Monday, May 30, 2005

"have you seen my beloved?"

Friday - May 27

5:00 a.m. and awake with the birds! (Why can’t I sleep in, like normal people do?!)
The day starts with reading from the place I’m at in the Psalms. Today’s chapter: 133


"How wonderful it is, how pleasant, when brothers live in harmony!
For harmony is as precious as the fragrant anointing oil
that was poured over Aaron’s head
and ran down onto his beard
and onto the border of his robe.
Harmony is as refreshing as the dew on Mount Hermon..."


Yes! Harmony would be a very good thing today!

Around 8:00 the lump on the hide-a-bed (son Ben) stirs. He’s hungry but isn’t interested in the cold cereal we have in the room. Wants to go out for breakfast.

I go to Mom’s room to see what everyone else is doing. It turns out they’re going for breakfast with Lorne, Julene, Bonnie, and Adele who arrived last night from Fort St. John and who are in 307! So it’s up the stairs, welcome hugs all around, and a plan for them to drive to the ABC Restaurant, a few blocks away.

Ernie and I stay back. We fill the time with TV. Finally it’s time to dress and primp. We do (dress) and I primp, with plenty of time to spare to pick up the bride at the Hampton (one block from the church where Sonia and her maids spent the night and this morning getting ready) at the agreed-on time of 10:45. But I can’t bear to not know what’s going on, so we drive over at 10:30.

I rap on 415, half expecting everyone to be pretty much ready to go. NOT! What a clutter and excited confusion. Sonia, veil in place but not in her dress, is getting her makeup done while everyone else is buzzing around, doing makeup and hair, packing stuff into bags, which are everywhere, along with leftover glasses of juice, half-eaten muffins, cooling coffees and warming yogurts...

She still looks stressed. I realize it’s no wonder when I find out what had happened – she had lost her shoes! Couldn’t find them anywhere. Finally Ida went downtown to the store to buy another pair. (I’m sure I saw them in the kitchen Thursday night – but had no idea whose they were, and never thought to mention it...). Fortunately the store had another pair in the same style and size!

Now the time goes by too quickly and I realize any hope of being at the church on time is just that. While preparations continue, someone brings up a trolley for luggage and I help load cases. Finally at 10:55 Sonia’s face is done, everyone else is dressed and it’s time to carefully maneuver her into her dress. With four of us handling different parts of her gown and veil, we manage to do it without dislodging the headpiece. Then it’s downstairs and into the car and off to the church!

Once we're in the church foyer, the flower lady sweeps upon us, pinning on corsages and handing out bouquets (orange-tinged nosegays of roses for the bridesmaids, and a sheaf of calla lilies for the bride). Sonia insists on waiting for Joy, who did her makeup, to get to the church before starting everything.

Finally the doors open. In walk us mums (me on the arm of my own son). Then on cue the music changes and it’s magic – the four bridesmaids coming down the aisle, then the little ring-bearer and flower girl – tiny people who needed a little encouragement – and the older flowergirl scattering rose petals, and finally Sonia and her dad.

"Who gives this woman to be married to this man?"

"Her mother and I do."

And Matt takes her away.

They stand on stage facing each other holding hands in front of Pastor Nolan while he gives a short talk.

Then they wash each other’s feet while Heather and Kim sing the Benediction song from Heather's Selah 2 CD. It is beautiful and moving.









After that it is vows and the ring ceremony followed by signing the register on one side of the stage, while three girls from the Jesus School dance to "Have you Seen My Beloved" (Andrew Smith - Through My Emotions). (Let’s pretend these pictures are actually art shots and meant to be a blur of activity, shall we?).







And that's it for the ceremony!











A receiving line follows where we meet the wonderful people who came from near and far.

Now it’s off to Riverside Park for pictures. You know the drill – every possible combination, until it’s high time to head back to the church and reception.




The reception hall is starting to fill up when we get back – and the place smells wonderful -- coffee and garlic from the Filipino food made by Matt’s Mom and her friends (chow mein and spring rolls - so very tasty!). The bridal party arrives a few minutes after we do and we get underway before 3:00 (not bad for something that was to start by 2:30!).

The reception is great fun – casual and full of stories and laughter interspersed with getting more food and drifting from table to table. Ernie’s song and my poem go okay. Before we know it, it’s wedding cake time







(Did I mention Sonia’s incredible friend Ida also made the cake?!).

Then toss the bouquet and garter. Five o’clock -- and it’s over.

All day I’ve been dreading the cleanup. But Sonia’s old roommate has her crew going like an oiled machine. The plan for leftover food is to give it to the Jesus School residences and if any is left after that, to the mission. I quickly realize that my worry was all in vain. I’m not needed here!! I grab all the stuff I brought (plates, plastic wrap, paring knives – that sort of thing – oh, and I find Sonia’s misplaced shoes), some meat and cheese which is still in its shrink wrap, a bucket of leftover squares, a half bag of buns and we’re out of there by 6:00!

Back in our motel room Ernie and I do a little jig. We did it!!

We spend the evening visiting in the motel with our family from afar. Around 8, we get the nibblies and of course I serve leftover wedding fare, washed down with coffee.

I don’t sleep well. I know -- coffee too close to bedtime. But in my half-awake state, I feel a lot like I did the nights after the birth of my kids; I can’t stop smiling.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

prelude

Wednesday - May 25

9:00 a.m. Ernie and I pack the car, leave home, and arrive in Kamloops shortly after noon. We meet Sonia at her hair dresser's, not sure what she has on tap for us. It turns out plenty!

After unloading our car at the church and checking in to our motel, we go for lunch at the bagel shop where the groom is working his last shift as a bagel baker before the big day. There we meet Matt’s best friend Chris (who is his best man). Then we drive Matt and his friend to the garage where his car has been for repairs, and the three of us carry on to Costco and Superstore to shop for food and veggies for fruit and veggie platters for the reception.

7:00 p.m. Back at the church, we put perishables in the large fridge and freezer. We’re just finished when, right on cue, Sonia’s cell rings. It’s two more friends calling to get directions to the church. They’ve also just arrived from out of town with coolers of meat and cheese, also for the reception, cut and vacuum packed also to be packed in the fridge.

We happily leave the kids to their stag and stagette parites, to find a Montana’s restaurant. After dinner, it’s back to the motel and bed!

Thursday - May 26

8:30 a.m. I walk (7 minutes) from the motel to the church to get to work with Sonia, Ida and Celeste. The first job is arranging the meat and cheese trays. Ida and Celeste have brought a multitude of the plastic tray and dome duos – the kind that stores use for ready-made trays.




