Favorite Books in 2014 – in no particular order

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  1. 7 – An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess – Jen Hatmaker    Challenging. 
  1. Still Alice – Lisa Genova  Emotional but in a good way.  
  1. Just Mercy – Bryan Stevenson Eye Opening. 
  1. In Search of Deep Faith: A Pilgrimage into the Beauty, Goodness, and Heart of Christianity – Jim Belcher    A Journey. 
  1. In The Woods – Tana French  Mystery.  Irish. Want to read her others now. 
  1. Girl at the End of the World: My Escape From Fundamentalism in Search of Faith With a Future – Elizabeth Esther  Interesting – in the list of many memoirs I read.  
  1. Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell  YA – good read. 
  1. Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer – Micha Boyett   Benedictine practices for a young mom – wish this was around in my day as a young mom. 
  2. Interrupted : When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity – Jen Hatmaker  How God can change your life. 
  1. Spiritual Misfit – A Memoir of Uneasy Faith – Michelle DeRusha  Another “wish it was around to read a few years ago.”
  2. The Husband’s Secret – Lianne Moriarty  Interesting story – a bit of a twist. 

So – onto 2015.  Any recommendations?

 

 

Published in: on January 9, 2015 at 4:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Favorite Blogs

Since I’m not really blogging at this point – here are some to try.  In no particular order – and this is how the Internet can be like reading a very large magazine.

Kate Baer

Modern Mrs Darcy

A Cup of Joe

Barnstorming

Deliberate Reader

Addie Zierman

Internet Monk

Hollywood Housewife

Caris Adel

Karen Spears Zacharias

Rachel Held Evans

A Holy Experience

Published in: on January 7, 2015 at 7:54 am  Leave a Comment  

Evening Prayer – Celtic Book of Prayer

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Lord, You have always given 

bread for the coming day;

and though I am poor, today I believe. 

 

Lord, You have always given 

strength for the coming day;

and though I am weak, today I believe. 

 

Lord, You have always given

peace for the coming day;

and though of anxious heart, today I believe. 

 

Lord, You have always kept me

safe in trials;

and now, tried as I am, today I believe.

 

Lord, You have always marked 

the road for the coming day;

and though it may be hidden, today I believe.

 

Lord, You have always lightened 

this darkness of mine;

and though the night is here, today I believe. 

 

Lord, You have always spoken 

when time was ripe;

and though you be silent now, today I believe. 

Published in: on August 16, 2014 at 7:34 pm  Comments (2)  

May 31, 1980

May 31, 1980

We were children. But so in love. And we didn’t really know what that meant. But we learned. And are still learning.

Thirty four years!

Published in: on May 30, 2014 at 6:57 am  Leave a Comment  

So Many Books – So Little Time (or is it So Few Years?)

These photos show how many books are in my house – (and they have been purged twice since we moved in here 5.5  years ago).

There will be many that need to go in the years ahead.

Husband’s Office 
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One shelf left with books in Spare Room
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Basement Shelves – audio, photo albums, some games – but mostly books

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Next to my bed

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His (in our bedroom)

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Mine (in our bedroom)

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In the Office I Rarely Enter

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Published in: on January 6, 2014 at 5:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Some (mostly) Non-Fiction Books I’ve Enjoyed in 2013 (and maybe 1 from 2012)

When We Were On Fire – memoir of Addie Zierman’s church life in the 90s – which did not sound too different from my church life in the 70s.  She blogs here: Addie Zierman – How to Talk Evangelical

Bread and Wine – Community, sharing a meal with friends, relationships formed, and a balanced view of feasting or restraint.  With recipes. Shauna Niequist is an articulate, vulnerable writer. She blogs here: Shauna Niequist

 Every Good Endeavor – Tim Keller’s (Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC)  book on our job as our service to God.  No matter what our job is.  

Praying for Strangers – River Jordan decides to pray for a stranger each day for a year.  She starts praying without letting the stranger know – and eventually begins to approach the person (stranger) to let him or her know what she’s doing.  She never gets rebuffed and the stories are moving.  Brave woman – who is changed through her journey.

