings!. It seems to be an in-depth Bible study of 1 Thessalonians 4:13f and as I read through it I'd like to share choice parts with you. Today I'd like to set the scene by quoting from the FOREWORD.

"This book is for serious Bible students, and specifically for students of eschatology. In the evangelical world today there is a 'New Reformation' taking place in regard to the doctrine of 'last days'.

"The movement called preterism, or Covenant Eschatology is growing and changing lives. Along the way it is challenging the long-standing traditions of the day.

"As a result, prominent theologians such as John MacArthur, popular prophecy pundits like Tim LaHaye, Grant Jeffrey, Thomas Ice, and others have leveled the charge of heresy, Hymenaeanism, etc, against those who believe that Jesus kept His word to return in the first century.

"Preterism is the view that all prophecy of the end times, the Judgement, Second Coming, and Resurrection were fulfilled in the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. In that event, the Old Covenant world of Israel came to an end, as the New Covenant world of Jesus and His Church was fully established.

"This view holds that Biblical eschatology is not about the end of history, but the end of Israel's Covenant World, thus
Covenant Eschatology, not Historical Eschatology.

"Standing at the heart of this controversy is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Our dispensational friends believe this passage is the key to proving a yet-future rapture at the end of the Christian age.

"Our amillennial and postmillennial friends believe Thessalonians is about the end of the church age as well, but are opposed to the millennial view of things.

"The millennialist, the amillennialist, and the postmillennialist all stand together in claiming that 1 Thessalonians 4 refutes the idea that Jesus returned in A.D. 70."

You can get a copy of the book by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Mystery

Here's a real mystery for you and if anyone has a clue, please go ahead and guess because I don't know the answer yet.

Today Claire took an old book down off the shelf and opened it. As she did so, a stack of small papers fell out so, after looking them over, she called me to find out who they belonged to. I hadn't a clue. I don't even know where we got the book from!

The book is a hardback published in 1952 and called "Switzerland, Life and Activity" and, apart from the dust jacket, it is in very good condition. Inside is a sticker that reads, "To [blank] with the compliments of SWITZERLAND Cheese Association, 105 Hudson St., New York 13, N.Y. and SWISS CHEESE UNION Bern, Switzerland."

Inside were the following papers:

1. A 4-page, blue "Standard Bond Report" issued by Standard & Poor's Corportation, Publishers apparently concerning the activities of the New York Central R. R., dated Wednesday, October 26, 1955.

2. A large unused postcard picturing a colourized photograph of the Ladies Cocktail Lounge, New York Athletic Club, 180 Central Park South, New York.

3. An old, folded, opened and empty envelope addressed to "Chef Marcel, New York Athletic Club" with a hand-written notation "clé automobile".

4. An old newspaper clipping (no dateline) as below:

5. An old hand-written recipe which reads "Marinade for Pork Pickles" (recipe available on request).

6. An old, used postcard with a picture of "Avenida Mariano Arosemena, Belle Vista, Panama, R. de P." The card is addressed to Mr. M. Martel, Chef de Cuisine, De Witt Clinton Hotel, Albany, N.Y., U.S and has a postal stamp from ANCON CANAL ZONE dated March 29, 1941.

The message is in French, and reads,

Comment va mon vieux!
Voici déjà trois semaines que je suis ici.
Le changement n'est pas si formidable, mais il fait assez, comme à Albany au mois de Juillet.

T'écrirai plus longuement avant peu.
Cordialement, et mes amitiés à la famille

7. A yellowed page out of the N.Y. Herald Tribune, 1956 obviously torn out to show the four-column article entitled, Artful Dinner Honors Culinary Man of Year — a certain "Frenchman" M. Joseph Castaybert.

8.A clean buff-coloured letter-card with nothing written on it but the seal of the "New York Athletic Club of the City of New York.

9. A tattered envelope containing check stubs from the "Union Dime Savings Bank".

What on earth can we make of such a fantastic muddle of detailed paperwork? Who is / was Marcel Martel? How did his book get in our library? Answers or guesses welcome below!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Odds and ends of news

We use this blog to stay in touch with friends (known and unknown) and family around the world. I've been doing fairly well lately in sharing our thoughts and trails and travels but this is going to be short today since I find myself far too busy doing things to spend time talking about them. :)

In spite of that, a little news is in order.

1. Lots of comings and goings: Kevin got here last week and is proving a great help, especially around the farm, which is what he likes doing best. Rosemary arrived on Sunday for an extended stay and is fitting in very well here and a privilege to have with us. Andrew, his wife, and four daughters are due in here this evening — they plan to stay for a month or so. Also, Debbie's mother Ruth will be leaving tomorrow — I'll drive her up to Beauvais with Debbie in the afternoon.

2. NT Pod numbers 12 and 13 are out. Get them here, if you haven't already:

3. Very old and overdue news is that the final day of the children's adventures (called la Campagne that took place last month) is finally done. Becky finished it a few days ago but it got classified at the date where it was first started, last month. To read it, just click here.