We’re shortly joined by Chris and Dean and Ernie, and spend the next hour rolling endless slices of ham, turkey, beef, pastrami and placing them on trays. After we have six meat trays assembled, we go on to the cheese trays.



11:00 a.m. Some of the dance school girls arrive to help. They get to work on the veggie and fruit trays – cutting oranges, peeling and slicing kiwi, pineapples, watermelon and honeydew melon, cucumbers, celery, peppers etc.



More of Matt’s friends arrive and they start on decorations – putting up a canopy-thing at the front of the sanctuary, and decking it with twinkle lights and tulle, as well as lining both sides of the aisles with twinkle lights, also covered with tulle. It looks lovely.

The girls, finished with the trays, begin decorating the reception hall with – you guessed it – more twinkle lights and tulle! (We can’t finish in there, though, until after the rehearsal dinner, because a Weight Watchers group has their meeting in the room until 7:30). I get another of Sonia’s friends who arrives late on the scene, fluffing out the wedding car flowers (which come all squished together).

12:30: Almost everyone has left to do one thing and another so it’s nice and quiet. I get the buckets of squares out of the freezer, cover the variety of platters I’ve brought from home with paper doilies and set out the squares - garnished with silk roses.

2:15: Sonia and Kate (another bridesmaid), get back with bags and bags of buns, and a problem. They can’t find the CD which has the processional music. Frantic phone calls, rummaging through several cars and making a trip to the house where they last had it turns up nothing. Finally Kate calls Danny (who is in his studio this afternoon and who burned the CD in the first place – having altered it for length to exactly fit the occasion) asking, does he have the song saved, and please could he burn another? Yes, he will. (Whew!)

2:45: We leave, to pick up Mum, my sis and niece at the bus depot. We settle them in their motel room, two doors from ours, then relax in our room for about 45 minutes, before we have to return to the church for the rehearsal.

4:30 - Rehearsal. The processional music CD has been reburned. The mothers and the groom and his boys walk in to something by Pachelbel. Then the music changes to "The Book of Love" by Peter Gabriel. The first time Ernie and Sonia walk down the aisle with these words sifting through the music:"..I love it when you read to me / And you can read me anything / The book of love has music in it / In fact that’s where music comes from..." I get surprised by tears.

5:30 - We leave the rehearsal a little early, to pick up some food for the rehearsal dinner, which we’re keeping cold in our motel fridgette (seeing as how every other fridge is full by now), and Mom, Bea and Adrienne. Then it’s off to Jocelyn’s where we’re hosting the rehearsal dinner (pizzas, Caesar salad, pop and watermelon). We need to be there by 6:00 when the pizzas are being delivered – to pay the delivery boy.

The pizzas come right on time, and soon the house is full of everyone from the rehearsal, filling plates with pizza, salad and watermelon, crowding around the big kitchen table and spilling out onto the lawn – where it’s lovely and cool.




7:30 - We take Mum & Co. back to the motel, run a few more errands, and then it’s back to the church to set up the reception hall. Put up tables, dress with tablecloths, centerpieces, place-cards, cutlery, napkins, confetti etc. etc.

10:00 - We’ve done about all we can for now with the reception hall. My feet are killing me! But worse, the bride looks positively gray with weariness.

We go back to the motel and get ready for bed. But one more thing must happen before we can get to sleep...

11:00 - The cell phone rings. It’s our Ben, asking for directions to the motel. A few minutes later, there is the sound of car doors and a rap at the door.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

wedding potpourri

This is the last time I will post before the big day. My daughter’s wedding day countdown has felt a lot like being pregnant. Are we ready to have this baby by now, or what!!

The retelling of her own wedding day by Jan (on her tenth anniversary - post called "10") on The Happy Homemaker, sure struck a chord with me. She says:

"I will always remember what one close friend from my past said about the ceremony. He said he felt true agape love in that church that day and was impressed by my friends and family."


That "agape love" thing resonates with me as exactly what I’ve been praying for our special day.

Here’s another wedding story, "Ruby Robin’s Wedding," which takes place in May. Sonia always said it was her favorite. Thankfully she’s not Ruby Robin.

Finally, it has been my wish from the start, that my hubby and I could give our daughter a leaving-home gift that would not be money or stuff. We have, in the last week, both thought of and worked up a little something to deliver at the reception. My hubby has a fine voice, and he is going to sing "You Raise Me Up" (and I will accompany him on the piano - yikes!)

I have written a poem which I will read. And I have the blog world to thank for the inspiration. It’s based on the meme "Where I Am From" (hat tip: A Sort of Notebook) – only, I wrote for my daughter and called it "Where Sonia is From." Here it is (the biggest challenge for me, I think, will be to get through reading it without choking up):


Where Sonia Is From

Sonia is from the sandbox,
from Cabbage Patch dolls and sidewalk chalk.
She’s from the cul-de-sec where she rode her pink bike
around and around in spring break rain.
She’s from camping and reading along with taped storybooks,
under the slanting canvas of the tent trailer.

Sonia is from strong coffee and getting up early
from Ben and Mary, Walter and Albertine
Ernie and Violet
From ‘Let’s pray about it’
and ‘You can’t get through life without piano lessons.’
She’s from puffed-wheat cake, perogies and koubassa
from hating Awana games, loving Amy Grant
and needing lots of time to put on her makeup.

Sonia is from the Alliance and Gatehouse
from Henry Bose, Surrey Traditional and Regent Academy
Avalanche, Jesus School and The Feast
She’s from school uniforms and wanting contact lenses.
She’s from science fair projects of green moldy bread,
from learning to swim at Unwin Park
and learning to paint from Mrs. Moore.

She’s from the dress-up box
with its grass skirt and shell beads
its nurse apron with pockets
for the Fisher Price thermometer, stethoscope and mallet
its skipping rope with the fat handles
that make a good microphone
its lacy shawl and creamy white crinoline.
What will she be
a dancer
a nurse
a singer
a bride?

-V.Nesdoly 2005

a refrain

I don’t know about you, but in my reading I like to mix it up. Thus it was a nice change of pace to go from reading the intense biography 'Rees Howells: Intercessor'*, two weeks ago, to Dale Cramer’s fiction 'Bad Ground'. As much as I love fiction though, it is biographies in which I get most involved, and through which the Lord tugs most at my heart. Rees Howells’ story in particular had me doing some soul searching so deep I questioned a few days after I’d finished the book – did God really say to me the things I thought He did, or was I simply caught up in the spirit of the book?

After finishing 'Bad Ground', I was hungering to read something different again and found myself at my bookshelf and dusting off an old book – 'The Pursuit of God' by A. W. Tozer. Here would be another type of book entirely.

Imagine my surprise, then, when on getting to chapter 3, one of the themes about which I’d been captured from Howells’ life story reappeared.

