Undaunted Courage

I’ve recently finished a book by Stephen E. Ambrose called Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. The title itself was adapted from the way the Thomas Jefferson described Lewis a few years after his death.

The book covers the years leading up to the expedition (which gives some great insight into young American politics and lifestyle), with most of its chapters covering the expedition itself, and finishes with a description of Lewis’s death. When Jefferson prepared Lewis for the journey up the Missouri river, it was made clear to him that he had to document everything: scientific information like the plants, animal life, soil condition, position of the stars, terrain and other things like the disposition of the natives, their language, culture, lifestyle, etc.

This is why their journey is so fascinating to read about. There is not a lot of room for fiction here, for both captains Lewis and Clark were journaling themselves. Ambrose was able to report accurately what they saw and experienced because they were disciplined at detailed writing. It also draws a lot of material from the correspondence Lewis, Clark, Lewis’s mother, and Thomas Jefferson had via letters. Life in America was so different just 200 years ago.

This is not a review (I enjoyed it too much to be critical of it). It has a great and tragic end as well. The book was a great read and I’m glad to recommend it. I’d also like to thank my friend Kurt who recommended it to me so many years ago.



From Eliza Jane – January 2012
From Eliza Jane – January 2012
From Eliza Jane – January 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Sillas! We hope you enjoyed a great feast and a celebration of Jesus today!

Santa Monica – November 25, 2011

The day after a delightful Thanksgiving Day feast we enjoyed a trip to Santa Monica. Our intent was to visit the small city-run Aquarium, but it was closed due to the holiday, we still enjoyed some wild-life.

Throughout our outing Claire hummed a Rosie Thomas song (from her fantastic record, A Very Rosie Christmas), which is a very obvious indication that she was quite pleased with our time.

Autumn 2011 (with one eye open)

Here are some photographs taken this past week. These were taken on Kodak Max 400 with a Canon EOS Rebel Ti, the lens was a Canon 50 mm EF f/1.8.

Eliza in the bumbo...
Drooling means teething, and all this means our baby is growing up.

Lisa and Eliza
Lisa and Eliza.


This is a little hard to explain, but let’s say it is circus rehearsal.


Spin Art
Micaela and Claire using the Spin Art machine.

Spin Art Results
Spun art…

Eat mor chikin
Eat mor chikin

Eat mor chikin
Eat mor waffle fries…

Doing what she does best…

The rainbow seen from West Creek Park
The rainbow seen from West Creek Park

The Claires
The Claires high above Central Park.

Climbing trees
Climbing trees

One of the children we were entrusted with this weekend made it pretty high up this tree. Can you identify where she is? Here is some help.

More to come…

Fighting fire with fire

“Sin only has power by virtue of its promises. Nobody sins out of duty… the only way therefore to sever the root of that offer of satisfaction is the promise of a superior satisfaction and that’s God…”

-John Piper, How Does Future Grace Work Against Sin?

Our trouble with words…

If we are going to understand our trouble with words, we must begin with the heart. Our tongues are a restless evil because the “heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). Word problems reveal heart problems. The people and situations around us do not make us say what we say; they are only the occasion for our hearts to reveal themselves in words.

Paul David Tripp, War of Words, page 55