March 11, 2015

Four Years Later

Posted in Blogging, Faith, Favorite Quotes, Japan, Just Life tagged , , at 9:13 pm by catsinboxes

There are some dates you will never forget.  Today is one of those dates.

*Originally published on March 11, 2011, at the LEX Language Project blog:

It started with a faint rumbling. I could feel the floor vibrating under my feet. Around the office, people stopped work; there were exclamations, and then everything really started shaking. Within a few moments, I was sitting under my desk and listening to the sound of cabinets and everything else in the office being shaken by the earthquake.

This was my first earthquake in Japan. I knew Japan had earthquakes, so I was a bit surprised when my supervisor told me I should let my mom know I was okay. Wasn’t this a normal earthquake?

In the hours since then, and one powerful aftershock later, I have come to understand that this was much more than a standard earthquake. In fact, this was the largest recorded earthquake in the history of Japan . . .

I was in Tokyo when it happened.  It doesn’t seem like four years ago.  In many ways, it feels like only a short time ago.

Then, and in the following days, God was faithful.  Just thinking back brings a rush of memories.  Listening to Praise You in the Storm and not getting it, on my way to work that morning.  Listening to it the next day, and understanding.

Reading Isaiah.  Remembering Isaiah 41:10.  Remembering God’s promises, and though I was scared, not being afraid.

Singing You Raise Me Up in Japanese with believers that following Sunday, joining hands and praying.  The power in that calm moment.  “Do not be afraid; I am with you.  Be not dismayed . . . I am your God.”

Four years later, and all these memories can slip, but they come rushing back.  They come on March 11.  They come at other times.  So please, take a moment, and do not forget.  Remember Japan.  And say a prayer because, 4 years later, many people are remembering this day.

March 5, 2015

Whatever the Weather . . .

Posted in Favorite Quotes, Just Life, Poetry tagged , , at 12:38 pm by catsinboxes

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Whether the weather be fine

Or whether the weather be not,

Whether the weather be cold

Or whether the weather be hot,

We’ll weather the weather,

Whatever the weather,

Whether we like it or not.

—Anonymous

March 3, 2015

Children’s Music

Posted in Just Life, Music tagged , , , , at 9:03 pm by catsinboxes

I’m dating myself. . . . I love to listen to children’s CDs from the 90s or earlier.  Babysitting toddlers has given me the excuse chance to revisit the music of my childhood.

So, for a trip down memory lane, or for some fun children’s music suggestions: read on!

Raffi.  How good does it get?  “Banana phone,” “Biscuits in the Oven,” “Simple Gifts” . . . So fun!  I love the really old albums.  The newer ones, meh.  “Gonna lay down my sword and shield, down by the riverside . . .”  I dare you not to start tapping your feet.

The Washing Machine Song!  And “I’m Being Swallowed by a Boa Constrictor,” these are good.  I may or might not have done some talent show skits using The Chenille Sister’s hokey pokey.  That’s another story.

 

Yes, it was just like this!  The cassette and the booklet . . . I have so many of these songs stuck in my head:  “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” “Sweet Betsy from Pike,” and many more.

 

 

Oh yes, nursery rhymes.  Don’t get me started on nursery rhymes: treasured BBC tapes brought back from England by Dad and listened to again, and again, and again.

Best thing is, they’re still around today.  Check out The Wheels on the Bus.  It’s wonderful, replete with British accents.  I think I’m going to get this one for my iPhone . . . for the children’s sake :-)

Entering the world of folk, there is:

Oh yes.  Pastures of Plenty, Leatherwing Bat, and —my favorite— The Fox.

Back to early childhood . . . This is such a wonderful bedtime CD.  I love Herdman’s voice: deep, gentle, and melodious.  Favorites?  “Autumn to May” and “Waltzing with Bears.”

Finger-snapping, toe-tapping fun . . . Just listen to Froggy Went a Courtin!

Just writing this post has been so much fun.  Thank you, Mom, for a childhood filled with music!  (And this isn’t even touching all the children’s classical music we loved!)

What did you grow up listening to?  What are your favorite songs and albums?   

 

 

February 28, 2015

Literary Heroine Blog Party

Posted in Bible, Blogging, Books, Jane Austen, Just Life tagged at 6:35 pm by catsinboxes

Q.  Introduce yourself! Divulge your life’s vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random!

 My name is Hayley, and I’m a book-loving, Bible-reading, midwest girl transplanted to Louisville, Kentucky, and working on a degree in Humanities at Boyce College.  

Q.  What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine?

At risk of sounding like Caroline Bingley extolling the merits of a true lady, a true heroine must have common sense and back-bone.  She must possess a sense of humor and, if at all possible, she must like books!  Even more importantly, she must be empathetic and care about others —not everyone, we can’t all be Jane Bennets— but she must have some connection with other people.   