Chasing Francis – after a brief slow start, I ended up loving this book.  Fictional memoir, Italy sounded great, as does the food, and the deep contemplation of a faith crisis in a pastor’s life. (fiction but reads as memoir)

Quiet - Susan Cain’s book telling us that Introverts have value.   Ted Talk – Susan Cain

The Long Good-bye – memoir – the loss of a mother who died too young. Meghan O’Rourke.   Very moving and thought provoking.  Thinking I’d like to be around for my daughters until they’re more ready for me to be gone. :-)   NYTIMES review

The Rules of Inheritance - memoir of Claire Bidwell Smith on the loss of both parents when she was a teen and then young adult  – chapters in a non-linear structure.  Another blogger writer.  Claire Bidwell Smith

Published in: on December 27, 2013 at 3:01 pm  Comments (7)  

Before We Know the Future

I was in my kitchen in Orange, VA with NBC’s Today Show playing on my little tv as I cleaned up the dishes.  My daughters (ages 14 and 13) were beginning their homeschool work for the day in another room.  I heard Katie Couric and Matt Lauer report that it appeared that a small plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers.  Or was it an explosion? They talked to a witness, wondering what was going on.  I called the girls into the kitchen and we watched as the second tower was hit.   One of my daughters said “wow, nothing like this has happened in my life”.

We watched history happening throughout the day – schoolwork and anything else set aside – and listened to the reports of the other two planes crashing into the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.   The footage of the planes crashing into the towers was played again and again,  and the people were running and the smoke was billowing and it was all so horrible.

I went to class that night (microbiology) in Charlottesville and the instructor dismissed us, finding it impossible to teach.

At the time, my oldest son was serving as a reservist and was in Fort Dix, NJ – preparing to leave for a deployment to Bosnia.   Since that day 12 years ago,  my two sons have served 12 deployments between them.  I am a mom who is proud of their service.

Strong opinions about whether we should be wherever are voiced all over the internet and on tv.  I am not one of those people with a strong opinion because it can be difficult to KNOW. I struggle with what is the right choice because I do not know the future.

I do know it’s much easier to form an opinion on the right decision in hindsight.  Many will be writing books decades from now about what should have been done or how things could have gone better.  Lest we get too smug and know it all,  here’s what was printed in an encyclopedia about Hitler – published in 1931:

From Funk & Wagnalls New Standard Encyclopedia – Volume XV – Haggard – Hovey Copyright 1931 

Entry found on page 395 

Hitler, Adolf (1889–)

German political leader, born in Austria, but a naturalized Bavarian. In November, 1920, he organized a movement in Bavaria based on the Fascist movement in Italy. His followers wear gray shirts and brassards with a swastika in a white circular field on red. They were said to be armed with blackjacks. Hitler stood for a strong, united Germany. On Nov. 8, 1923, he and General Von Ludendorff seized the government at Munich, but their power lasted only a few hours. Ludendorff was captured first; Hitler was taken on November 12. They were tried for treason in April, 1924, and Hitler was sentenced to a short term in the fortress at Landsber, Bavaria. 

That’s ALL that was written about him in this “antique” encyclopedia.  But now we know the rest of the story.

Before we knew what had truly happened, reporters wondered and we watched not knowing :

Published in: on September 11, 2013 at 11:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Baptism

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John the Baptist baptized Jesus.

Matthew 3:13-17

I saw two young men get baptized this morning  – in the Rappahannock River after church in Old Mill Park.  In a lifetime of church attendance and after seeing many people get baptized, I do not recall ever seeing an outdoor – non-pool – baptism. (My sister tells me she was baptized outside in a body of water – but I do not remember it and am not sure I was there. Or was I just not paying attention?  :-)

Walking down towards the river, standing on the banks with a crowd of people to witness the event – reminded me of a couple of old pictures I’d seen in a collection of Flewelling photos.

In back of the home where my mother grew up in Easton, Maine – there was a creek ( river? pond?)  where many believers were baptized over the decades long ago.  Mom says she remembers her own mother getting baptized after a hole was cut in the ice.  Those people were made of strong stuff!  My mom and her sister were baptized as young girls by their dad (my Grampie) in another pond in their neighborhood.

 (The diving board in this photo indicates that other things happened at this pond – in the nearly two weeks of summer-like weather in northern Maine.  :-)  (four weeks?)

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How many decades ago was this photo taken?  I have no idea who is being baptized – or who is witnessing the event.

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And who is this man in the yellowed photo?

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A peer of my mother’s generation – baptized in the same pond.  (photo may be from my Aunt G?)

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Since I grew up in a faith tradition that does not practice infant baptism, I was baptized in a church baptismal as a young teen (along with a young friend). I wish I could remember a bit more about the event.   My husband was baptized as an infant, and then again by immersion as an adult.  Each of my children were baptized in an outdoor pool – with their dad assisting the minister.

Today I witnessed two more believers follow Jesus’ example.  They walked into a river, confessed their belief – and intention to be a Christ follower – and then were “buried” — and rose to new life in Him.  The witnesses applauded.