The entire book of Tozer’s is grappling with the issue of how a person becomes intimate with God. In chapter 3, he draws a comparison of our relationship with God to tabernacle worship in the Old Testament. He shows how we are drawn to Him in stages like a worshiper would be drawn, first into the outer court, then nearer, to the holy place until finally he would find himself just outside the Holy of Holies, separated from God by only a veil.

Tozer asks:

"Why do we consent to abide all our days just outside the Holy of Holies and never enter at all to look upon God....We sense that the call is for us, but still we fail to draw near, and the years pass and we grow old and tired in the outer courts of the tabernacle. What doth hinder us?"

"The answer usually given, simply that we are 'cold' will not explain all the fact. There is something more serious than coldness of heart, something that may be back of that coldness and be the cause of its existence. What is it? What but the presence of a veil in our hearts.

"[...] It is woven of the fine threads of the self-life, the hyphenated sins of the human spirit. They are not something we do, they are something we are, and therein lies their subtlety and their power.

"To be specific, the self-sins are these: self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them.

"[...] Self is the opaque veil that hides the Face of God from us. It can be removed only in spiritual experience, never by mere instructions...We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us.

"[...] Let us remember: when we talk of the rending of the veil we are speaking in a figure and the thought of it is poetical, almost pleasant; but in actuality there is nothing pleasant about it. In human experience that veil is made of living spiritual tissue; it is composed of the sentient, quivering stuff of which our whole beings consist, and to touch it is to touch us where we feel pain.

"[...] Let us beware of tinkering with our inner life in hope ourselves to rend the veil. God must do everything for us. Our part is to yield and trust. We must confess, forsake, repudiate the self-life, and then reckon it crucified."

Ouch! This sounds altogether too familiar. But haven’t I already had that dealing-with-the-self-life-lesson? Or is God trying to get my attention with this, to tell me there is more?

Actually, I’ve noticed this repeating of themes in my life before. I think it’s not an unusual thing. Paula spoke about it in a post on her blog a few days ago – likening hearing God to hearing music. I first hear God’s voice as a single note and I’m not even sure I heard anything. Then I hear that note again and this time it’s stronger, and followed by other notes so that soon I recognize a melody.

As Paula says it:

"He reveals Himself in a pianissimo or a forte. He keeps my tempo with andante and allegro. He counsels me to wait in the rests, punctuates with a coda. And a chorus is often repeated so that my sometimes-deaf ears can hear it again."

I feel as if that repetition has been happening to me. And now that I think on it, I wouldn’t be surprised if I hear this beware-the-self-life refrain again, and again, and again... It is such a difficult lesson, I wonder sometimes, will I ever get it? Will that refrain ever become a coda?

**********
*Somehow Blogger is not letting me use italics or blockquotes today, without banishing my sidebar to the bottom of the page!

Monday, May 23, 2005

scales and hanons for writers

(This is a devotional I gave a week ago at a writer’s group I attend. Bloggers are certainly writers, so be encouraged and challenged!)

I’ve had the privilege of hearing Leon Leontaridis, one of the Canadian Three Tenors, several times in the last couple of weeks. I was struck by his obvious natural talent. I was also struck by the way his natural talent has been enhanced by training so that he can sustain notes for incredible lengths, sing quietly with intensity, control volume, maintain a beautiful tone, and communicate deep emotion.

Now I know that training didn’t come without effort. I imagine he spent hours doing the drills. No doubt he worked in out-of-the-way studios and back rooms at things that probably didn’t seem very spiritual at the time -- doing warmups, scales, exercises, and working on breath control. He did this to become the best he could be. Now many doors open to him – not only in churches and religious organizations, but in the secular musical world. And when he speaks of his faith in secular concerts, people listen.

Which reminds me of a couple of things.

1. God appreciates and demands excellence:

When He instituted the Passover he gave instructions to Moses:

"The animals you choose must be...without defect (Exodus 11:5)


When He laid out rules for the sacrifices, over and over one reads in early Leviticus:

"...offer a male without defect..."(Leviticus 1:3)

"...an animal without defect..." (3:1)

"...he is to offer a male or female without defect..." (3:6)

"...a young bull without defect..." (4:4)


2. As writers, we too strive to say things in the perfect way. Like musicians do voice warmups, Hanons and scales, there are also hidden, technical-type things we writers can do to improve our skill – things like:

- Practicing a variety of types of writing: describing things, explaining things, journaling events from our lives, retelling stories others have told, writing emails and letters, blogging.

- Writing regularly.

- Editing our work, alone or with the help of others.

- Reading extensively, especially in the genre in which we write, and pitting ourselves against the best writing that is out there.

When David approached Araunah about buying his threshing floor as an altar site, Araunah offered to give it to him. But David replied:

"No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." (2 Samuel 24)


In the same way, let’s strive to write with excellence, clarity, beauty and passion, even though it costs us extra effort and time. Surely the Gospel is worth it. And who knows, the skills which we acquire may eventually attract to our writing, people who would not readily read anything by a Christian writer. Though they may read to experience the beauty of the craftsmanship, may they be captured by the beauty of the message.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

blogcritics.org

On the recommendation of Stacy Harp, our fearless leader at Mind&Media, I joined blogcritics.org yesterday. Since I enjoy reading and reviewing books, I thought it sounded like a good idea – joining this group blog and hopefully gaining a reader or two for the book reviews I enjoy writing, but which take a fair bit of time and energy to construct. I posted my first review yesterday.

If you’re interested, check it out. It’s free, easy to join, easy to post, and the rules are pretty much common sense. Best of all, it spreads a little salt into the marketplace.

Friday, May 20, 2005

a helping of humble pie

I’m going to start this post with an apology.

A couple of days ago I posted a piece called "blogging and discretion." I stand by every word I wrote in it. But two things I regret and wish I could undo: linking to the original discussion, and placing a trackback on it.

While I think it’s normally the right thing to do – link to the place which was the catalyst to one’s thoughts – in this case, it would have been wiser to have left that out. Because in the process, I know I may have cast in a bad light a fellow blogger and her blogging friends.

So, Kim, (if you’re reading this) I’m sorry. I have taken the link out of the original article, removed your blog's URL from your comment, and you’re welcome to delete the trackback (I’d do it, but I can’t; I know–nothing like closing the barn door once the horse is out!)

I value Kim and care about her. She is a great blog ‘conversationalist’ and has endeared herself to many with her willingness to be open and make herself vulnerable. As she says, that’s the way she is – and we love her that way. She has a kind heart, which I feel I have trampled on by doing this. I regret it and hope she will find it in her heart to forgive me.