Q.  Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to.

  • Elinor Dashwood —Definitely number one!  
  • Emma Woodhouse —I plead guilty of being all too like Emma at times
  • Emily of Deep Valley —I’ve had a lot of waiting periods in my life, especially —like Emily— not going on to college right away.  (Here’s a review written much closer to that time in my life.)  
  • Anne Elliot —I’m not as quiet as Anne, but I do hope that as I grow older, I emulate Jane Austen’s most mature of heroines.

Q.  Five of your favorite historical novels?

  1. Sense and Sensibility
  2. Emma
  3. The Hobbit
  4. Persuasion
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird

Q.  Out of those five books who is your favorite major character and why?

Elinor Dashwood . . . I understand her!

Q.  Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Mr. Knightley —he feels the most “real” of all Jane Austen’s men.  He is a friend first and not afraid to call Emma out on her short-comings.  

Q.  If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to – and what would you plan to do there?

I’d travel to the United Kingdom and visit battlefields, bookstores, castles, cathedrals, and museums —as many literary and historical places as I could cram into my vacation.  (Fun fact, I lived in London for 6 weeks when I was 12.  I can’t wait to go back someday!)

Q.  What is your favorite time period and culture to read about?

Ooh, hard!  Right now it would be Regency England, but I love Homefront Britain during WWII, and Pre-Revolutionary War Boston.  

Q.  You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation, tap dancing… what is your act comprised of?

I love poetry, so I’d be happy to recite something, and then I’d finish with a piano solo, probably this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UaHl3d8Rlg 

Q.  If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent?

Hermione Granger; I have both the character and the bushy brown hair! 

Q.  Favorite author(s)?

Besides Jane Austen: Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Goudge, C. S. Lewis, Angie Sage, Dorothy Sayers, Josephine Tey, J. R. R. Tolkien and P. G. Wodehouse. . . to name a few  

Q.  In which century were most of the books you read written?

20th century with several notable exceptions!

Q.  In your opinion, the ultimate hero in all literature is…

Lord Peter Wimsey, my first literary crush 

Q.  In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is…

Moriarty is a classic but, really?  Lord Voldemort!

Q.  Describe your ideal dwelling place.

Bag End, or a quiet farm in the country 

Q.  Sum up your fashion style in a short sentence.

Classic but relaxed: I love dressing up, but I also love my jeans!

Q.  Three favorite Non-fiction books?

Taking the Bible as a given:

  1. Oxford Companion to English Literature (I love reading this reference book!)
  2. Tempted and Tried by Russell Moore (Wonderful, theological book)
  3. At Home with Beatrix Potter (Beautiful coffee-table book with gorgeous pictures)

Q.  Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon?

Yup, an Indiana Jones hat for me!

I’m imagining a summer day back home in Wisconsin —Kentucky summer days are far too hot!  I’d go walking with Mom, then, after my walk, walk out to the barn to see the horses and go out in the pasture barefoot to socialize (being very careful to mind my feet!)  After that I’d head inside, grab a glass of iced tea mixed with lemonade, and find a nice spot outside to read a book or catch up on journaling.  

Q.  Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat – in such a way as will best portray your true character.

While I’d love a beautiful hat, I’m on the adventurous side, so I’ll go for a Australian oilskin hat or a fedora.  If I didn’t wear a helmet horseback riding, that is what I’d be wearing!

Q.  Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year.

Joining Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville; I am so thankful for my new “home” church.

Q.  Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently.

I love how the psalms are filled with the idea and admonition to wait on the Lord.  Psalm 33:20-22 so clearly ties this waiting with joy and hope in the Lord.  I’m learning to live this daily.

Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.   For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.   Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. 

February 20, 2015

When a Book Lover meets a Book Lover

Posted in Books, Humor, Just Life, Singleness tagged , , , at 4:08 pm by catsinboxes

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I stepped into a bookstore today.  Being a book lover and also a C. S. Lewis lover, I noticed a C. S. Lewis book in the recent releases and was headed toward it, when an employee distracted me,

“How are you doing?”

“I’m doing well. . . . How are you?”  Polite platitudes.

Then, the unexpected.  “Doing well, doing well . . . living the dream.”

Distracted, I really looked at him: young with a beard that Spurgeon wouldn’t be ashamed of . . . . He was putting some finishing touches on a display area.  (40% off commentaries, or some such theological deal!)

“What?  Working in a bookstore?”

“Yes, I love books!”

“Oh, I love books too, but I’ve never worked in a bookstore.”

