Saturday, December 19, 2009

“Is not this the carpenter,
the Son of Mary?”
 (Mark 6:3)

An unusual Christmas text, perhaps, but it’s a theme that sticks with me…this thought of Jesus as a carpenter.

Jesus – learning His craft from Joseph – how to measure, hammer, nail, plane, saw and sand, how to use the right tools to produce the perfect effect, knowing just when to stop, lest He mar His work of art. No doubt He was skillful at His occupation, one who could be trusted to create a masterpiece.

No wonder Paul, years later, should remind us that “…we are His workmanship…” (Ephesians 2:10). I love that!  He is the one who is making us, shaping us, molding us – and He knows exactly which tools to use, when to stop and start, and how much pressure to exert, in order to create a masterpiece.

He is skilled at His occupation!

So I am asking myself, at the end of this year, and especially as heaven gets a little closer by virtue of age – am I squirming under the hammer, wriggling away from sandpaper, enduring the painful nails and the seemingly endless buffing? Am I complaining that He doesn’t really know what He’s doing?

Or am I submitting (as graciously as possible!) to the process, to become that work of art He has designed me to be?

I am trying to keep my eyes on eternity, since that's what this preparation is all about. Hope you are too.

I do pray that your Christmas celebration of our Saviour will be filled with a tangible sense of His presence, and that the New Year, in spite of the heartache and devastation so prevalent around us, will find you with your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, and your heart resting in Him – the author and finisher of your faith.

He is an awesome carpenter!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Mystery of the Incarnation

This was written by Saint Augustine of Hippo fifteen centuries ago:

Maker of the sun,
He is made under the sun

In the Father He remains,
From His mother He goes forth.

Creator of heaven and earth,
He was born on earth under heaven.

Unspeakably wise,
He is wisely speechless.

Filling the world,
He lies in a manger.

Ruler of the stars,
He nurses at His mother's bosom.

He is both great in the nature of God.
and small in the form of a servant.

and, surprisingly, this was penned by
Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi

I have never been able to reconcile myself to the gaieties of the Christmas season. They have appeared to me to be so inconsistent with the life and teaching of Jesus.

How I wish America could lead the way by devoting the season to a real moral stocktaking and emphasizing consecration to the service of mankind for which Jesus lived and died on the cross.

Finally, I don't know who to credit for this, but it is a wise saying:

The manger lies in the shadow of the cross

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Smart Farmer and Wise Words

A farmer bought an new car after spending a lot of time pricing them.

By coincidence, a few days later, the dealer who sold him the car appeared at the farm and said he would like to buy a cow for his small country place.

The farmer quickly wrote the following and handed it to the dealer:

Basic Cow: $200

Extra Stomach: $75.00

Two-tone exterior: $45.00

Produce Storage compartment: $60.00

Dispensing device -

four spigots at $10.00 each: $40.00

Genuine cowhide upholstery: $125.00

Automatic fly swatter: $35:00

Dual horns: $15:00

Plus Tax and delivery: $595.00

Total charge: $1,190.00

(author unknown)


It can buy an education, but not wisdom.

It can buy a house, but not a home.

it can buy a bed, but not sleep.

It can buy food, but not an appetite.

It can medicine, but not health.

It can buy finery, but not beauty.

it can buy amusements, but not happiness.

It can buy gifts, but not love.

It can buy employees, but not loyalty.

It can buy attention, but not respect.

It can buy a fine funeral, but not eternal life.

It can buy a lot of earth, but none of heaven.

It can buy some people, but not God

(author unknown)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Life is...?