I close this helping of humble pie with a poem I wrote a few years ago. As you see, I’ve had experience with this before. Hopefully I’ll get this lesson through my thick head (and heart).

*************

Some Words

I can think a thing a long time
with the words going
round and round
inside my head
like the gray gruel
mixing in a cement truck

but once I say those thoughts
once those words
escape my mouth
pour out
become exposed to air
everything changes.

The minute they’re out
they start to solidify.
Too late now
to scoop them up
shove them back
into the place they came from

for they’ve already begun
to work their alchemy
changing the elements
inside me, inside you

hardening – a shameful statue
a concrete wall, a sad gray memorial
between us.

V. Nesdoly - © 2004

Thursday, May 19, 2005

the home stretch

A week today, right about now we’ll be in Kamloops, working in the kitchen and decorating the sanctuary in preparation for our daughter’s wedding the next day. I have, in the last week made list after list, collected in Green Superstore bins the things we need to bring, and tried to envisage every detail to make sure I haven't missed anything ... Is that fluttering in my chest panic, excitement – or both?

this week's christian carnival

is up at A Penitent Blogger.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

blogging and discretion

There was an interesting discussion on a blog I regularly read, about how open, or not, to be in blogging. It has me wondering, again, if a personal blog can be really successful if written with an over-abundance of discretion.

I’ve thought a lot about this in the seven or so months I’ve been blogging. And though some of my favorite blogs are those in which bloggers are open and self-disclosing, I have come to the conclusion that for me there are limits to how open I can allow myself to be. There are two Bible principles which will rule what I post – no matter how it affects blog traffic (and, please, know I am in no way imposing this standard on others):

1. "The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands." Proverbs 14:1

house, bayit (by-eet): (Strong’s #1004) House, household, family, clan, temple building, home.

The application of this for my blog means I am very careful not to damage my house. According to this, 'house' includes my immediate family, my extended family, and I also include my church family. Thus I try not to say things on my blog which would hurt, defame or slander these people. My test: If I wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, and would feel uncomfortable knowing they had read it on the web, then I shouldn’t post it.


2. "the older women ... admonish the young women to... (be) obedient to their own husbands ... (Titus 2:3-5)

The application of this for my blog means I have put it under my husband’s headship. You read right! This is not easy for me, strong-minded, individualistic and opinionated woman that I am. However, in the 24 years I’ve been married, I’ve come to see the wisdom of deferring to my husband in areas such as this. More than once he has saved me from myself!

(For example, many years ago, when we were newly married, I took a survey phone call. I started answering the questions, but quickly became uneasy as I realized the questioner was leading me to talk about personal stuff. By the time I finally had the presence of mind to cut off the call, I knew I had already said too much.

After I discussed this incident with my husband, we made it a family rule never to answer telephone surveys. I know I’ve been spared a lot of aggravation and angst because of being under his leadership in that department...and others.)

In the area of my blog, I don’t have him vet things I write before I post them. But I have asked him to tell me if he sees anything he thinks is unwise, and I will delete it (so if my blog has offended you – it’s his fault!)

I follow these two principles because of the reason given in last fragment of that section from Titus: "...that the Word of God may not be blasphemed." There are already too many forces working to erode God’s reputation. I would be sad to think my blog could be another one of them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

book review: Bad Ground

I’ve just finished reading Bad Ground, a second novel by Dale Cramer. After reading his first book, Sutter’s Cross, I had high expectations for it. He didn’t let me down.

The book is a coming-of-age story. It opens with 17-year-old Jeremy leaving the only home he’s ever known on instructions left by his mother in a letter she wrote on her deathbed:


"When the time is right I want you to go find your uncle Aiden, and when you find him, stay with him. He’ll try to run you off, but don’t you let him. Do whatever it takes to stay with him. You have something I couldn’t give him, and he has something I couldn’t give you. I won’t tell you what – you’ll just have to find out from each other. When you find it, you’ll know..."

And so with $63 and all his earthly possessions in a duffel bag, he sets out from Tennessee to Atlanta, to find his uncle.

A series of misadventures follows but he does eventually find the underground mine where his uncle works and gets hired to work there himself even before he connects with Uncle Aiden, called Snake by everyone else. As we might expect, Snake is less than thrilled Jeremy has shown up.

The book takes us through the next year. Jeremy, thrust from life with his devout and over-protective mother into the rough and dangerous world of underground miners, quickly realizes how naive, untried and unprepared he is. He learns about hard work from the uncouth and demanding Biggins and about how to handle himself at the bottom of the employee pecking order. He overcomes deep-seated fears, gets to know a beautiful girl, and even gains a measure of admiration from the others on his first hunting trip.

Jeremy also becomes the catalyst for big changes in the burn-scarred and reclusive Snake – the biggest of which is dealing with the guilt he has carried for ten years since Tom’s (Jeremy’s father, his brother) death.

Cramer’s characters are colorful. Besides the profanity-prone Biggins (Cramer defies the writer’s truism here by merely telling us he swears, sparing us the showing of air turned blue with actual profanities), we meet men with intriguing names like Nanny, Geech, Moss, Weasel and more. Jeremy himself gets dubbed "Germy" in his first encounter with Biggins. These characters are drawn with realism and affection as each adds his own brand of humor and wisdom.

The wisdom part Cramer does particularly well. The book is full of proverb-like gems:

Weasel shrugged. "...But they’re human, and humans are incapable of perfection."

"Okay." Geech studied him for a moment. "And why, Wise One, should we lug this particular nugget of wisdom around with us?"

Weasel leaned back in his seat and tapped the edge of his plate delicately with a fork. "Because it’s possible, while you’re looking for something perfect, to let something very good slip away. And it’s a shame when that happens, because what you’re looking for doesn’t exist. Perfection is an absolute."

and folksy observations about life:

"See?" Moss said quietly, watching Jeremy’s face. "That’s God. You can always find God, even in the low places – especially in the low places – if you know how to look."

"You are a preacher," Jeremy said.

"We all are." The old man laughed. "Everybody preaches something."

so astute yet obvious, you shake your head and think – I wish I’d thought of that.

The book is also replete with symbols. Take, for example this section, which recalls the book’s title, and where Cramer, as I read it, is referring to the mine, the men who work in it and the lessons learned underground. Geech has sent Jeremy to hammer a quartz crystal from the place in the tunnel where Geech earlier was almost killed:

Geech rinsed it off under a waterspout and shined his light on it. Quartz crystals of various sizes huddled together – little pyramid-tipped spires crowding together like a miniature city, cracking the light into a thousand rainbow shards. The whole thing was evenly salted with pinpoints of iron pyrite, glittering like tiny stars. Jeremy had never seen anything like it, and said so.

