May 23, 2013
I know I’m not a slave to my laptop, or the internet, when I lose internet connection for almost a day and do not go insane. Note, I didn’t say that I did not become annoyed and irritable to the point of –sometimes– snapping. Maybe that happened, a little. Mostly, I had to see the humor in how much our culture has become enslaved to technology! We just can’t function properly without multiple browser tabs running and our iTouch always handy and ready to give us the latest news, weather, FB messages, Twitter feeds, and more.
Now the internet is back –conditionally–, so I’m going to try to post this. Then I’m going to get off the laptop and write some letters the old fashioned way and clean some dishes the new-fangled way. –Gotta love dishwashers!–
May 20, 2013
Definitely a LOVE here. It might be the hundreth time, but mist always makes me happy!
It stormed last night, so this morning there is a freshness and greenness everywhere that only follows rain. And besides all the poetic, natural beauty, there is also the little things to love.
- Bright-eyed children up at 6:15 and ready to go hunt for bugs
- A happy golden retriever who’s still dozing & then comes wagging up to greet you
- Encouraging comment from a FB friend concerning my writing; thank you, Cindy!
- Birds singing outside (okay, poetic and natural, but whatever, it’s a little thing that I love!)
- Hungry cats chirruping and petitioning to be fed
- Happy children –also hungry– back inside to eat and read
What I don’t love:
- Not being awake until my morning coffee kicks in
- Being uber-auditory during Bible time: ”STOP shuffling those books in the other room, this instant for my sanity’s sake!!!”
May 19, 2013
Today marks what I do believe is a first on this blog: since last Sunday, I have blogged every day. For me, that’s a milestone!
The past week has been good, definitely full and busy. All along, I’ve been planning ahead, and I knew what I wanted to write about on Sunday. I wanted to blog about a fight. Not a physical fight yet one that is occurring continually all around us. I love how God makes everything work together, so I can’t say I was surprised when I sat down in church today to see that our sermon’s title was: “War Time Mentality.”
Wonder what that means? Here’s a great quote from John Piper that Pastor Greg used to begin his message:
Thousands of Christians do not hear the diabolic bombs dropping and the bullets singing overhead. They don’t smell the hellish Agent Orange in the whitened harvest of the world. They don’t cringe or weep at the millions who perish every week. They don’t reckon with spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places and the world rulers of this present darkness. “In fact, it is not dark,” they say. “It is bright and comfortable and cheery. Just look at my home and car and office and cabin and boat, and listen to my new disc player.”
As Christians we should be aware that there is a battle raging at this moment, and, in the words of J.C. Ryle, “If we would be holy, we must fight. . . . True Christianity is a fight.” J.C. Ryle goes on to clarify what he means by “true Christianity” in a passage I found very convicting to the state of Christianity in modern America:
There are thousands of men and women who go to churches and chapels every Sunday, and call themselves Christians. . . . They are reckoned Christians while they live. They are married with a Christian marriage service. They mean to be buried as Christians when they die. But you never see any “fight” about their religion! Of spiritual strife , and exertion, and conflict, and self-denial, and watching, and warring, they know literally nothing at all. Such Christianity may satisfy man, and those who say anything against it may be thought very hard and uncharitable; but it is certainly not the Christianity of the Bible. It is not the religion which the Lord Jesus founded, and his apostles preached. It is not the religion which produces real holiness. True Christianity is a fight.
This begs the question: fighting what? Each other? Bickering over theological thimbles and splitting hairs over secondary or tertiary doctrines? No!
The principal fight of the Christian is with the world, the flesh, and the devil.
We have to realize that the moment we become Christians, we have an enemy who is doing his best to take us out, and the best thing we can do for him is to be complacent and unaware of our own danger.
Is being a Christian easy? No, it is not! There is a fight, and there are times when we are wounded and brought low, times when we are besieged by doubts and paralyzed by worry. At times like these, it can be so hard. You can ask, “What am I doing wrong? Why is everything bad happening that possibly can?”
There can be times when that question is helpful. But another helpful question is to ask the opposite, “What am I doing right?” Because if you’re stepping out in faith, if you are striving to grow closer to God, if you are trying to weed that particular sin out of your life, then you are a target for the opposition.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
It’s a terrifying array of forces, all with more power than most of us can comprehend. –Our sermon was on Daniel 10 today, in which a demon, ‘The Prince of Persia,’ manages to keep an angel from ministering to Daniel for 3 weeks. If these forces can take on an angel, what about me??–
It is daunting, but at the same time, I am really encouraged by the fact that, when we –Christians– feel an “inward fight and struggle . . . It is the invariable companion of genuine Christian holiness.” (Ryle) Often, when life just seems to keep throwing us curveballs, I’ll look at Mom and say, “Well, I guess we’re doing something right!”
Because this fight isn’t one we should be afraid of entering; no, it is a fight that has ultimately already been won. We’re battling a foe who was already defeated at the cross. Not only that, but we have weapons (Ephesians 6) that are not of our own craftsmanship, but made by the King.
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ . . .
Another Sunday is past, another week is beginning. Fellow Christians, let us not be complacent to the fight that is waging at this moment. The stakes are eternal, and victory is certain.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. -I Corinthians 15:58
May 18, 2013
After shopping and getting many bargains on books yesterday, this afternoon I stocked up on my wardrobe at Nice as New. And after that, we went grocery shopping at Aldi. I’m already looking forward to shopping at Aldi once I’m on my own down in Louisville; the prices are great! Am I Scotch? Absolutely!!!
(And you might note the order I bought things reflects Erasmus’ priorities: books first, then food and clothes. I’d say the latter two are interchangeable!)
May 17, 2013
It’s the end of the day, I’m another day older. And I’m tired. But oh do I have some new books! You see, there was . . .
A Library Book Sale Today
And it was a good one. I have two tote-bags of books to prove that, and I’m already thinking how library booksales themselves deserve a post. But that is for later. For now, let me show you five books that I got today and am excited to read.
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester
-Word nerd that I am, this looks very intriguing! Also, it’s relatively thin, so it should be a quick read.
Dictionary of Chivalry by Grant Uden
-I know, you’re thinking, “whaaat?” I glanced at it in passing and thought “Oh, that’d be interesting. I don’t need it.” –Told you I was a word nerd.– And then I saw the illustrator: Pauline Baynes. Mean anything to you? (For the uninformed or forgetful of names, she illustrated The Chronicles of Narnia.) Narnia fans, be jealous, it’s got lots of pictures!!!
Unbroken by Laura Hllenbrand
-I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, so I’m excited to have a beautiful, brand-new hardback w/dust jacket. Only a dollar; I LOVE the prices at booksales!
Not The End of the World by Geraldine McCaughrean
-I really enjoy Geraldine McCaughrean’s classic adaptations; she’s a name I know and respect. This book has the potential to be brilliant or blasphemous since it’s a fictitious account of the flood which seems to take some artistic license: adding a daughter of Noah to the mix. We’ll see . . . it was 50 cents.
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
-After reading Redeemed Reader’s review of this, I was intrigued. A dystopian future where cities are mechanized and move across barren wastelands. I love the first sentence: “It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.”
May 16, 2013
As an admitted C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien buff, this post is definitely an indulgence. Still, I know there’s a lot of us out there, so I hope some of you fellow Lewis and Tolkien lovers enjoy it, too!
If you take nature as a teacher she will teach you exactly the lessons you had already decided to learn; this is only another way of saying that nature does not teach. . . . Nature never taught me that there exists a God of glory and of infinite majesty. I had to learn that in other ways. But nature gave the word glory a meaning for me.
In any mind which has a pennyworth of imagination it produces a good attitude towards foreigners. How can I love my home without coming to realise that other men, no less rightly, love theirs?
The truly wide taste in reading is that which enables a man to find something for his needs on the sixpenny tray outside any secondhand bookshop. The truly wide taste in humanity will similarly find something to appreciate in the cross-section of humanity whom one has to meet every day.
A belief in invisible cats cannot perhaps be logically disproved, but it tells us a good deal about those who hold it. Those who cannot conceive Friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elaboration of Eros betray the fact that they have never had a Friend.
Wizards after all are wizards.
And what would you do, if an uninvited dwarf came and hung his things up in your hall without a word of explanation?
He had a horrible thought that the cakes might run short, and then he –as host he knew his duty and stuck to it however painful– he might have to go without.
Goodbye then, and really good-bye!” said Gandalf, and he turned his horse and rode down into the West. But he could not resist the temptation to have the last word. Before he had passed quite out of hearing he turned and put his hands to his mouth and called to them. They heard his voice come faintly: “Good-bye! Be good, take care of yourselves –and DON’T LEAVE THE PATH!”
May 15, 2013
If you, like me, were raised on a diet of fairytales, then Goldilocks is one of those classics that you cut your teeth on. As I came to this post though, I faced an interesting question. Is there one “classic” picture book version of Goldilocks? I really don’t think so though Goldilocks certainly does occur in many classic fairytale collections.
While I haven’t found (or remembered) a classic version, today I will highlight 3 different retellings of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Each is in print and available on Amazon; I’ve added links for each image, so if you click on the cover, it will take you right to the book on Amazon. One of them is wordless, hence my “Wordless Wednesday” tag –if you noticed and were wondering. So, without further ado, may I present . . .
Goldilocks and the Three Bears, retold and illustrated by Jan Brett. (1987)
Jan Brett’s version is lavishly illustrated and depicts the standard tale of one naughty little’s girl intrusion into the home of the 3 bears. While I enjoy this well-written version, I can only take Jan Brett’s art in small doses, so it is not my favorite. If you love Jan Brett and are looking for a standard retelling, then this is the book for you.
