Monday, December 31, 2007

A New Venture

I am beginning the next year with a whole new venture. Small, but fun! Stay tuned...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Some Days I Feel Like Odie...

...but most days my Garfield-like superiority complex takes over. Hey, I'm just being honest here.

I had a Garfield comic book when I was young, and this strip was in it. It's interesting how 25 years later I still remember this particular cartoon, but last night at the store, couldn't remember 7 items on my list.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 Book Recap

This was a rather slow year for reading in my life. I am just now settling into a rhythm in the evenings that is more beneficial to spending time with the written word. Here is a mostly inclusive list from the past 12 months. I left out books that were total fluff, or that I didn't finish, or that were so bad that I couldn't recommend them at all. Although there are a couple on that list that I may end up reviewing just to have an excuse to rant. As if I need an excuse!

  • The Road to Reality (by KP Yohannan): My 3rd or 4th time through. I read this book when I need to be reminded of what my priorities should be.
  • The Last Days (by Joel Rosenberg): 2nd in a series...not as good as the first, but I'll probably keep going.
  • Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead (by Anne Morrow Lindbergh): read my most recent review here.
  • Miss Julia Strikes Back (by Ann B Ross): Light, but not fluffy, this is the 7th or 8th in the Miss Julia series. I like her character's practical outlook on life, and that fact that she is a woman "of a certain age", something lacking in much of today's fiction.
  • The Moonstone (by Wilkie Collins): My 2nd attempt...and I made it. Once I got into the story, I enjoyed it greatly.
  • The Remarkable Record of Job (by Henry Morris): A wonderful commentary on the book of Job, looking more at the marvels of creation and the power of God than on the suffering of Job.
  • Faith Undone (by Roger Oakland): Interesting book on the emerging church. Roger is not the best writer in the world, but he is very well researched and his content is important.
  • The Decoration of Houses (by Alexandra Stoddard): A textbook for decoration. I enjoyed it and was inspired by this book.
  • With Christ in the School of Prayer (by Andrew Murray): Read this for a discipleship/leadership class. I plan to go through it again this year with no agenda in mind. It's meant to be a 30 day book, and we had 2 weeks!
  • Friends, Lovers, and Chocolate (by Alexandar McCall Smith): #2 in a series. Loved it. I don't subscribe to the main character's worldview, but for fiction, I enjoyed the literary twists.
  • Mornings on Horseback (by David McCullough): Bio of Theodore Roosevelt. After visiting Medora, ND, I really enjoyed learning more about this man. Highly recommend this book.
  • The Last Jihad (by Joel Rosenberg): First in a series. Riveting.
  • The Bad Quarto (by Jill Paton Walsh): A mystery. Well written, and thought provoking.
    Living a Beautiful Life (by Alexandra Stoddard): read a few thoughts here.
  • Why Revival Tarries (by Leonard Ravenhill): Ouch. Excellent book. Very convicting. Ouch.
  • George Muller (by Basil Miller): Another read for our class. I dislike poorly written bios, but I love George Muller's faith.
  • The Soulwinner (by Charles Spurgeon): The first half of the book is excellent and conversational. The second half gets rather bogged down in the tedious. Overall, a worthwhile read.
  • The Sunday Philosophy Club (by Alexander McCall Smith): read my review here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Book Review: Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead

Anne Lindbergh was only 23 when she wrote the letters and diary entries found in Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead. I was impressed that, while she was still so youthful, she was also extremely literate. She writes to her family with amazing candor about "celebrity" and being followed by the media of the day. She touches upon her fears about motherhood, and in a section that is very poignent, she frets to her mother over the safety of her little son.

Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead is the second in a series of 5 books containing Anne Morrow Lindbergh's personal letters and diaries. I didn't realize that when I picked it up, but it stands alone, and was an enjoyable and thoughtful read. This book covers the period of 1929-1932, during which Anne married Charles Lindbergh, gave birth to their first child, and flew to the Orient with C.L.

But the Hour of Lead is the most riveting section, detailing the infamous "Lindbergh kidnapping" and the death of the Lindbergh's first son.

Anne was pregnant with her second son when little Charlie disappeared. As we know from history, after ten weeks of negotiations with kidnappers, the boy's body was found not far from their home. He had been killed the first day.

The book caused me to reflect upon my own grandparents, who also lost a child when my grandmother was carrying my mother. They never found out what happened to the boy that they lost, it is generally thought that he drowned, and I don't believe that either my Grandpa or Grandma really recovered from it.

Anne Lindbergh expressed her concerns that she would not be able to feel for the second child what she had for the first, that she would be always comparing the two. I wonder if this is how my grandmother felt. My grandmother's family was thousands of miles away in a time when travel was not easily available. Anne Lindbergh was blessed to have the close and loving support of her family, which greatly comforted her.

This book affected me in that it caused me to think about others, and to look at my grandmother (who was difficult, to say the least) with a different eye...perhaps a more sympathetic one.

Overall, a good read. I recommend it and am looking forward to reading North to the Orient, the chronicles of Anne and Charles Lindbergh's 1931 trip to Alaska, Russia, China, and Japan.

Quote of the Day: Matthew Henry

It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our final day.
~Matthew Henry

Amen, Mr. Henry. It's all about eternity...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Another Case of my Quotes Smacking Me Around A Bit...