Geech held it close to his face, studying it under the flashlight. Finally he handed it to Jeremy. "You can have it. I already got one of these."

"Cool! You find stuff like this all the time?"

"Nah." Geech swept the fractured ceiling with his flashlight. Only in bad ground."

Though Jeremy’s religious faith plays a big part in the story, the book rarely becomes preachy (there are actually one or two sermons, but they are short and pithy). Rather, we are privy to Jeremy’s thoughts during times his faith is tested, and answers are offered through the story’s events and through the father-like character Moss, who is the mine’s watchman. The message is there throughout though, made all the more powerful by its subtlety. The story deals with themes of facing fear, and finding forgiveness and redemption in an almost Bible allegory way. Here, for example, is the moment Snake (who grew up with faith but has turned his back on it) comes to a powerful realization:

Things had changed in the last twenty four hours. From beyond the grave, Julie had sent her only son to offer him forgiveness – and this time it was genuine. The symbolism was not lost on him. After ten years in the desert he had seen the hand of God, and he knew it for what it was. Tom was right. God was real.

There is one aspect of the story which makes my eyes glaze over, however, and that is the detailed description of the mine machinery and how it works. There is even a diagram! Although this lends authenticity, it is way above my comprehension. It’s probably warranted, though. If Cramer’s understanding is as complete as it seems, an underground miner should be able to read the book and vouch for its credibility.

All that to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Bad Ground. I recommend it to adolescents and up. I’m sure you will find it, as I did, a beautifully written, layered and worthwhile read.

**********

Bad Ground has made the list of finalists for the 2005 Christy Awards (General Category)!

Hat Tip: faith*in*fiction

Monday, May 16, 2005

goodbye lonnie

Last night our church said farewell to Lonnie Delisle, our worship pastor of ten years. It should have been a sad occasion, and yet such a joyful evening I can scarcely remember for a long time.

The choir did its season’s finale, for the last time under Lonnie’s direction. They demonstrated in every song, the musical excellence Lonnie has instilled in them, going from Black gospel to big-band, to a-capella without missing a beat. The words of each song were projected on the screen, so we in the crowd could knowingly enter in, and we did, humming, singing and clapping along. Of course, as the whole evening was devoted to musical praise and worship, there was lots of opportunity for congregation participation anyway.

A special treat was to hear Lonnie and Leon Leontaridis* in a duet. What wonderful voices (Ben Heppner, watch your back!).

[A personal observation – some of the most talented musicians, athletes and communicators are Christians. It’s thrilling to see talented young men like Lonnie and Leon, who have taken all the training and who could make it big in the world, using their talents first and foremost to give glory to God. No wonder He exalts them.]

The great music aside, the best part of the evening for me was the spirit of worship and celebration that pervaded the place. Which is one of the things I love about the church I attend. It’s as if the atmosphere is oiled, hearts are ready, and the praise, joy and celebration flow. And so though last evening was a farewell to Lonnie, it was really all about Him – our God and Savior, to Whom is due all glory and praise.

**********

* Listen to Leon Leontaridis. Select: "You Raise Me Up"

Saturday, May 14, 2005

typoglycemia

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to rscheearch taem at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Such a cdonition is arppoiately cllaed Typoglycemia

Amzanig huh? Yaeh and yuo awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt.

(Tankhs Dryrlal!)

Friday, May 13, 2005

promptings' potpourri

Just in case you’re needing more to read...

Nancy at Just Thinking tells us what she and her husband did to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary...a great idea for any anniversary.

Two posts on William Meisheid’s blog Beyond the Rim... caught my eye. I enjoyed the photos on this one ("Sheep and Wool"), the faces of the sheep and especially that row of brooms, hopeful debutantes waiting for someone to ask them to dance. In another post "Humility, the Blogosphere and the Family of God" he articulates what I’ve often thought since putting out my own little shingle in the blogosphere.

Paula at Listen In... sees God as "The Great IM" (Instant Messager) -- a great comparison!

And finally, for a light whimsical dessert: "The Table and the Chair" by Edward Lear (Thursday, May 12th entry).

Thursday, May 12, 2005

o canada...

Watching the nightly news and the rehash of shenanigans going on in the parliament of Canada in the last few days leaves me feeling confused and embarrassed – like a kid being forced to watch parents fight. And so these words today, from the sidebar of the new Bible my hubby bought me for my birthday (New Spirit Filled Life Bible - NKJV), grabbed my attention:



Prayer and intercession are intricately woven into the fabric of the Psalms, as they are to be woven into the daily life of the believer. Take your concerns, your praise, your needs, and those of others to the Father. He cares for you. Then take the next step and ask God to show you how to pray for the things on His heart. Be willing to stand in the gap, praying that the way things are will become the way God wants them to be (emphasis mine).

So I ask, how does God want things to be in nations, in my nation, Canada?

Here are some principles about nations and leadership (I list just a few; there are many more):

1. We are to respect and obey governments and rulers as set in place by God (Romans 13:1).

2. We are to submit ourselves to governing authorities (Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13).

3. God is sovereign and moves the hearts of rulers and kings according to His purposes (Proverbs 21:1).

4. Justice gives a nation stability, but greed and bribery tear a country apart (Proverbs 29:4).

5. Rulers are to respect laws that are in place versus manipulating them to suit their cause. (Hosea 5:10).

6. National dishonesty, injustice and unrighteousness separate a nation from God and remove His blessing from it (Isaiah 59; Jeremiah 5).

7. It behooves followers of God to live righteously and to thus bless the nation in which they live (Proverbs 11:11).

8. We are called to be intercessors / gap-fillers for our nation (Ezekiel 22:30,31; Isaiah 59.16).

So, God, I pray for Canada and its leaders, who have been placed there by You. I pray that all our leaders will receive a personal message of God’s love.

I pray that Godly leaders will discover spiritual wisdom to govern our nation, and that leaders who are unrighteous and unjust will make mistakes and follow unsound advice. I pray, further, that those leaders who have gone along with corrupt schemes will own up to their ways, and that these methods and schemes will be fully exposed and pulled out by the root so that this curse will be removed from us.

I pray that You will convict us, Your people, of apathy and prayerlessness. May we not add to those sins, the sin of unwise and impulsive speech which fans flames of confusion and dissension. Rather, convict us to speak to You, and stand in the gap for Canada during this confusing time. Through all this I pray Your will be done in Canada as it is in heaven. Amen.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

the lupins are out

at Mud Bay Park!

These are actually pictures from last year, but it looks exactly like this now, with these meadows especially pretty because the lupins that bloom here are variegated.























