Saturday, September 30, 2006

promptings' potpourri

First Bible published: Today in 1452, in Mainz Germany.

Gutenberg’s idea to separate individual letters (instead of keeping them joined in script as was the custom) made it possible to produce blocks with individual letters on them. Letter blocks fitted into a frame, coated with ink made of linseed oil and soot, and pressed onto paper with an adapted wine press made up the first printing press. The Bible was the first book printed.

(From today's The Writer’s Almanac - scroll down to "Literary and Historical Notes.")

On listening: Read some great tips on being a good listener from Vicki at Windows to My Soul.

Skyscapes: Diane Ackerman in A Natural History of the Senses describes nature in luscious prose. Take her description of the sky and clouds, for example:

"Storms have been fretting the coast here for days, and now thick gray clouds stagger across the sky. I watch mashed-potato heaps of cumulus and broad bands of stratus..."

"[...]The sun may appear magnified into a swollen ghost, or slightly elliptical.... we see a glorious red sunset, especially if prowling clouds reflect the changing colors.

"[...] A thick lager of fog sits in the valley like the chrysalis of a moth."
Now feast your eyes on some of these skyscapes at Sacramento Photo.

Friday, September 29, 2006

blogger beta

I have just switched to Blogger Beta. Oh my goodness, what a wonderful thing! I can now label my posts and when I click on those labels, other posts in that category display - just like a proper pricey blog from Typepad or Movable Type.

And this Blogger version publishes about five times faster than the old one. I labeled all the posts that show up here (which means editing and republishing) in maybe 30 minutes.

I was worried about switching to the beta version, thinking it might lose the changes I’d made in my template. But it didn’t. If you switch, when you switch, and you have more than one blog, Blogger switches all of them over at the same time.

today, september 29th . . .



Today, September 29th, is a very special day in our family. It's the day that Benjie joined our family.



HAPPY 21ST BIRTHDAY - BENJIE

book review The Measure of a Lady

Title: The Measure of a Lady
Author: Deeanne Gist
Publisher: Bethany House, June 2006, 320 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction / Romance
ISBN: 0764200739

When the two ‘sunbonnets’ Rachel and Lissa Van Buren, along with their younger brother Michael slog up the muddy hill to the city from the ship on which their father died, they don’t know that they’ll be living there for a good long time. Neither do they realize its temptations, vices and challenges will sift and test them to the point where their family bonds will be stretched to the break point. But that is the case when Deeanne Gist places this naive and vulnerable trio right in the middle of the gold-mad San Francisco of 1849 in her smashingly well-written second novel, The Measure of a Lady.

The story is primarily one of character with Rachel and Johnnie Parker – saloon-keeper and gambling house landlord – playing the lead roles. Rachel’s strict moral code, idealistic outlook and determined disposition can hardly bear to coexist with the red-blooded female side of her that Johnny brings out. The result is some great inner conflict. Johnny too fights inner battles as he trifles with the affections of this young beauty and then finds he, an avowed bachelor, is falling for her. Secondary characters Lissa and Michael are similarly convincing and interesting as they develop.

The setting is another major player in this tale. With the harbor full of boats that never leave, having been abandoned by their gold-fevered crews, the orphans are as trapped in this place as if they were on an island. The climate, with its perpetual rain and resulting sea of mud, feels authentic and adds to the sense of isolation. Contributing to the story’s realism is the research Gist obviously did (she lists, in a note at the book’s end, which of the story’s incidents were actually reported in journals and memoirs of the time), and her entertaining storytelling style. It’s hard to believe she wasn’t a fly on the wall of Johnnie’s gaming rooms, judging by the convincing way she calls a card game.

The plot is primarily one of romance. In this department, Gist’s skillful way with a love scene – always stopping just short of crossing propriety’s boundary of course – is made all the more compelling by, in several places, sensuous descriptions of some of nature’s couplings. To me the story’s pace bogged down a little in the home stretch, perhaps because of some time gaps in the narrative – or maybe it was just the fault of all that mud.

Family loyalty and taking responsibility for her younger siblings is a huge concern for Rachel. The theme of faith in God and how to apply it to life also looms large. Rachel, indoctrinated from childhood with the belief that she must shun anything remotely sinful, soon alienates herself from all the working ladies in the town. She also confronts head-on issues of drinking, gambling and the morality of living by monies made in the support of those pursuits. Happily, cataclysmic events at the end of the book act as a catalyst to resolve all these themes on a note of grace.