He proceeded to say, with enthusiasm, that it was really interesting.  I may, or might not, upon leaving a few moments later have glanced to see if he was wearing a ring.  And on that note, if you’re a book-loving girl, you should definitely see this Instagram page!

February 19, 2015

Snowbound with Station Eleven and Jane Austen

Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Dystopia, England, Favorite Quotes, Jane Austen, Movie Reviews tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:53 pm by catsinboxes

It snowed this week, quite impressively for Louisville, blanketing the city and wreaking havoc on roads, schools, and schedules.

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;

I didn’t complain when my quiet weekend was extended by one day. (Though I did frown at my nearly-empty carton of eggs.)

As the snow fell outside, I made hot tea and settled down to read Station Eleven. (While the library has over a hundred people on the waiting list for this National Book Award Finalist, I lucked out and was lent a copy by a fellow reader.) Another book-loving friend had described Station Eleven as an absorbing page-turner, and it was a fun.

Resembling Dickens in its cast of characters and twisting story lines, Station Eleven darts back and forth, weaving the tale of a group of people across a number of years who are bound together by one man. Just after the book begins a pandemic sweeps across the world. It was almost eerie, reading about civilization crumbling in Station Eleven‘s world while —outside— the city ground to a halt, immobilized by snow.

I wouldn’t recommend Station Eleven unreservedly, but it is definitely an engaging book.

Another highlight of my quiet week was watching the 1995 BBC version of Persuasion with a fellow British drama lover. I. Love. That. Story.

Persuasion falls into my top three Jane Austen novels. It was my last to discover. . . . I was an early teen at the library and, locating Jane Austen in the fiction section, realized that here was one story of hers that I had not read. That was soon remedied!

Anne Elliot, the last heroine completed by Jane Austen, has depth. (And Amanda Root does a lovely job of displaying this in the movie!)

The movie is a wonderful adaption —my favorite for Persuasion. The casting is great and though I didn’t catch it last time, Harry Potter lovers, did you realize AUNT PETUNIA is Mrs. Croft?! It’s so funny to see her as a good character for a change, and actress Fiona Shaw does a lovely job.

I love the Crofts in both the movie and the book, and I’ve never forgotten Anne’s observations regarding the Crofts as they are out driving in their carriage. Mrs. Croft exclaims:

My dear Admiral, that post! we shall certainly take that post.”

But by coolly giving the reins a better direction herself they happily passed the danger; and by once afterwards judiciously putting out her hand they neither fell into a rut, nor ran foul of a dung-cart; and Anne, with some amusement at their style of driving, which she imagined no bad representation of the general guidance of their affairs, found herself safely deposited by them at the Cottage.

So, that’s part of what I enjoyed during this snowy week. How about you? Please do leave a comment; I love people chiming in!

January 5, 2015

Another Year

Posted in Cats, Just Life tagged at 10:14 am by catsinboxes

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And cats are still in boxes!

August 7, 2014

Beginning Again

Posted in Blogging, Books, Favorite Quotes, Just Life tagged , , at 8:38 pm by catsinboxes

It has been a long summer. There has been so much to write about . . . I have started to compose blog posts in my head. Then I have stopped.

What is the point? I love to write, but I have been busy, and working. But there is another reason I have not been writing, the reason for my last post:

Granddaddy. I miss him. Memories come back and catch me, sometimes unexpected.

Making coffee in the French press yesterday, I suddenly remembered his detailed instructions last year, when I was visiting. He showed me how to use a French press, explaining carefully just how to manipulate the plunger.

So I smile, and catch my breath, and blink before I can cry, but it hurts. And then, with that memory, comes another.

That is the funny thing about memories, how they flow together. For some reason, I keep thinking of a time, probably over a decade ago, when he visited Wisconsin. We went for a walk in our woods, just the two of us.

Fall

The path was rough, it was a new path then –not the beaten old path it is today. I think it was fall because the woods were bare, but the weather was perfect for a walk. As he walked along, he gave me a lecture about the correct use of words. He told me how many words today are not used properly, like effect versus affect. He told me about the sometimes comical misuse of some words in advertising. (Illustrating this with a story about a restaurant though I cannot remember which word was misused!)

P1080293And then, just as quickly, comes one, final memory. Why? I do not know, but I am so thankful. My grandfather was a soldier. He was gruff, yet he loved us so much, and he did not mind showing affection. He would give me hugs, and I remember them, brisk and slightly awkward, and then I –being female and affectionate– would finish by kissing his cheek -rather dry and slightly rough. And I remember the kiss.

Why? I don’t know. But I am so thankful that I have that memory.

