Ziphen Central

Seeking Wisdom and Sublimity

The Tale of a Dinner

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander

“Matilda,” said Mr. Sanders, putting his head in at the kitchen door, “Brother Grice and Brother Lee, from Bumbleton, are here, and will remain to dinner.”

Mr. Sanders was a preacher, who preached at Bumbleton once a month; Matilda was his wife.

“Mercy on me!” she said, staring at him; but in a moment her gaze wandered past him across the field—still farther. She was wondering what she would have for dinner.

“Well,” said Mr. Sanders, fidgeting about the door, “they are in the sitting room, and I must go back. It is ten o’clock, Matilda.”

“I know,” she said, trying to smile. “I’ll have dinner on time; never fear. Go back to your company.”

He looked back as he turned to go, saying, in a hesitating sort of way: “You—you can make out, Matilda.”

“I think so,” she answered. “Did I ever fail?” (keep reading)

Posted on 28 November 2011 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Ailenroc's Book

Fall at the Bruce Farm

View album on Flickr

This week I present to you some pictures I took last fall at my home on Quail Ridge in Parker County, Texas. Little did I know that that would be my last fall to spend there! This year for Thanksgiving I will soon be heading to my family’s new abode near Jefferson, Texas, in Marion County.

Posted on 8 November 2011 by Mashkioya
Filed under: nature,photography

Hymn of the Week – How Sweet, How Heavenly

Poetry by Joseph Swain, 1792
Music by William Bradbury, 1844
Sound recording

How sweet, how heavenly is the sight,
When those that love the Lord
In one another’s peace delight,
And so fulfill His Word.

When each can feel his brother’s sigh,
And with him bear a part;
When sorrow flows from eye to eye,
And joy from heart to heart.

When, free from envy, scorn, and pride,
Our wishes all above,
Each can his brother’s failings hide,
And show a brother’s love.

When love, in one delightful stream,
Through every bosom flows,
When union sweet, and dear esteem,
In every action glows.

Love is the golden chain that binds
The happy souls above;
And he’s an heir of Heaven who finds
His bosom glow with love.

Posted on 6 November 2011 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Christianity,Hymn of the Week,poetry


I have often wondered about the word “talent.” In English it is almost equivalent to “ability,” and it seems to be derived from the similar Greek word τάλαντον. There’s a discrepancy, however: this Greek word is the name of a measurement of weight, about 59 kg or 130 lbs. As an extension of that, the word also came to mean the amount of coins that weighed that much, which understandably would be a very large sum of money. So are these words related? If so, how did this association come about? These questions were answered by a recent visit to and Wikipedia.

Not surprisingly, the Greek word came first. It was borrowed by Latin as talentum, and in the Middle Ages it underwent a semantic shift. Influenced by Jesus’s “parable of the talents” in Matthew 25, people started using the word to mean abilities, which fits nicely with the parable—after all, God does want us to use our abilities for Him, and to gain more in the process. This old word with a new meaning was then passed to Old English as talente, and the rest is history.

Now that that’s cleared up, maybe you can read Matthew 25 in a new light. It seems that throughout my life I have always heard the parable taught with the abilities application, and while that is certainly legitimate (Jesus does not explicitly say what the talents represent), the application can really be much broader. What about your time, money, and other resources that God has entrusted to you? Is not each of us responsible for being good stewards of these things, to return them with interest to the One who loaned them to us?

Posted on 5 November 2011 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Christianity,English,Greek,history

A Dream

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander

Last night in dreams I wandered
By the river’s pebbly strand,
While a bonnie boy and winsome girl
Held me by either hand.

But in my dream they vanished,
Though I sought them far and wide
With prayers and tears of anguish
By the river’s rolling tide.

I awoke. Wet was my pillow
With my unavailing tears,
And I knew that my bonnie babes
Were gone on the tide of years.

Posted on 3 November 2011 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Ailenroc's Book,poetry

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