For the lover of historical Americana delivered with a dose of sweet romance, The Measure of a Lady won’t disappoint.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

a test for teaching and experience

I don’t normally read blogs that champion one brand of theology over another, or those that raise a hue and cry against certain ministries. However even conscious avoidance of such places doesn’t always work.

This week I was surprised by overt criticism of a popular ministry on one of the blogs I frequent and grieved by how the comment hounds leapt after the bait. Then I came to another blog where the statement was made that a certain prominent Christian writer (with whom this blogger obviously disagrees) would do well to forsake his preaching and writing career to make toothpaste commercials.

The reason that last statement bothered me is obvious. It’s an ad hominem attack – and as such I guess should be taken as seriously as all such attacks – not very. Such statements reveal more about the writer than the person criticized.

But the first type of criticism is more subtle and bothered me a great deal – I’m still not completely sure why. Perhaps it was the way in which only one supposedly faulty statement was pulled from this person’s writings (or teachings) and then the ministry was named – giving notice, by implication (meant or not) that all this person’s teachings may be in error.

Of course the outcome of such is that factions form, people polarize, they begin to call each other names, those who have been helped by the ministry get confused or defensive while those that have been offended by it become pompous and puffy.

And yet in this world of multiplied ministries with the thousands of voices on radio, TV, the bookshelf and the internet there is a need for discernment (though I'm thinking a drive-by shooting on a blog is not the best way to deliver it). That need was only underlined in my personal Bible reading yesterday morning from I Thessalonians 5:21: “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” So, where do I find such a test? How can I differentiate between the bad things to discard and the good things to hold onto?

I pondered that yesterday morning, thinking how serendipitous that this command should come along right at the point where I was thinking I sure could use a test template. I began writing some points but was unsatisfied with the result and left my list unfinished.

Then in the evening, I decided to put myself to sleep with some Tozer. As I looked through the contents of the slim The Best of Tozer, the title “How to Try the Spirits” jumped out at me. And there, on the third page I found my template. In his own words:

There are large numbers of persons who have not left the true way but who want a rule by which they can test everything and by which they may prove the quality of Christian teaching and experience...Briefly stated the test is this:

How has it affected my attitude toward and my relation to God, Christ, the Holy Scriptures, self, other Christians, the world and sin.

By this sevenfold test we may prove everything religious and know beyond a doubt whether it is of God or not.


If you’re interested in reading a summary of how Tozer explained each of these points, go here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

hannah faith

I love the story of Hannah. One’s heart can’t help but go out to this woman, the barren but most loved of two wives, whose rival rubs it in especially when they make their yearly trip to Shiloh. Then, when husband Elkanah gives Hannah a double offering, as if she had a son, Peninnah – the other wife – in her jealousy teases her, provokes her, doesn’t let her forget that she’s barren - BARREN!!

Oh the bitterness of it – to regularly see Peninnah’s belly swell with yet another child while hers stays flat. To live in this home squirming with young life, but none of it hers. And then to endure the cruel taunts of this woman – this apparently blessed woman, while she the kind one, the devout one, the loved one has nothing to show for it but empty arms.

This year she is desperate. While they’re in Shiloh, Peninnah’s pestering gets so bad she can’t eat. Even Elkanah’s chide, “Am I not better to you than ten sons?” grates.

She slips away to the tabernacle to pray and silently pour out her bitterness – even vowing that if God will give her a son, she’ll give him back to Him for his whole his life.

Cynical old Eli sits at the temple door watching her. With an imagination tainted by the debauchery all around him, he sees only drunkenness in her emotional outpouring. Finally he can’t stand it any more. “How long will you be drunk.” he says, interrupting her prayer. “Put your wine away from you.”

Aghast, Hannah replies, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit,” and she explains how she’s been in desperate prayer.

Eli, quick to see his mistake and sense this broken woman’s heart doesn’t even ask her what she’s praying for. In an about-face he says, “Go in peace and the God of Israel grant you your petition which you have asked of Him.”

And so Hannah goes, back to their campsite, smiling, perhaps even laughing.