What does all of this have to do with blogging? Because in the past couple years, I was so busy, and I blogged for him. He was so darn proud of this blog. He would remind me that people read it, so it was important I updated it. He was proud of all I have done as a writer, and he liked to see my writing. And so I would write, and I would write for him. Because I knew, in the faceless blogosphere, that hardly anyone would see my work . . . except that one person. I had one faithful reader, and that was reason enough to write.

I know other friends read this blog, and I am so thankful for you. But I know your lives are busy, I know you do not have time to catch every post. But he did. And he cared. And so I would write. Or I would intend to write. Sometimes a post became an email, sent off to him.

And now he is gone. And why should I write? Oh yes, I write for other things. I write letters, and I love writing for Redeemed Reader, but this blog is different.

Yet, as the summer concludes, and as fall stares me in the face with a daunting schedule, I need to write. And I need to write here. It is time to begin again. I pray I will be more consistent, especially now that I do not have a loyal reader (who never really understood blogging!) there to remind me, mournfully, that I have not posted for months.

In Out of the Silent Planet, there’s a beautiful line that I have been thinking about this summer:

And how could we endure to live and let time pass if we were always crying for one day or one year to come back -if we did not know that every day in a life fills the whole life with expectation and memory and that these are that day?

There is a place for sadness, that is why I cried as I wrote this post, but there is today and tomorrow and the beauty and glory of everyday grace . . . and how can I help but write?

June 6, 2014

The Love of a Good Man

Posted in Faith, Just Life, WWII tagged , , , at 8:55 pm by catsinboxes

70 years ago, today, a young soldier landed on Omaha Beach. He arrived in a later wave, not one of the first waves, waves that were mown down by machine gun fire.

Charlie - Dover - April 1945

Later, he would remember and tell his grandchildren about the dead rabbits he saw. Since the Germans had blocked the beaches, the rabbit population had thrived, but the initial allied bombardment had killed many of the rabbits. He never mentioned the bodies, just the rabbits.

He was 18 years old the summer of 1944, the son of a Georgia sharecropper. He had wanted to join the war and fight for his country, and he was glad when he was drafted. His employer was not glad and quite upset to be losing such a fine, hard-worker.

In the days following D-Day, the young soldier’s unit moved across theNormandy. He remember these days and would tell the light-hearted stories . . .

The time he hit the ground during machine gun fire, only to find himself in a bed of the most delicious strawberries. . .

Or, sober stories:

As a forward observer, his pack got tangled and his buddy, Private Walter Moore from Chatanooga, TN, was trying to loosen it. Moore had just given up when a German round, probably a mortar, exploded right next to them. Moore took the full impact of the explosion.

Years later, after the war, the young soldier took a train through Chatanooga. He wanted to stop, to find Moore’s family and talk to them, but he was not able to do it. Like many soldiers, he would be haunted by the question, Why him and not me?

Only God knows the answer to that question, but I know the rest of the young soldier’s story.

Charlie at Siegfried Line, Germany March 1946

He served in Europe through the rest of World War II. After the war, he became an officer. He returned to Europe during the postwar years, and also served in China until the Communist take-over.

While in Germany, he met a young, American school teacher. He returned to the United States, but a correspondence blossomed. He proposed in a letter, she accepted, and they were married.

Charlie and Jan in front of Chapel - July 14, 1962

He served in two more wars: Korea and Vietnam.

He was the father of four daughters and, in time, the grandfather of 11 grandchildren.

Charlie with Holly - 10 weeks

Last Sunday, he went home to be with the Lord. He was 89 years old.

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He loved God. He loved his family, and he loved his country.

He was my grandfather.

His story is not unlike the story of many other men whom we remember today, yet for me it is so much more than a story. It is a life well and fully lived. I am proud to be his granddaughter.

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May 21, 2014

Wordsworth Wednesday

Posted in Bible, Creative Writing, Faith, Favorite Quotes, Just Life, Poetry tagged , , , , at 7:31 am by catsinboxes

No, this has nothing to do with Wordsworth except that it has something to do with poetry.  Also, in light of the popularity of Wordless Wednesday, and since in the English language there is not a day of the week to lend alliteration to poetry, I will get creative.  I am not very familiar with Wordsworth, and though I would like to better my acquaintance, I will not quote him at the moment.  Instead, I will share my own poem.

Today, I read D.A. Carson’s commentary on Hebrews 7.  In closing, he urges his readers to meditate upon verses 23-25.

The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.  Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him , since he always lives to make intercession for them.

I love those words.

Sunset on Superior

Praise His name, the Son of David,

Praise His name, the reigning King.

Praise His name, He saves the broken,

Praise His name, He intercedes.

Praise His name, He reigns forever,

Praise His name, He saves the lost.

Praise His name, He is returning,

He vanquished death upon the cross.

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