Deep in the Forest, by Brinton Turkle. (1976)
This book is unrivaled as my favorite, wordless version of a spin-off of Goldilocks. Yes, there’s a small, naughty creature invading a house and eating porridge, but the tables are reversed, and the culprit is a small, brown bear. Sneaking away from his mother and siblings, Small Bear discovers a log cabin with an open door. The chubby, golden-locked owner of the porridge, chair, and bed is away, and so Small Bear has a heyday. I love Brinton Turkle’s muted illustrations, and the way he casts this as a pioneer tale complete with a little house in the big woods and some very Scandinavian looking inhabitants. Without any words, he captures the emotion of this story: the unhappy howl of “Goldilocks” on discovering her broken chair, the bafflement of her mother, and the terror of the little bear once discovered. If you have a chance, buy this book! It will be worth every bit you spend, and you never have to tell the same story twice since it is wordless!
The Goldilocks Variations: A Pop-up Book, by Allan & Jessica Ahlberg (2012)
The Ahlbergs are back, but this time Allan pairs up with his daughter Jessica in a whimsical, interactive, and laugh-out-loud funny book which, as the title promises, after a retelling of the standard version of Goldilocks gives multiple variations on the tale. Complete with tabs to pull, flaps to lift, and even a miniature book within the book (for Goldilocks the Play, presented by Puss in Boots Productions), this is a child’s dream and will hold their interest to the end. The pictures are delightful; Jessica definitely has inherited both her late mother’s talent and style. The story is well-written, often humorous, and the vocabulary and word choices are excellent. To give you a sampling, this is how the “classic” version begins. “There was once a cheeky girl. Her name, or nickname rather, on account of her corn-colored hair, was Goldilocks.” Have I mentioned that the Ahlbergs are British? Yet another reason to love this book! Since this is recent, you can probably find it easily at your local library. Check it out, read it to your children, and have fun. This is one of those books that parents and adults can enjoy, too!
Do you have a favorite version of Goldilocks that I haven’t mentioned? Do share! I believe James Marshal has illustrated one, but we don’t have it, and I can’t remember that much aside from the fact that Goldilocks was fat and obnoxious looking! To see my review of another fairytale retelling by Allan Ahlberg, click HERE.
May 13, 2013
Brainstorming for blog posts is not recommended,
while lying in bed –sleep apprehended.
Tomorrow is Monday, Monday what?
I need an m-word that just hits the spot!
Mundane . . . morning . . . mayhem . . .
none good though some are true.
Alliteration’s clever but can be hard to do!
I went to sleep without a satisfactory answer, but it came to me this morning after my coffee. (Of course, much better timing!) It was perfect! I will reveal it in a moment, but first a quick note. While I have been away from blogging, I certainly haven’t been away from writing. I think I’ve written and brainstormed more recently than I have in a long time. I’ve written letters, emails, newsletters for Redeemed Reader, a book review, journal entries, story ideas, story snippets,
and –truthfully– quite a lot of blog ideas. And now, my friends, you will receive the fruit of my labors on the first . . .
Mention it Monday!
What to mention? Books, of course! I read a couple recently that I have wanted to highlight and, incidentally, the first both begins with an ‘M’ and was written by an author whose last name is also ‘M.’ (I am sorry, I’m just seeing ‘m’s all over the place this morning!) True to this blog post, the following are not reviews but mere mentions. (Hah, hah! Another allusion, oh I’m bad this morning!)
After reviewing Mara, Daughter of the Nile for Redeemed Reader, I decided to read another of McGraw’s books that I had often seen but never read. The Moorchild, written in 1996, won a Newbery Honor, so it is not lacking in appreciation from the children’s literature community. I enjoyed it –I love bringing children’s books with me when I travel; they are perfect airplane reading material! The story was enjoyable. It’s fantasy, and I am used to historical fiction from McGraw, so this was a bit different. It is very well-written, but after reading the gushing commendations on the back cover, I wonder how much of an agenda was behind it. Saaski is caught between two worlds: the world of the moor and the fairyfolk, and the world of the superstitious villagers. I feel like there is symbolism going on, and I’d like to dig deeper at some point, figuring out what McGraw believed and how it influenced The Moorchild.
I first read about this at Redeemed Reader. A look at Amazon’s sample left me intrigued; I
tracked it down at Barnes and Noble and spent about 5 minutes with my nose between the pages, but I just was too cheap to buy it! Retrospectively, I am glad I didn’t. My chance to read The Emerald Atlas came after it appeared at our library, and I remembered to look for it. I brought it on the same trip as The Moorchild, and as airport reading material, it served me very well. It is a thick book, think Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart trilogy, so it did keep me occupied! (Especially thanks to airport delays; imagine getting up at 4 something in the morning, only to get to the airport, find delays, and spend several hours on the tarmac waiting for weather to clear in Chicago. . . . Oh the joys of travel!) While definitely entertaining, I would say that The Emerald Atlas is a bit dark for younger readers. Personally, I really didn’t like the way time traveling worked out; it wasn’t logical in my opinion. The characters are interesting and likeable but sometimes their decisions are implausible and their thinking difficult to understand. There’s a sequel (I believe it will be a trilogy), but I am not itching to read it. Still, I might given the chance and another airplane flight.
And that, my dear readers, is the first of –hopefully– many more Mention it Mondays!