“What’s with you?” a suspicious Peninnah asks, as she watches the woman who formerly had no appetite sit down and finish a whole meal.

I love how Hannah believed. She didn’t question the words of Eli with doubts about the messenger – does God really talk to him? After all, his sons are rumored to be real rapscallions. She didn’t go about cutting down this shining hope inside her with memories of the past and how it had always been before. No. She acted as if the thing were already accomplished and she already had that baby close to her heart.

I want to have a faith like Hannah’s. A faith that notices the answer to my need in a verse that just happens to be in the day’s Bible reading, or the words of a song, or the sermon of a pastor, or the reading in a devotional book, or someone’s blog post, or ... and then accepts that answer as from Him in simple uncomplicated trust – like a child, like Hannah.

And, as is typical of God, Hannah’s intense burden for a child perfectly meshed with a burden in His own heart. As Jane Hansen writes (“Women in God’s Design” sidebar - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible)

“Barrenness was not only Hannah’s condition, but Israel’s condition as well. It was a season of spiritual need and with little prophetic activity, and God sought a voice to speak on His behalf to His people. Hannah could not know that her intense intercession for a child was moving in concert with God – bringing her a son, but also bringing forth the will and blessing of God for a whole nation. As she entrusts the longings of her heart to God, He moves on her behalf, but also advances His larger plan through her at the same time."

Isn’t that an exciting thought – that the intense longings of my heart may be the birth channel of fulfillment for God’s larger purposes? Isn’t God amazing in the way He works!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

the newest

on Murals and More...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Lilia!


On Saturday we went to see the amazing one-woman play “Lilia!” at Pacific Theatre.

It is the story of Lilia Skala (who played the nun in "Lilies of the Field") – in a play written and acted by her granddaughter Libby Skala.

Libby’s write-up in the program begins:

“As a child, I listened for hours as my grandmother told remarkable stories of her life, always emphasizing that with God all things are possible. She had become the first female architect in Austria, and then a stage star in Max Reinhardt’s theatre, touring with him and other theatre companies throughout Europe.

In 1939 she was forced to flee Austria from Hitler’s onslaught, and became a political refugee in America. She arrived in new York penniless and without knowledge of the English language. There she began attending night school while working in a zipper factory during the day. Convinced that she had a God-given talent to share with the world, within two years she was cast in her first Broadway show. For the next five decades, her career in the theatre, film and television flourished."

The performance was about 75 minutes and delivered without intermission. It was fascinating to watch this young woman as she morphed from her child-, to teen-, to adult-self and, for long periods, into her grandmother with her heavy germanic speech (I loved how she pronounced 'Lilia' - LEE-lya), indomitable will, aura of nobility while at the same time seeming as flighty and capricious as some 'artistes' I know.

From the play’s first moments – a recording of the actual Lilia, getting the phone call telling her of "Lilies of the Field"’s Oscar nomination – to the final scene – another phone call where we discover that Libby is not betraying her grandmother’s secrets and that she actually challenged Libby to write this play (“Write a part for me,” she said. “Because Hollywood writers – they don’t know what to do with an old woman with an accent. They think we love to scrub floors and have ten children. But you could do something interesting. Do it. Write a part for me. DO IT! It’s not too late.”) -- I was immersed in the story and the performance.

If you’re in the area, go see it. "Lilia" continues at Pacific Theatre in Vancouver until October 7th.

Other reviews of the play are here.

monday mural - Whitehorse, Yukon


This striking cultural mural is from Whitehorse in the Yukon. It is on the Dana Naye Ventures Building at Black and 5th and was painted by ‘Colin.’

And no, I haven’t been to Whitehorse. But Samson Hartland has. He lives there. Find pictures of more Whitehorse murals on his blog Northern Light.

*************************
Update December 12/08

A commenter, Colin, let me know that the links to the "Northern Lights" blog no longer work.

You can view more Whitehorse murals here.



Hat-tip: Rebecca

Photo credit: Samson Hartland - used with permission

Saturday, September 23, 2006

a little inspiration

from moi.

Posted at Lifetools for Women - 'Six Steps to a Beautiful Countenance.'

jan karon speaks

on “Wrestling with and Writing from the Heart.” If you have 45 minutes, listen to her lecture at the Washington National Cathedral presented last December.

