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Hymn of the Week – Brighten the Corner Where You Are

Music by Charles H. Gabriel
Poetry by Ina D. Og­don (1913)

Do not wait until some deed
Of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar,
To the many duties
Ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Refrain:
Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor
You may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

Just above are clouded skies
That you may help to clear,
Let not narrow self your way debar;
Though into one heart alone
May fall your song of cheer,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Here for all your talent you
may surely find a need,
Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
Even from your humble hand
The Bread of Life may feed,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Want to learn a language? Join a community.

Some people have wishlists of things they hope to get for Christmas, or places they would like to go to on vacation. As a language nut, I understandably have a long list of languages that I would like to learn. There are so many interesting languages in the world, and so little time to learn them!

Looking at the languages I have tackled, however, the thing I’ve realized is that I only become proficient in a language when I have a community of people to speak it with. Take Spanish, for instance—for the past 9 years, I have spoken Spanish on a weekly basis with Spanish-speaking Christians, and thus I have gotten pretty good at speaking it. However, I still cannot speak Greek, even though I have been studying it even longer than Spanish. And why is that? Perhaps it’s because I don’t know anyone who speaks Greek, and it is a language I only use for reading and writing.

Recently I watched some interview videos on Chickasaw.tv about Joshua Hinson, the current director of the Chickasaw Language Department. He grew up in west Texas, and dabbled in some of the Chickasaw language early on, but he didn’t become proficient in the language until he reconnected with the Chickasaw community in Oklahoma and began actively seeking out native speakers to talk with. Read More

Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff

Wales photo album

Wales! That little country tacked onto the side of England… we were only there a short time, and didn’t really get to explore much. However, what we saw was interesting. Most of these pictures were taken at a pretty little park, where we walked around a bit. Our other destinations in Cardiff were a souvenir gift shop, a book store, a thrift store, and a fast food chicken place.

At the thrift store I was tempted to buy a bunch of interesting books on the Welsh language, but I maintained my self-control, reasoning that it would be very unlikely for me to return to Wales anytime soon in the future. As for the chicken place, well… we were hungry, and our options were limited. My memories from the chicken place were that if you wanted ketchup, you had to pay extra, and we were practically the only white people in the restaurant, everyone else looking middle-eastern! So much for traditional Welsh food.

Maybe one of these days I will make it back to Wales. I’m sure there’s much more to see than I was able to breeze through on my short visit!

Korean Language Mission 2016

하얀 풍차Memorial Day marked the fourth anniversary of my arrival in the state of Georgia, and it was also four years ago that I began learning the Korean language. Although I’ve learned a lot, I know that I could be much farther along in the language if I had applied myself during those four years.

Language learning is tricky, and often something that you can’t rush. However, you can make significant progress if you make time every day for study and practice, and get some momentum going. And that’s what my goal is for the summer of 2016.

From June 1st through August 31st, I will be intensively learning the Korean language. The well-known Irish polyglot Benny Lewis has done several language missions in which he goes from essentially zero to reasonable fluency in 3 months, so I figure if he can do that, I can definitely go from an intermediate level to fluency in 3 months!

For 79 days (I’m taking Sundays off), I will study and practice Korean for at least two hours every day. I estimate my current level in the language to be A2, and my goal is to reach level B2 (CEFRL).

In the last few months I have become lazy with my language learning, but no more! Too many times I have taken the easy way out and spoken English to Korean people, but from here on out, I am enacting a strict no-English policy when talking to Koreans. Also, I essentially live in the Koreatown of Georgia, but I have not really taken advantage of this opportunity to practice speaking Korean. This summer I’m going to go out of my way to put myself in this immersion environment more often.

I will be making mini missions along the way, to have smaller achievable goals to tackle. I will also try to identify which aspects of the language are giving me trouble, and solve those as quickly as possible.

If you would like to stay updated on my progress during these 3 months, why not follow me on Instagram? I will be posting at least one picture every day to document my language learning adventures.

The first three days of the language mission have been good, and I am excited about the rest of the summer! Now, enough of blogging–I think I hear some flashcards calling my name…

Hiking Sweat Mountain

Sweat Mountain

You may not consider Atlanta to be a particularly mountainous place, but there are actually several large prominences in the area that are termed “mountains.” Stone Mountain is most well known, and I’ve also hiked up Kennesaw Mountain, Sawnee Mountain, and Arabia Mountain, all in the area surrounding Atlanta. Today I drove over to Cobb County for the next chapter of my Atlanta mountain climbing adventures: Sweat Mountain! (515 metres above sea level)

I made a virtual visit with Google Street View beforehand, and it looked promising. The mountain is in a residential area, with a lot of radio and cell phone towers on the top. I parked on Wigley Road just past the place where Summitop Road begins.

No TrespassingI only hiked about 0.7 km one way up Summitop Road, but it was quite strenuous (and yes, I did sweat!). I marched past lots of fancy houses, finally reaching a turnaround with another road leading off from it. Unfortunately, once I reached that point, I was greeted by a sign stating unequivocally “No Trespassing,” “Private Property,” “Private Road.” According to the satellite photos, this private road is the only road that leads to the top of the mountain, but being a law-abiding citizen, I decided not to proceed.

Mystery MountainEven though I couldn’t go all the way to the top, there was a decent view as I went back down, and I even spotted a little conical mountain that seemed to be located to the southwest. Looking at the map now, it looks like it may have been one end of Kennesaw Mountain that I was seeing, or maybe it was Blackjack Mountain, a peak hitherto unknown to me! That may be my next mountain climbing destination.

So if you are contemplating a trip to Sweat Mountain, I would recommend it if you live nearby. It is a nice little hike with good views. Just keep in mind that you cannot go all the way to the top, unless you want to face prosecution for criminal trespassing!