I've been reading a lot of Mother Teresa's writing recently. I purchased a copy of Mother Teresa: No Greater Love at a second-hand bookshop, and although I didn't expect to, I love this book. I am only part way through it and already have so much underlined. The text above came from a greeting card I received for my birthday. If you'd like to read something a little deeper, from her book, you can find it at my other blog here

And this is from the back cover:

What we need is to love without getting tired.
How does a lamp burn?
Through the continuous input of small drops of oil.
What are these drops of oil in our lamps?
They are the small things of daily life:
small words of kindness
a thought for others
our way of being silent
of looking
of speaking
and of acting.
Do not look for Jesus away from yourselves.
He is not out there;
He is in you.
Keep your lamp burning,
and you will recognize Him.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Lost Art

The other day I was about to walk out of the bank, just as a man was approaching the door from the other side. I hesitated to open the heavy, glass door, hoping he would open it for me. But, no! He waited for me to open it for him! Well, I was in a hurry, so I did. He walked through and headed for the teller without even so much as a 'thank you'!

Now, not to mention that I am a woman, and I have also just officially become a 'senior,' and that under those circumstances he (a much younger man) should have opened the door for me -- it reminded me that saying 'thank you' is becoming a lost art.

Do you remember when sales clerks would thank the customer for their purchases? Not any more. When I walk out of the supermarket, I say "Thank-you" even though I pack my own grocery bags! But I don't very often even get a "You're welcome!"

The only time the bank thanks me these days, is in a preface to a letter encouraging me to go further into debt by taking advantage of great interest rates!

It was a pleasant surprise when my daughter and I had a meal at Kelsey's recently, and the young waiter gave us a hand-written note along with the bill saying, "It was great to have you with us at Kelsey's this evening!" but suspicious me was pretty sure that all the waiters/waitresses probably did the same thing with each of their customers....and was it a timely ploy to solicit a more profitable gratuity?

I raised my children with manners. They were always taught to "...mind your Ps and Qs" -- ("PleaSe" and "thank-Q"). It's a lesson that sticks. It may be habit, but it's a good habit! Saying "thanks" is such a little thing, but it makes the giver look good and the receiver feel good.

Here are a few tips on how to say "thank you":

Be sincere: don't make saying "thank you" sound routine - say it with heartfelt feeling.

Don't mumble: don't act as if you are ashamed of the phrase. This only serves to cheapen its value.

Thank people by name: if there are several people to be thanked, don't just say, "Thanks, everybody." Name each one of them.

Thank people when they least expect it: a thank you is even more powerful when the other person doesn't expect it. It's among life's most pleasurable surprises.

Find a way of saying "thank you" without using words: the gesture doesn't have to be large or expensive to be noticed.

There are so many other ways of showing gratitude to someone: a kindly worded note or card, a little gift, a phone call, an e-card, a favour in return, a certificate of appreciation for work well done, flowers - chocolates!

I'm grateful that my children are teaching their children to mind their Ps and Qs -- and grandma will always be there to reinforce the lesson.

...for reading my blog today!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Where Do You Find Refuge from the Storm?

Small Harbors

We need small harbors in our soul
where we can slip out of the sea
to wait a moment and be whole.

A book, a poem, a song may be
enough, some exercise, a walk.

A time of solitary labor,
a dog, a cat, a garden, talk
shared with a passing friend or neighbor,
sometimes the merest human touch.

A silent prayer is such a place --

Small harbors may be nothing much,
but ah, they have a saving grace.

(James Dillet Freeman)

Where do you go in a time of trouble; when you need shelter from the storm, or just a little peace and quiet?
What is your favorite 'small harbor' -- a sunset, a special verse, shopping?

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Storm

I'm not sure if this can be called a poem. I wrote it 25 years ago, when I was going through a really tough time in my life. I found it again recently when I was sorting out some papers.

The storm clouds gather and the familiar thundering brings furrows to my brow.

My mind flees for shelter, as the tumult rolls in upon me.

The winds of pressure rise and I'm tossed this way and that, until it seems my very being will break under the strain.
The downpour strikes at my heart with icy spears of apprehension and dismay.

Lightning shafts of discouragement penetrate my spirit as I submerge beneath a deluge of self-pity.
My vision is impaired; this tempest is an affront to my plans - the future is bleak and desolate -- foreboding.