At least once a week we do the seven minute drive through a posh Panorama Ridge neighborhood, down the hill past the Unicorn Stable, onto Colbrook Road, right at the tracks and left and down a pot holey gravel road to the parking lot at Mud Bay Park. The walk is actually along dikes which were built years ago to reclaim farmland from the ocean.

The ocean here is particularly tame, though. You never hear the surf pounding or any of that romantic stuff. In fact the beach is so shallow that when the tide is out, the water glistens way off in the distance, across the lengths and lengths of muddy sand.

It’s a lovely place to walk. You see the big sky (something that I, who grew up in the big-sky prairies, miss), and drink in the ocean breeze – often heavy with the smells of salt and kelp.

Beside the gravel path grow the flowers – the lupins, phlox, wild roses and water parsnip (to name just a few), blooming in their season. In summer, the path will be lined with golden tansy, as high and thick as a hedge. Come August, we’ll snack on blackberries that grow fat and plentiful.

Overhead, herons flap their lazy way across the bay, and the place is also a sanctuary for eagles and hawks. In the winter, the tide seems to bring the water up higher and we see families of ducks – mallards, widgeons, pin tails and green winged teal – bobbing on the gentle surf. Once, we saw a whole multitude of Caspian terns – but that was in a different season. Now, most of the water birds are in the family way, I think – because the place is empty of them, but alive with land types – red-wing blackbirds, yellow finches, and little brown birds that don’t look special at all but have a heavenly song.

christian carnival 69

Christian Carnival LXIX is up at Semicolon. One of the things I especially enjoy about this weekly compendium is the way each host organizes it in their own way. This week Sherry takes us through Ephesians 6. Many thanks, Sherry, for your hard work in putting up this hefty offering of 60 posts!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

cutting tulle (tool?)

My job yesterday was to cut tulle into squares. This is for the wedding. We are putting these squares of shimmering-with-gold, creamy-colored tulle under the centerpiece bowls of white roses in floral gel.

Cutting tulle is the physics! Lucky thing Sonia sent me quite a lot of it as some got wrecked.

First I made a couple of 18-inch squares of tissue paper, thinking I would pin them on the fabric and cut out as one does with any pattern. But this didn’t work well. You really need to keep an eye on the scissors and the cloth as you’re cutting, because the edge of these (which will remain unfinished) needs to be even. Invariably with this method the edges were full of scissor nicks.

My next method was to pin the tissue on the fabric, mark each corner with a dot, then remove the pattern piece and draw cutting lines directly on the cloth, connecting the dots using a metal meter stick. It should have worked perfectly. But that pesky tulle kept shifting. If I lifted my ruler even ever so slightly in order to press down on a further-along spot, the line underneath turned out squiggly.

All in all, though, using this method, I thought I was doing pretty well – until it came time to iron. Because the fabric is super-fragile, I ironed it between a couple of tea towels. It just so happened the bottom towel had squares on it. Placing my squares on the tea towel squares was the moment of truth. How my ‘squares’ became so unsquare I have no idea. Suffice it to say, I spent another several hours, pinning square after square onto the tea towel to trim and even the edges.

And while I was doing this, I thought of my life, of how easy it is to become self-congratulatory and think I’m looking pretty square – until I measure myself against the standard of God’s Word.

On Sunday morning, one of our pastor’s wives spoke in church. She talked about the preeminence of love, taking us through parts of I Corinthians 13. Now there’s the square tea towel!

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy; is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited – arrogant and inflated with pride; it is not rude (unmannerly), and does not act unbecomingly.

Love [God’s love in us] does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it– pays no attention to a suffered wrong.

It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances and it endures everything [without weakening]. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Amplified


Thank you, God, for Your word – which is a standard and a cutting tool at the same time. May I be trimmed by it every day.

this week's christian carnival

You have just a few more hours to choose and submit your favorite post of the week for this week’s Christian Carnival, hosted by Semicolon.

Send the following:

The name and URL of your blog

The title and URL of your post

(plus trackback, if you like, but that's optional)

and a short (one- or two-sentence) description of your post.

to this email address. Deadline by Tuesday midnight EST. (Earlier is better for the host.)

More info here:

Monday, May 09, 2005

traits of the self-life

I enjoy reading blogs for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is to come away feeling entertained, lightened, and with a fresh zest for life. This post will probably not do any of those things for you. It will not entertain you. It will certainly not make you feel lighter. It may send you on with a feeling of discouragement. Hopefully it will also send you to Jesus. However, if you’re not in the mood for introspection, for the realization there are some things about you which are not pretty, you may want to stop reading right about now...

The life story of Rees Howells and especially the crisis he faced of yielding his self-life to God (Saturday’s entry, below), reminded of a tract I got years ago: "Traits of the Self-Life." I taped it then to the back cover of one of my Bibles. Last week while reading Rees Howells’ story, I reviewed that tract. It is the best description of the self-life I know, and I never read it but am convicted to the core in many areas. I quote it below (I don’t know the author’s name; it was published by the Western Tract Mission– there is no date or copyright notice on it.).


Traits of the Self-Life

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me." (Psalm 139:23,24)

The following are some of the features and manifestation of the self-life. The Spirit alone can interpret and apply this to your individual case. As you read, examine yourself as if in the immediate presence of God.

Are you ever conscious of:

A secret spirit of pride – an exalted feeling, in view of your success or position; because of your good training and appearance; because of your natural gifts and abilities. An important independent spirit. Stiffness and preciseness?

Love of human praise; a secret fondness to be noticed; love of supremacy, drawing attention to self in conversation; a swelling out of self when you have had a free time in speaking or praying?

The stirrings of anger or impatience, which, worst of all, you call nervousness or holy indignation; a touchy, sensitive spirit; a disposition to resent and retaliate when disapproved of or contradicted; a desire to throw sharp, heated flings at another?

Self-will; a stubborn, unteachable spirit; an arguing, talkative spirit; harsh, sarcastic expressions, an unyielding, headstrong disposition; a driving, commanding spirit; a disposition to criticize and pick flaws when set aside and unnoticed; a peevish, fretful spirit; a disposition that loves to be coaxed and humored?

Carnal fear; a man-fearing spirit; a shrinking from reproach and duty; reasoning around your cross; a shrinking from doing your whole duty by those of wealth or position; a fearfulness that someone will offend and drive some prominent person away; a compromising spirit?

A jealous disposition, a secret spirit of envy shut up in your heart; an unpleasant sensation in view of the great prosperity and success of another; a disposition to speak of the faults and failings rather than the gifts and virtues of those more talented and appreciated than yourself?

A dishonest, deceitful disposition; the evading and covering of the truth; the covering up of your real faults; the leaving of a better impression of yourself than is strictly true; false humility; exaggeration; straining the truth?