She tells how she came to write the Mitford Series – how she came to write novels at all. She talks about her philosophy of writing and gives us a peek into the world of the author relating to her characters. Hear the story of the t-shirts printed “Page 109 Happens.” You will be amused and inspired by this lovely lady of letters.

Hat tip: Thanks Linda

Friday, September 22, 2006

happy fall!

We're loving these autumn days.

After deserted ponds and rivers all summer, in the last few days we've seen a marked increase in the number of returning ducks. Mergansers we missed you!

Yesterday we had a rare treat - the sight of river otters, feeding along the bank of the Serpentine. This article says that groups of otters together are usually a mother with her young. Unfortunately we didn't get close enough to be able to make that out.

Otters - 2

Otters - 3

Otters - 4

But this does look like fish for lunch.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

eyes - part 2

Almost two years ago, in October 2004, we got a visit from my niece, her husband and two-month-old baby Adele. They were here from their home in northern BC to visit a vision specialist about baby Adele’s eyes. She wasn’t showing any response to visual stimuli. I wrote about it here.

They have just visited us again after their annual trip to Children’s Hospital. Baby Adele’s eyes have gone from 20/700 to 20/300! That’s a real improvement. Though still pretty impaired, she certainly does have some sight. Yesterday I caught her reading a book



As soon as the camera flashed, she looked up.



Because of her impaired vision she has developed a kind of ‘sight’ in her hands. I was playing a little tickling-feet game with her. I sound a lot like my sister, her grandma. On hearing my voice, she said ‘gama’ and raised her hands for me to lift her (she had turned away from me earlier). So now I picked her up and she lightly touched my face. Immediately she knew I wasn’t ‘gama.’ Then of course it was wriggle away, back to mommy.

With the wonderful parents this little girl has and God’s power to do abundantly more than we ask or think I wonder what other surprises Adele will have for us in the years ahead!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

book review - Among the Gods

Book: Among the Gods
Author: Lynn Austin
Publisher: Bethany House - August 2006
Genre: Historical fiction
ISBN: 9780764229930

Among the Gods, the fifth and final book in Lynn Austin’s Chronicles of the King series, explores the reign of the biblical King Manasseh of Judah. The book opens with Joshua, the story’s fictional main character, in Egypt impatiently awaiting Pharaoh’s decision on whether the exiles Joshua has shepherded out of Jerusalem will find safe haven there.

Pharaoh’s consent takes the group to Elephantine Island on Egypt’s southern border. There, under the direction of the angry and conflicted Joshua, a Jewish enclave is established. Prince Amariah is persuaded to act as a royal figurehead, the people build a temple similar to the one in Jerusalem, but always there is the hope that someday soon Manasseh’s idolatrous reign will end, the danger to these priests and Levites will be past and they’ll be able to return home.

Austin ups the story’s tension by flipping us back and forth between Egypt and Jerusalem. In Jerusalem we watch the meeting between cocky Manasseh, his creepy aide Zerah and a traitor from Elephantine Island as they hatch a scheme to trap and kill the elusive Joshua. Later Manasseh’s confidence cracks when the mighty Assyrians threaten Judah’s autonomy. As national and international events take their toll in both places, we see characters change as they gain insight into their lives and God’s dealings with them, resist change as they cling to old patterns and prejudices, or descend ever further into dependence on occultic mentors, idols and omens.

Both settings, with their various landmarks, sounds and smells, seem authentic. I was interested to discover that actual Jewish temple remains had been found on Elephantine Island, giving credibility to this imaginative elaboration of the Bible account.

The story’s primary plot concern – Joshua’s desire to exact revenge against Manasseh for the death of his father – explores two of the book’s related main themes, vengeance and forgiveness. The theme of parenting is played out in the relationship between the brooding Joshua and his lippy step-son Nathan. Their clashes are especially painful, though believable. We watch as Joshua makes slow progress in learning to love this boy. That love is uniquely tested when community members insist that a guilty Nathan be punished to the letter of the law. Joshua’s growth in this area foreshadows the love of another Father for all His rebellious children. Idolatry, repentance, marital love and the relinquishment of personal plans to God are some other themes explored in the story.