4. Lastest news was the trip to Normandy which we made for a couple of days last weekend. The passenger list included 'Tine and Olly and Davy (Christopher didn't want to come), Claire and Becky, Sarah and I. We stayed at the same B&B we used last year in Ouistream and the kids had a great time on the beach though it was warm but quite windy.

More news to come tomorrow. We're still alive! And as the old song says,

It's so good, that we live together — living and loving one another!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fresh garden tomatoes and mozzarrella

This photo (and the contents) courtesy of Raph

Very old and overdue, the final day of the children's adventures (called la Campagne that was finished last month) is finally done. Becky finished it this morning but it got classified at the date where it was first started, last month. To read it, just click here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Why use the Septuagint?

Most of you probably know that we became convinced of the importance of the Septuagint several years ago as being the Bible that Jesus and his apostles, as well as the Early Church knew. Forget the translation wars and all the stories of "lost texts" — our position was: if it was good enough for Jesus and the Apostles, it's good enough for us!

(In case you don't have a Septuagint yet, here is a link to the one we like the best; The Apostolic Bible.)

With this in mind, I'd like to reprint a small article I ran across yesterday that presents another case for this Bible. I thought it was interesting enough to share with you.

Why Use the Septuagint?

B Dr. Michael Heiser, Academic Editor at Logos.

Logos recently announced the creation of the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint on the Pre-Pub page. Many pastors, seminary students, and lay people devoted to Bible study might wonder about the value of the Septuagint for Bible study. The Septuagint, of course, is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament.

The Septuagint was the Old Testament of the early Greek-speaking church, and it is by far the version of the Old Testament most frequently quoted by Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament. Rather than try to persuade you of the value of the Septuagint by means of these kinds of arguments, I thought it might be helpful to provide a practical example where the Septuagint explains what seems to be a New Testament theological blunder. I'm betting most of us are interested in that sort of thing!

Below is Deuteronomy 33:1-2 side-by-side in two translations. On the left is my literal rendering of the traditional Hebrew text of the Old Testament, the Masoretic text. On the right is an English translation of the Septuagint at this passage. I have boldfaced significant differences for some discussion.

Traditional Masoretic Hebrew Text
1 This is the blessing with which Moses, the man of God, blessed the Israelites before his death.

2 He said: Yahweh came from Sinai, and He shone upon them from Seir. He appeared in radiance from Mount Paran, and approached from Ribeboth-Kodesh, from his right lightning flashed at them.

3 Indeed, he loved the people, all his holy ones at your hand. And they followed at your feet; he bears your words,

4 the law which Moses commanded us, an inheritance for the assembly of Jacob.

1 This is the blessing with which Moses, the man of God, blessed the Israelites before his death.

2 He said: The LORD came from Sinai, and He shone to us from Seir; He made haste from Mount Paran with ten thousands of Kadesh, his angels with him.

3 And He had pity on his people, and all the holy ones were under your hands; and they were under you; and he received his words,

4 the law which Moses charged us, an inheritance to the assemblies of Jacob.

What Are We Looking At?

Some English translations (ESV, NIV, NASB) are close to the Septuagint or sound like a mixture of the two choices. As the traditional Hebrew text goes, the Hebrew phrase in verse 2 underlying "Ribeboth-Kodesh" is the same (except for spelling) as what occurs at Deut. 32:51 ("Meribath Kadesh"). This is why most scholars today consider the phrase to be a geographical place name, and I agree. The Septuagint, however, obviously has something else going on!

While it is possible to get "ten thousands of Kadesh" from the Hebrew consonants of the traditional Masoretic text, the very common Hebrew word for angels (mal'akim) does not appear in the traditional Masoretic text. The Septuagint translation (aggeloi) came from a different Hebrew text.

One more observation: In verse 3 the Masoretic Text seems to equate "the people" with "all his holy ones." Yahweh's people, his holy people, are under his authority ("under your hand"). They follow at the LORD's feet and receive the Law. Note that the singular pronoun "he" in "he bears your words" likely refers to Israel collectively (i.e., ISRAEL bears your words).

Israel is often referred to as a singular entity in the Bible ("my son," Exod. 4:21-23; "my servant," Isa. 44:1). The Septuagint, however, gives the reader the feel that "his people" and "all the holy ones" are different groups. In the Septuagint, God pities his people and his holy ones—the angels referred to in the previous verse—are under his authority. Israel, of course, receives the law.

So What?

So who cares? Well, the Septuagint here helps us understand an oddity mentioned in several places in the New Testament—the idea that the Mosaic Law, given at Sinai, was actually given by angels.

Check out these New Testament passages:
Acts 7:52-53

52 Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it."

Hebrews 2:1-2a

1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?

Galatians 3:19

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.

Simply put, if you stick to the traditional Masoretic Hebrew text for your Old Testament, there is no place that the New Testament writers could have drawn such an idea. The closest you come to that is in Psalm 68:17.

While that verse has a multitude of angelic beings at Sinai, it says nothing about the Law.