Unbelief; a spirit of discouragement in times of pressure and opposition; lack of quietness and confidence in God; lack of faith and trust in God; a disposition to worry and complain in the midst of pain, poverty, or at the dispensations of Divine Providence; an over-anxious feeling whether everything will come out all right?

Formality and deadness; lack of concern for lost souls; dryness and indifference; lack of power with God?

Selfishness; love of ease; love of money?

These are some of the traits which generally indicate a carnal heart. By prayer, hold your heart open to the searchlight of God, until you see the groundwork thereof. The Holy Ghost will enable you, by confession and faith, to bring your "self-life" to the death. Do not patch over, but go to the bottom. It will pay.

Oh, to be saved from myself, dear Lord
Oh, to be lost in Thee:
Oh that it might be no more I
But Christ that lives in me.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

happy mother's day!

Sentiments about this day can come from many points of view. I, personally, can speak as myself to my aging Mum. I can speak as a mum to my kids. I can even make sweeping statements about Mumhood – and claim to speak for you (what Hallmark, Carlton and Paper Magic do all the time).

In "Love’s Scratch ‘n’ Sniff" I speak from yet another viewpoint – the child I was, remembering the mother- (and father-) love I felt as I was growing up. Today I honor my Mum, and thank her for the memories!

*******

Love’s Scratch ‘n’ Sniff

Scratch ‘n’ sniff yellow
aroma of angelfood and jelly roll
when you wake up
Saturday-morning-warm.
Hurry down to claim bowl and beaters
dripping with batter to lick.

Scratch ‘n’ sniff white
perfume of just-washed frozen
diapers softening beside the heater.
Laundry makes Mum tired. "Read!" you call
as she dozes off again in the middle
of the story at nap time.

Scratch ‘n’ sniff green
storm-scrubbed morning air.
All night you lay watchful, sprawled on pull-out
livingroom couches with brothers and sisters
and pinched eyes shut against
lightning that took flash after flash
picture through the window
to thunder’s applause.

Scratch ‘n’ sniff charcoal
diesel fumes
body odor of the pulsing Massy 55.
You’re standing beside it asking
"Daddy, what do you mean
‘We’ll see’?"

–V. Nesdoly © 2002.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

book review: Rees Howells : Intercessor

I have just finished reading a mess-up-your-life kind of book: Rees Howells : Intercessor. This biography of Rees Howells was written by Howells’ friend and colleague, Norman Grubb (in cooperation with Howells' widow, son and secretary, and having at his disposal Mr. Howells' letters and the transcribed talks where he told many of the stories in the book). If you haven’t ever read it, you should. Well, maybe not. If you’re happy with the way you are, don’t. Because it might stir things up.

Born in South Wales October 10, 1879, Rees was always a good boy. As a youngster he loved to be in church "under the influence of God." When he was 22, he left Wales for America with the ambition to see the world and make money.

When he got to America, he got a job with his cousin Evan Lewis and continued living the religious life he had lived in Wales. Thus when his cousin asked him one day if he was ‘born again,’ he was miffed. "My life is as good as yours," he said.

However over the next weeks, his cousin kept at him. After a time of seeking, an illness and hearing the testimony of a converted Jew, he saw himself for the sinner he was, and personally accepted Jesus into his life.

Shortly after he returned to Wales in 1904, the Welsh revival broke out. He became involved in it and worked at discipling new converts. However, he and his friends sensed spiritual needs in their own lives. And so in the summer of 1906 they spent their summer holiday at the Llandrindod Wells convention (a Welsh equivalent to the English Keswick Conference) where Howells made a pivotal decision.

From the first meeting, Howells was deeply moved. The realization dawned on him that the Holy Spirit was a person, and not an ‘influence.’ In his words:

He said to me, "As the Savior had a body, so I dwell in the cleansed temple of the believer. I am a Person. I am God, and I am come to ask you to give your body to Me that I may work through it. I need a body for my temple but it must belong to Me without reserve for two persons with different wills can never live in the same body. Will you give me yours? But if I come in, I come as God, and you must go out. I shall not mix Myself with your self."

This precipitated a five-day struggle in Mr. Howells. From the first, he realized it was an unconditional surrender, of which he said:


"I had received a sentence of death, as really as a prisoner in the dock. I had lived in my body for twenty-six years, and could I easily give it up....I wept for days. I lost seven pounds....Nothing is more real to me than the process I went through for that whole week. The Holy Spirit went on dealing with me, exposing the root of my nature which was self, and you can only get out of a thing what is in its root. Sin was canceled, and it wasn’t sin He was dealing with; it was self..."

Some of the things he came to a point of surrender over:

1. His love of money: "The Lord told him that He would take out of his nature all taste for money and any ambition for the ownership of money."

2. His choice in making a home: "I saw I could never give my life to another person, to live to that one alone.

3. His ambition:"Supposing he had a mission in a town and another mission opened in the same place; if there was jealousy between the two, and it was better for the town only to have one, then it would be his which would have to go."

4. His right to a good reputation: "As he was thinking of men of the Bible who were full of the Holy Ghost, and particularly John the Baptist, the Lord said to him, "Then I may live through you the kind of life I lived through them."

Finally on Friday of that week he came through.

The book continues with stories of how God worked through this man teaching him faith and intercession as he prayed for the sick, prayed for the salvation of friends and acquaintances, gave up raising his own son to work as a missionary, traveled without any money in his pocket, bought estates, established a Bible school, and prayed for international events, especially during the World War II. And all the while God also continued to deal with his self-life.

************

Does this ring familiar to you? I wonder if it isn’t on exactly this issue – the surrender of the self-life to the Holy Spirit – that we who have come to Jesus are most radically sifted. It determines whether we grow or remain stunted, are useful to God or are set aside from getting His assignments because of our own agendas, will someday see our life’s efforts last or burn up.

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20 NKJV

"Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – which is your spiritual worship." Romans 12:1 NIV

"Jesus takes us over for His enterprises, His building schemes entirely and no soul has any right to claim where he shall be put." Oswald Chambers


Friday, May 06, 2005

a shower of grace

In three weeks and three hours from right now (start of drafting this), my daughter gets married. We got home late yesterday afternoon from a whirlwind trip to attend her shower Wednesday night. It meant fetching one of her bridesmaids from nearby, and then a four-hour drive. Once in Kelowna we picked up a couple of aunties and drove two more hours to Kamloops on this Shower Express.

I often feel apprehensive about such outings and later wonder why. This shower was one of those times.

The other bridesmaids, who put on the shower, and the ladies from the church were so friendly. H.W’s Victoriana-decorated home, with its collections of porcelain dolls, dried flower arrangements, photo montages, lace doilies and strings of beads was a perfect setting for this celebration of romance. Our little girl was ‘showered’ with beautiful things for her new home and I felt showered with grace.