The title, though bland, does double-duty as it brings to mind the god-riddled setting in both Judah and Egypt, and refers to Israel’s God, praised in the psalm quoted by the priest near the end of the book: “Who among the gods is like you, O Lord?”

Austin’s storytelling style is, as always, fast-paced. Her prose is lean and efficient. On top of that, without unduly stretching our credulity she does manage to keep us on the Joshua-versus-Manasseh hook till the end (though that end does not really surprise). I’m confident lovers of biblical fiction will find this book a satisfying, meaty read.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing a copy of the book for review.

Filed in Book Reviews - Adult Fiction

Monday, September 18, 2006

monday mural - let's party!



This playful mural brightens the side wall of a balloon and party supply store in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

terry fox run today



When we were in Thunder Bay this summer we made a special trip to the Terry Fox Memorial. This monument, just outside Thunder Bay on Highway 1, is a few kilometers from the spot where Terry Fox discovered cancer had come back and where he was forced to give up his Marathon of Hope. (He started April 12, ended September 1, 1980. He ran 5,373 kilometers in 143 days on one leg and a prosthesis).

Today, September 17th, is the day of this year's official Terry Fox Run when people in cities all across Canada and the world run to raise money for cancer research and continue the project Terry started in 1980.

About Terry Fox

Terry's early years

Story of the original Marathon of Hope

Map of Terry's journey. Below that are excerpts from a journal he wrote along the way.

More views of the Terry Fox Monument are here.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

dream womb

God’s servants must be taught the value of the hidden life. The man who is to take a high place before his fellows must take a low place before his God. We must not be surprised if sometimes our Father says: "There child, thou hast had enough of this hurry, and publicity, and excitement; get thee hence, and hide thyself by the brook – hide thyself in the Cherith of the sick chamber, or in the Cherith of bereavement, or in some solitude from which the crowds have ebbed away."
Elijah - by Meyer

The above from today’s Streams in the Desert reminds me of Elizabeth, the wife of Zacharias. Matthew says that when the angel’s words came true, when she finally got pregnant, she didn’t race around to all the neighbors spreading her good news. Instead "She hid herself five months...." Matthew 1:24.

Sometimes I think I’d be well advised to do the same thing about the things God is telling me, the dreams He is conceiving in my heart, the assignments I sense He is giving me.

The tendency is to go around at the first hint of such a thing pompously announcing God has told me to do this and is sending me there. Why do I need to do this? Perhaps it is to make me seem big and important in the eyes of people – Oh my, she has an assignment from God. Or because I value the opinion and crave the validation of people as much or more than that of God?

The place of gestation, on the other hand, is a place of hiddeness, obscurity, sometimes uncertainty and certainly silence – on my part at least. If I am discreet in talking about my dream, I give God space to flesh it out and change it. And I avoid the trap of having to appear consistent to people I’ve blabbed it to when it was just an embryo and before God had the chance to grow it big and prove it viable.

(Photo is the 'womb' of the magnolia tree)

Friday, September 15, 2006

blackberry preserves

Materials:
- Roadsides, meadows or riverbanks where blackberries are plentiful
- A sunny day with time for a walk
- A camera (digital is preferable)

Procedure:
- While walking past loaded blackberry bushes, fill camera's memory card or film with blackberry jpgs. – well, maybe not that many, but take more than one or two.
- On arrival home, empty contents of card onto computer.
- Store in dark, dry CPU or burn onto a CD.

Open anytime and often. Blackberries preserved this way are sure to satisfy summer-hungry eyes all winter long.

directions




If you go to Him to be guided, he will guide you; but He will not comfort your distrust or half-trust of Him by showing you the chart of all His purposes concerning you.

He will show you only into a way where, if you go cheerfully and trustfully forward, He will show you on still farther.

– Horace Bushnell
***************

A Christian is one who trusts the wits and the wisdom of God, and not his own wits. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the leisureliness which ought to characterize the children of God.

– Oswald Chambers

**************
What God originates, He orchestrates.

– Andy Stanley

Thursday, September 14, 2006

watson lake - yukon

Murals along the Alaska Highway.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

sandpiper resort

Monday, September 11, 2006

monday mural - Rock-it Air Wear



I did a little mural-hunting on our recent trip to Thunder Bay (thanks to sister- and brother-in-law who drove us around!). Here is one we found on May Street, painted on the Rock-It Air Wear store. The business sells custom-made gift ideas and screen printed clothing.