The point is that the New Testament references have provided fodder for biblical critics who want the New Testament to be guilty of either an outright error in thought, or just contriving a doctrinal point out of thin air. The Septuagint shows us that those perspectives are just simply incorrect.

The New Testament writers weren't nitwits or dishonest. They were using the Septuagint.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Ever heard an NT Pod?

Today I want to share with you a very interesting source of spiritual reflection I came across several weeks ago that we are following quite faithfully now. They are little podcasts of only about five or six minutes each concerning the New Testament and Christian origins and they are, logically enough, called NT Pods.

They are put out by a university professor teaching at Duke in North Caroline (though the man is quite obviously from England) named Mark Goodacre and we're up to number 11 already so hurry on over to his site and download them all. Here's the list of titles already done, as a teaser:

Monday, September 07, 2009

Weekend festival in Saint Calais

Yesterday I took the girls (Rebecca, Claire, Céline, and Christine) out for the day to Saint Calais, a town about 35 km from here, to participate in their 379th festival of "Chausson aux Pommes" (apple turnovers, for you Canadians). This year the theme was reconstructions and activities from medieval times.

How we'd missed this festival for so long (this was our first visit) escapes me but suffice it to say that thousands of others seemed to know what to expect as one of the last events of the summer.

The girls were part of a theatrical group in the area that attend events of this type dressed up as washer-women (lavandières) in nineteenth-century garb and all day they manned a lavoir (public wash basins) doing laundry and enjoying themselves immensely.

This is a screen shot from a video clip I took of them gathering outside the church before getting started for the day.

At any rate, it was another great day out with thousands of people milling around. After a colourful parade through the town the streets soon filled up with jugglers, marching bands, groups of hunting horns calling to each other, horse-drawn wagons pulling nobility and a donkey-cart pulling children, old vintage cars on display, folk dancing, mock sword fights, men on stilts, medieval music, and even a huge catapult which threw water-filled balloons at the side of a castle! All this while hundreds of people dressed up in regal costumes as pages, knights, and nobility milled around adding to the festivities.

The mayor had offered free drinks for apéritif and at noon all the tables that lined the side-walks were full with plenty of food and drinks available and, of course, everyone had a hot apple turnovers for one Euro apiece!

Here's a little clip of the start of the parade to give you a feel of the atmosphere:

And through it all, our darling girls beating away on the linen!

Friday, September 04, 2009

A four-page fax just arrived

Page 1
(Thank you! Thank you!)

Page 2

(I often think of the love you showed me
and it gives me great strength
and with love, life is so much easier)

Page 3
(The love from Courtiron has done away
with the desire and the need
to commit certain sins)

Page 4
(Courtiron, thank you so much! Andrea)

The translation is for our Canadian friends. :)

I should just add that Andrea is an Italian boy who spent quite some time here this year but whom we've been without news from for several months. This was a beautiful surprise, right out of the blue! God bless him!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Last day of the month

On this last day of the month we've received a few more pictures from the team enjoying themselves on holiday in Brittany so I'll post them for you below.

The temperatures are still up in the high twenties or, as yesterday, low-thirties (high of 32° yesterday) with cool nights around 10° which makes for very nice mornings. I went to take the mail out this morning and pick up some Bibles from the book store and was impressed again on how much more enjoyable I find the early morning times — the morning sun feels warm against my face compared to the coolness that is still in the air from the night. I think so much more clearly in the morning, the scenery is clearer and brighter, the noise level seems much less as others sleep in an extra hour to pay for their late evening's fun.

I'm an early-morning man. Jesus got up, we're told more than once, "a great while before it was day" — seems like He liked the mornings, too!

"And in the morning, rising up a great while before day,
he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed."
(Mark 1:35)

Anyway, here's Raph's pictures from today ...

In the fortified castle waiting for the seige to begin

Claire : faithful to the end

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekend news

A very quiet and relaxing weekend for those of us left behind. Sarah has been doing a lot of work on the translation of a verse-by-verse commentary on the Gospel of John by Jeanne Guyon and finding it a very rewarding experience. The copy we have dates from 1790 and has never been published in English but we hope it will be one day as it is well worth it.

Last year, while looking for a certain Christmas carol (The Huron Carol) I ran across a young Canadian singer who had produced a version of it that was exceptional! I went to her web site and bought the whole album and we enjoy listening to it from time to time. The album we bought is called This Endris Night and is very enjoyable.

This weekend I was led there again and purchased a second of her albums, this one called, Call The Names which seems to have spiritual overtones — though that is probably due to my point of view. Nevertheless I'd like to share her music with you: go and see for yourself. Her name is Heather Dale and her web site is simply

Now to keep you up to date with the rest of the community, currently taking a nice break with family and friends in Brittany. Here are today's photos for you, with Raphaël's captions (it would seem they like fish!):

Becky enjoying fresh crab with the rest of us
Pollock we bought at the port

Monkfish straight from the fishing boat
Box of lobsters
Today's bread expedition