I came away with a smile in my spirit, and feeling like I had another time. A few years ago we had a family reunion on the Saskatchewan farm where I grew up. Before the event I felt apprehension about a variety of things. But I came away from spending three days with my Mom, eight siblings, their spouses and kids with a wonderful sense of God’s benediction – on family in general, and on our family in particular.

I felt the same way Wednesday night. I believe it’s because God is pleased with our celebrations. His grace rains down when we give and receive generosity, support the family at whatever stage, and have a party because this is a happy time.

Going to Sonia’s shower gave me the vision and faith to pray for even more of that at her wedding. When all the planning is done, all the details have been worked out, and all things proceed just as we hope they will – or not – my prayer is that people will come away with a sense of being blessed supernaturally. May they know that Jesus was at that wedding. After all, He is known to have attended weddings before!

(And now my fingers need to type a shower of words, as I catch up on the work I missed while I was away!)

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

my current curriculum

As I’m reading through the Psalms, the fragments to which I’m especially drawn right now are about learning / being taught. "Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, And teach out of your law," I read this morning (verse 12 from Psalm 94 - NKJV), and was taken immediately to the verses I’ve been stuck on for weeks:

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you." (Psalm 32:8-10 NIV)

Instruct: to impart knowledge or skill in a systematic method. To give specific orders or directions, information or explanation.

Teach: to impart knowledge by lessons; to train by practice or exercises.

Counsel: to give advice to; advise, advice given as a result of consultation; opinion on what to do; guidance.

Part of the ‘required reading’ for this course I picked up on Sunday. When hubby headed off to the church bookstore after the Sunday service, I bee-lined to the library, where the title of the book I was to read jumped out at me the minute I parked myself in front of the ‘biography’ section: Rees Howells, Intercessor by Norman Grubb.

Oh my. There was a man completely abandoned to God and in His school for years, learning lesson after lesson as God prepared him for exploits. I’m still in the middle of the book, but feeling more like a horse or mule the farther I read.

Some of the lessons I’ve been learning.

1. Abandon to God:
- my blog. I’m not talking about quitting it, but rather abandoning concern about its well-being. E.g. I’ve been impressed with the notion that I should no longer watch traffic numbers and study ‘referrers.’ Rather, I am to listen to God about what to blog, then leave the results to Him.

- my writing ‘career path.’ What ‘path’ I ask lately. I used to sell bits of writing. I haven’t for a while. Of course, how could I when I’ve stopped submitting the short articles which have sold in the past, as I’m working on a book-length. But this has birthed restlessness in me. I realize the source of that restlessness is the need to be affirmed.

Always in the past, I’ve tried to do both – work on the longer project and keep up with submitting short things too. However, lately I’ve sensed a check about doing that. As I was again considering trying to split my efforts last week, I was reminded of the story of Peter going back to fishing in John 21. After all that had happened I think he wanted the security and common sense of his old life. But Jesus intervened. Showed him his old fishing life was over forever. Maybe there is a parallel here for me.

- my kids. Abandoning the hands-on parenting of one’s kids is hard for a person who likes to be in control. Now I must, in a sense, let God be mother and father.

2. Listen to God for each day’s instructions, and then not beat myself up at the end of the day because I’ve not accomplished enough. This is hard, and an exercise in faith for a Type A person like I am.

3. I have taken some of these classes before – and must have failed them because some of these lessons feel very familiar.

4. My lessons are not yours, or yours mine. I must not impose on others the specifics I am learning.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

seek His face

Monday, May 02, 2005

'Catching Katie' etc.

I’ve just finished reading my first Robin Lee Hatcher historical romance, Catching Katie. What an enjoyable journey to another time it was!

We first meet main character Katherine Jones, Vassar graduate and suffragette as she nears home (the Jones ranch just outside Homestead in Idaho’s Long Bow Valley) on her drive from Washington D.C. in her own Model-T. She’s been away from home for years. But now she is returning, determined to further the cause of women getting the vote nationally in the upcoming election.

Her spunkiness comes through immediately as she wrestles with her cantankerous car, and then drops by the Homestead Herald office to say an uninhibited hello to her best childhood friend, Herald editor Ben Rafferty.

Ben, handsome and steady, realizes almost immediately he wants Katie to be more than a friend.

Also clear from the outset is Katie’s idealism and her resolve to fulfill what she sees as her life’s destiny – working to elevate the position of women in America – a dream nurtured by her Washington suffragette friends. Her personal ambition and lukewarmness toward the thought of marriage provide some of the major tensions in the book. Ben and Katie’s relationship, with its tugs and pulls, figures throughout as centrally as if it were another character.

Besides the fun of the romance and the excitement of riding along with the youthful and idealistic Katie and entourage in their fight for the cause, this book is also a worthwhile read because it speaks to issues we still grapple with today. Through her characters’ lives, Robin Hatcher puts forth a biblical perspective on things like what can be the role of women in public life, how can women balance parenting with public service, and work toward fulfilling personal dreams while staying married.

"Likable characters and a feisty romance make this a delightful, intelligent historical romance,"

declares the Library Journal, in their article, "Best Books 2004" which names Catching Katie (along with four others) as the best in the 2004 Christian Fiction category. Way to go, Robin!

*********

Also due out in May is Hearts in Harmony, by my friend Gail Sattler (Maple Ridge B.C.). It’s the first in her mini-series "Men of Praise" (Steeple Hill’s Love Inspired line).

********

Now if you want fiction delivered via browser, mouse and monitor, get hooked on the blog fiction A Standard Christian which is Grace Jovian’s (A.K.A. Jeri Massi) sequel to Secret Radio. (The story stands alone.)

- Will Grace sell another Persian rug?
- What’s behind store owner Mr. Simpson’s personal attentions?
- And will she ever escape from the shadow of her old alma mater GIBC (Greater Independent Baptist College) and its henchmen, Preacher Dirk Pole, Preacher Rush Pole, Preacher Rob Lavendar, Preacher Lee T. Stone, evangelists Al L. Mee and her own father George Jovian?

(Episodes are posted Monday to Friday – we’re waiting for Episode 10)

Hat Tip: Notes in the Key of Life

Sunday, May 01, 2005

everybody preaches

"See?" Moss said quietly, watching Jeremy's face. "That's God. You can always find God, even in the low places--especially in the low places--if you know how to look."

"You are a preacher," Jeremy said.

"We all are." The old man laughed. "Everybody preaches something."

--from Bad Ground by Dale Cramer


*******


Check out the newest issue of FaithWriters Magazine, just online today! Lots of great reading there, for adults, teens and children.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...