A few more of the murals I photographed in TB are posted here.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

work



September and the time to get back to work. Though often maligned as a negative thing, I personally love to work – especially if that work is something that sweeps me away and makes me oblivious to time and place – like writing often does.

Here are some lines from Marge Piercey’s poem “To be of use” in praise of workers:

The people I love best
jump into work head first...

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience....

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident....

Read entire poem

Today I work in the kitchen. Friends are coming to visit and I am making a lasagne dinner. My husband has done most of the cooking for the last while – and though I haven’t missed thinking up what to make for meals, I have missed those kitchen rhythms. Today I get them back. I will put on my harness – my apron – and dirty my hands with smear, crumble, chop, saute and bake!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

yet another garden moment!

I thought I was about done with garden moments for this year. But plants are nothing if not surprising. This surprise was in the planter – the one that’s been slowly but surely taking over my patio.

It has several plants in it that have never bloomed. I assumed they were chosen for foliage only. One of those has reddish stems with green leaves that merge into pink – like a delicate blushing. It’s a beautiful plant and I had no trouble understanding why some flower basket maker chose it.

Then two days ago I saw something hanging from below those pretty leaves. On close inspection I discovered my beautiful but barren plant now had crops of buds. Today one of those buds opened and lo a fuchsia – which has just started blooming. It made my week!


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

book review - Mozart's Sister


Title: Mozart's Sister
Author: Nancy Moser
Publisher: Bethany House, September 2006
Genre: Historical Fiction
ISBN: 0764201239

I got off the bench and offered the audience my best curtsy. But it was Papa’s eyes I sought. And there he was to the side with Mama and Wolfie. He was clapping too.

I’d gotten my chance to perform. Papa was proud of me. The world was good and right. I would hold onto this moment forever.

Of course she doesn’t. And that is the story of Maria Anna Mozart (Nannerl), Mozart’s older sister. It is the story of trying to earn a father’s attention and praise, of feeling both love and jealousy toward a brilliant little brother, and of being a talented musician yet thwarted from finding a future in the musical world because a woman would never be accepted there, dominated as it was by men.

The story unfolds chronologically (only the “Prelude”gives us a taste of the story’s ending) with Nannerl telling it in first person. The seventeen chapters are divided into five parts, each with a musical title, e.g. “Prelude,” “Overture,” “Interlude,” etc. The chapters themselves consist of a series of vignettes. These vignettes are usually short, tightly written, fast-paced with the characters in action and lots of dialogue.

Because this is also the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the plot line won’t surprise some. However, what may surprise is the intimate view of life in the Mozart home. Nannerl’s confessional tone works well with the unflattering details revealed about her father, ‘Wolfie,’ even herself, and ring true as the voice of a conflicted girl.

Choosing to tell a story like this has its pitfalls. Nannerl could come off as excessively bitter and self-pitying, which Moser mostly avoids. Also we may be tempted to question whether Nannerl is a reliable narrator. Moser herself gives us some assurances of authenticity. “Because the Mozart’s were avid letter writers and, as per Papa’s instructions, most of the correspondence remains...I was able to use many of their actual words in the book, “ she writes in a “Dear Reader” section at the end of the book. However, she goes on to say that some pieces of the story were missing from primary documents. Thus the compelling story Moser tells and the believable characters she sustains even when blending fact with fiction is a credit to both her story telling skill and her ability to get inside the heads of characters.

While characters loom large in this book, the setting is not unimportant. The musical world of the 1760s-1790s, dominated as it was by court intrigue, snobbishness, class divisions and gossip, played a huge part in the Mozarts’ story. The fragility of life, with people constantly in danger of contracting and dying from small pox, rheumatic fever, dysentery, plague etc. was another big story element.

As mentioned above, themes of sibling rivalry, jealousy and making life choices dominate. The story takes place in a time when the Christian worldview was unchallenged and such is the lens through which these characters see life. However, Nannerl is shown as a woman with a personal faith, who believes in prayer and does her share of agonizing over why God has allowed her life to turn out the way it has.