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What is Baptism?  (from About.com)

Published in: on September 8, 2013 at 5:08 pm  Comments (1)  

Mostly Untried

I watched the movie 42 last week.

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Watching this film – a story of baseball and of racism in the time of segregation – was very moving, but at times distressing.   Jackie Robinson was a hero.  We often hear about performing “acts of kindness” today.  Jackie restrained himself and performed some “acts of silence” (according to the film) – and there are times when silence is the far greater challenge.  Some had to be silent, but some needed (need) to be vocal and speak for those who could not.

In watching any film or documentary that chronicles acts of courage, I try to remember that when they were being courageous, they did not know what we  now know.  We look back in hindsight, knowing how it all turned out – and it can diminish what happened. They could not know the future but only hope that their vision would be realized through what they did.

When I watch a movie or read a book about people who have experienced great hardship, I know that I am (as yet) mostly untried.  There are people who continue to face racism, people who live in countries with war all around them, those who face disease, many face religious persecution or the threat of death due to their faith, and some just struggle financially or emotionally in their day to day life.  I am blessed to not have not had to deal with such trials. Not even close.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not so brave that I am eager to grow as a person through great trials.   My little moments of courage – while challenging for me personally – are relatively small.

I can honor those who have lived through hardships, become inspired – and then challenge myself  to live more courageously.  Sometimes – as in this video linked – it just might be calmly speaking up for someone.

What You Can Do (HT to my Pastor)

Published in: on August 26, 2013 at 6:18 am  Comments (1)  

Southington with a Sister

A couple of weeks ago, I went “home” to Connecticut in order to celebrate the college graduation of my niece Sarah. Except it’s not really home anymore, of course.  After I spent my first five years in northern Maine, I spent the next 25 years in Connecticut, and have now been in Virginia for the last 25. Why yes, that does add up to 55.  I am old.  But it also means I will soon have lived in Virginia more than anywhere else.

While I was in CT,  I drove back to the area where I actually grew up. With a sister who remains a resident of CT, and the fun of visiting old friends always making it worth the trip, I’ve been back many times to CT over the years.   I don’t always go back to Southington, though – mostly I stay in my sister’s town and the surrounding area.  This trip, though, we drove around a few of the places of our childhood, and things looked and felt very different to me.   Trees are way bigger.  I almost forgot one of the turns. We drove up the driveway of our elementary school. It was next to where we lived and we used to actually walk home for lunch and then back to school after lunch.  Yes – off the school campus and back.  Weird.  We drove into the mobile home park next door — where we grew up.  It had always felt like a large, safe playground.  We were free to roam around the “park” and into the woods next to the park.   The “woods” (area of trees between the park and the school) is now all cleared away.  I remember playing there – and the trees felt dense and large and even a bit spooky at times.   The neighborhood kids and I built forts, climbed trees, and did lots of normal childhood things (at least for the sixties) I would have been nervous about letting my own kids do.   The grassy area in its place is nice and neat, but it makes me a bit sad to have the mystery cleared away. 

Me at about 10 with my younger sister

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I clocked the mileage of one of my furthest bus stops.  I had imagined it was at least a mile away – sorry, memory – it was only a 1/2 mile.  Still – a bus stop a half mile away from home.  Does that even happen now?  I remember the biting winds and walking it in the winter and waiting.  And waiting.  The bus seemed to take a very long time.

I drove past the church I got married in – a half a mile down that road I grew up on.    It seems so small.  It IS so small.

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My favorite pizza place in the next town over is not impressive from the outside.  Few out-of-towners would suspect that their pizza would be enough to cause me to drive miles to get my annual taste of delicious “real” pizza.

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Across town, I drove by my husband’s childhood home.  It’s been yellow for a few years now – no longer the mossy green it was at the time.    The trees there are large, too.  We had attended the same high school, never met (different “circles” traveled) and met 3 months after graduating high school at our place of employment.  I picked him up for our first date in front of this house – since his car had gotten smashed the previous week. (Should I go to the front door?  No – here he comes.  Awkwardness.  I think I drove.  :-) He cooked me my first tacos on my next trip to this house. I was introduced to his sisters that time.  And this is one of the places I  slowly fell in love with the young man who has became my forever love.

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Traveling through towns with trees grown big and buildings grown small (or so it seems) – it’s fun to do this with the person who shared it all.   My sister – the one who listens and confides (well, when I stop talking long enough for her to get a word in) – and makes all those miles along I-81 so worth the drive.  Phone calls are great – but time together is extra-great.

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Published in: on June 29, 2013 at 8:42 pm  Comments (2)  
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