This is why I need to pay attention to what I put on my blog...
I just wrote (and then deleted) a long, ranting, whining post about what I don't like about Christmas. Lest you think I am a total humbug, there are lots of things I do like...I am just in a self-pitying, self-absorbed, self-I-think-I-see-a-trend mood.
And then as I was posting it, I reread the quote from Spurgeon that I posted this morning. Interesting how the Lord uses things that I have said (or, in this case, quoted) to smack me upside the head.

Quote of the Day: Charles Spurgeon

If we cannot believe God when circumstances seem to be against us, we do not believe Him at all.
~Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Quote of the Day: Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"I am reading Jane Austen to calm my nerves."
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh in a letter to her sister during a period of great busy-ness

That's the way I feel about Jane a cup of tea with my feet up at the end of a long day.

Now Here is a Promise You Don't Ever Hear About...

When was the last time you came upon this verse in your Bible Promise Book?

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

But why isn't it among the greatly quoted promises?

Isn't it all about the results of the persectution and suffering? What happens in my life when I suffer? And what happens in other peoples' lives as a result of my suffering?

According to the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4: 17-18: For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

When we are suffering, when we are persecuted, the Lord is working out His purposes in our lives. Suffering leads to dependence upon Him, it leads to godly living, and it leads to opportunities to minister to others. Really, it's not about me. It's about my response to the Holy God in the middle of trials. It's about how He is transforming me into His image through my brokenness.

It is for His glory. Not mine.

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it;
For how should My name be profaned?
And I will not give My glory to another.
Isaiah 48:10-11

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Was Feeling Smug Until I Compared Myself to Someone Smarter

Hey, this is funny. You can type in your URL and this magically determines your "readability". Apparently it didn't take the cartoons and goofy attempts at humor on my website.

By the way, Poiema, you scored a "genius", and I am torn by being very impressed, or very envious at my obvious lack of intellectual achievement.

cash advance

Monday, December 17, 2007

Slightly Tacky Winter Humor

Thanks, Belinda...
I needed a laugh at work.
By the way, I always thought Frosty was a little "off"....

Christmas Q and A

I've had about a dozen people email me this list in one form or I am posting it here. Enjoy my self-indulgence as I assume you all wish to read about me.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Usually wrapping paper with my (now famous) recycled ribbons.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Tree...tree...I think we had one of those once. No room now. (I might be slightly bitter about that!)

3. When do you put up the tree? Read question #2.

4. When do you take the tree down? What's this?! More lemon juice on the papercut?!

5. Do you like egg nog? Oh, YES!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I did have a green and yellow Tonka truck that I remember loving!

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, the old and much loved one that I grew up with.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My stepdad...but I think I finally nailed it this year!

9. Easiest person to buy for? My mom...hands down!

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. Except for co-workers and local friends. They get an email...

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Oh, easy! My mom gave me her old waffle iron one year...I don't mind hand-me-down gifts, but this was the worst waffle maker ever. I remember it sticking everytime we used it when I was a kid. Worst of all, I hauled that thing around for years, never used it once, until Mom came to visit one time and said "let's make waffles" and I told her the sad truth. The waffle maker then hit the dumpster. And we still laugh about it. At least I do.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? "It's a Wonderful Life". And I cry at the end every time!

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I buy things when I see them, so I am usually done by December.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? (head hung in shame) Yes

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Turkey and the trimmings. And German Apple Pancake for Christmas breakfast!

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? What's with the tree again!? OK, if I had one...white.

17. Favorite Christmas song? This year I am enamoured with "What Child is This?"

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Oh, I'm flexible...

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeers? You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, but do you recall...the most famous reindeer of all...Rudolph... (is it cheating that I just sang that at my computer?)

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Sigh...I give up...

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? One present Christmas Eve.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? People who don't work full-time telling me how busy they are.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I like color...lots of color!

24. What do you want for Christmas this year? A really, really good new digital camera and tripod and lenses.

Friday, December 7, 2007

On This Day in History: Pearl Harbor

The attack on Pearl Harbor, the event that got America off the fence regarding the "War in Europe", was 66 years ago today.
Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia: The attack wrecked two U.S. Navy battleships, one minelayer, and two destroyers beyond repair, and destroyed 188 aircraft; personnel losses were 2,333 killed and 1,139 wounded. Damaged warships included three cruisers, a destroyer, and six battleships (one deliberately grounded, later refloated and repaired; two sunk at their berths, later raised, repaired, and restored to Fleet service late in the war). Vital fuel storage, shipyards, and submarine facilities were not hit.

And here is an interesting (and somewhat surreal) photo perspective. This was taken from a Japanese plane early in the attacks:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Grace and Peace

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in snctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
1 Peter 1:1-2

I am beginning yet another personal study of 1 Peter because a) I'm a slow learner and b) it just seems so relevant to my life. So I picked up another Elizabeth George fill-in-the-blank book as a basis. In the evenings, I prefer to do my own study, but I find that the mornings for me are not conducive to clear thinking, so it's better to have a guide.

So this morning I picked up the book to begin, and this is the question that stumped me: How does the "grace and peace" greeting encourage you?

So I skipped it (avoidance being another problem I have in the morning) and moved on to my Proverbs and Psalms reading.

And here was my Psalm for today:
Psalm 27:1-5
THE LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.
One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

And it got me thinking...David wrote from experience of persecution and turmoil. Likewise, Peter wrote from that same perspective. He hadn't had an easy time in the years leading up to the writing of this letter, so he knew of what he spoke. And still, he was able to express the hope that God would bring grace to those who put their trust in Christ, and an inner peace that in spite of the outward persecution, God is in control.

Now that's encouraging!