If there was one thing that would make the book even better, it would be an edition which, when opened, would begin playing the music of the era to accompany the reading. But even without that, this book delivers an authentic and moving visit to another place and time.

**********
Thank you to Bethany House for giving me a copy of the book to review.

Filed in Book Reviews - Fiction

Monday, September 04, 2006

monday mural - Beachcomber Building

Forgive me for being a little excited but I am. Because today I start a new regular thing here called ‘monday mural’ which I’ve been thinking about doing for a while now.

For years I’ve had a fascination with murals. I love the audacious bigness of them and the way their presence adds interest and splendor to an ordinary street. I’ve taken photographs of murals for years too – photos that have customarily moldered in albums or boxes. But now, with my digital camera and access to a blog, I can do more. Which is why I’m starting this weekly mural post.

I’ve actually even started a mural blog (oh foolish woman!) devoted solely to murals and other public art. It’s called Murals and More - and you’re welcome to visit any time.

In this regular Monday mural post at promptings, I’ll be sharing some of the same murals I post to the mural blog, but there I’ll put up more pictures and go into more detail – if I have it.

Today’s local mural is a favorite of mine. It’s on the Beachcomber Hot Tub building (134th St. and Comber Way in Surrey) and consists of two walls of famous people. The west-facing wall is titled, "Beachcomber Salutes the Record Breakers."



The south-facing wall is called, "Beachcomber Salutes the Legends."



Now if only I could name them all!

(The mural blog has five close-ups of each of these two panels. I'd love to find out who the artist is.)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

meme-ish

Catez at Allthings2all has tagged me for the latest meme. It's been so long since I've done one of these, I feel creaky - but here goes...


1.Are you craving anything and if so, what?
Cheesecake slathered in peaches would be nice! But it just turned September and I have some resolutions to keep.

2. What is the weather outside, and do you wish it would change?
The weather is beautiful – sun, light breeze and warm (24 C at the beaches, pressing towards 30 inland). It’s supposed to stay this way for the next week. There are only two reasons I’d want it to change: I’m tired of watering my flower baskets but can’t bring myself to stop and be guilty of plantanasia, and there’s a tourist town on the coast of Vancouver Island (Tofino) whose reservoir is nearly dry and where they’ve had to close hotels and cancel events because of the water situation. For their sake I wish it would rain – although it would be fine if they got the rain while it stayed sunny here.

3. What two websites do you think you will go to next after you are finished here? I’m thinking bloglines, which opens 30-40 possibilities!

4. Do you wish you were somewhere else and if so, where?
Actually no, I’m fine here (where a fan is keeping me cool, and a guitar is playing Debussy’s Pavane in E minor). In fact, we just came home from being away for a week and as usual, while away I could hardly wait to get home. I’m a very boring homebody.

5. Do you wish you were someone else, and if so, who?
I would like to live for one week as Mother Theresa (who of course is long dead). I have read about her and some of her writings. Her life seemed so simple, other-centered and unencumbered with this world and its trappings, and yet satisfying. She fascinated me.


In meme tradition, I now need to tag someone to join in. How about three J's - Jan (and I see Jan's blog has made the finals for Best Family Blog in the 2006 Okie Blog Awards - Yoo-hoo Jan!!), and Julana, and Joyce? If you’ve already done it or you’d rather not, that’s absolutely fine! Of course anyone else who'd like to join in - please do!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

promptings' potpourri

Darren Rowse at Problogger has one cool site. (Actually many cool sites I'm told - but I’m only familiar with this one.) Not only does he give all kinds of advice on how to make your blog better and earn money with it (which I obviously don’t take), but he has also posted a cute picture of himself with his new baby to go along with eight reasons “Why having a blog is like having a baby."

There I also found a link to an official seal generator. I'm sure you'll agree, a seal is a must-have for the well-dressed blog. Here is mine.





Make yours at the link below.

learning to trust



"God had to bring Abraham to the end of his own strength and to let him see that in his own body he could do nothing. He had to consider his own body as good as dead, and then take God, for the whole work; and when he looked away from himself, and trusted God alone, then he became fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was able to perform. That is what God is teaching us, and He has to keep away encouraging results until we learn to trust without them, and then He loves to make His Word real in fact as well as faith."

A. B. Simpson, quoted in Streams in the Desert (emphasis mine)

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