Oppression broods ponderously overhead.

Lord, is there to be no end to this strife?

But wait! Off in the gloomy horizon is a tiny patch of blue!

My heart takes flight, out of the storm and into the dark dispelling Light.

With a sigh of resignation, the now-defeated squall sweeps away the last dark cloud, as the song bird in my heart breaks tremulously forth into melody.

Living, loving streams bubble up through my spirit, cleansing as they flow.

The heaviness and dross have been washed away by the fiery rains of the Holy Spirit.
Now the air is cool and fresh; my vision breathtakingly clear, as shafts of Son-light reflect through a rainbow of hope.

Lightness and joy envelop my very being, as I step forth with renewed vigour; determination in my heart, and a fresh commitment on my lips.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The 23rd Channel

The TV is my shepherd; I shall not want.

It makes me lie down on the sofa.

It heads me away from my faith.

It destroys my soul.

It leads me in the path of sex and violence

for the sponsor's sake.

Yea, though I walk in the shadow of Christian responsibilities,

there will be no interruption,

for TV is with me.

Its cable and remote, they comfort me.

It prepares a commercial for me

in the presence of my worldliness.

It anoints my head with humanism and consumerism,

my coveting runs over.

Surely laziness and ignorance shall follow me

all the days of my life.

And I shall dwell in the house watching TV forever.

(from a church bulletin, July 20, 1986
author unknown)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Christmas in July (and all year round!)

It says a lot about life, when you are so busy that you've not been able to exchange Christmas gifts with a friend until the middle of July!

My gift to my friend was a tin of really nice cookies (I hope they are still nice - and worth waiting for - after seven months), along with some home-made greeting cards.
Her gift to me was well worth waiting for:

She knows I love birds, and especially cardinals, and these are kind of cute: - but her gift means more to me than just that.

I've been thinking and praying a lot about JOY recently. Sometimes, in the midst of a busy and somewhat stressful life, JOY can be a bit elusive. I have made it a priority to seek out JOY and and put it into practice as much as I can.

Someone has said that happiness is dependent on our outward circumstances, whereas JOY flows from the life of Jesus within us.

I think that's why, even though we can be pretty 'down-in-the-dumps' sometimes, there can still be song, a hymn, or a chorus flowing through our heart and making its presence known in our mind. Even as I write this, there's a little Hillsong Kids chorus running 'round in my head:

Never give up, 'cause He's always there

Never give up, anytime, anywhere

Never give up, 'cause He's always there -

remember God is always by your side!

I have determined to stop and listen for a song that's running 'round in my head and heart, when I am a little down. Especially so that I can give expression to it by singing it out loud (well, maybe not in public -- but I can still hum it!) ...and allow the JOY of Jesus to well up from within. I've said before on this blog that I may have to grow old, but I don't have to be old and grumpy!

So, although this gift is a little tacky (I can say that, as my friend is completely computer illiterate and will never read this!), and although it is a Christmas decoration, it is going to stay out on display, in my office, all year round.

Do you have a Christmas decoration that stays up all year round?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

From Generation to Generation

Thirty-six years ago, my sister published her first book --
a book of prayers for boys:
She sent a copy to my son, Kevin, who was eight years old at the time. He's 44 this year!

This is what she wrote in the flyleaf in 1973:

Her prayer was answered!

This year, my sister had the book updated and reprinted:

Kevin now has a son, Boyd, who has just turned 12. Chris really wanted to have his photo on the new cover of the book, but the publisher resisted.

She did, however, recently send Boyd a copy of the book, with this inscription in the flyleaf:

I pray that Boyd will always follow in his daddy's footsteps and make Jesus the most important person in his life!

Here's one of my favourite prayers from the book:

Man-Made Brain

Computers are marvellous things, Lord.

I love playing all kinds of games on them,

looking up strange facts and answers to questions.

I love to push buttons, play on the keys

and see all the exciting graphics.

Computers can do just about anything,

they're almost human.

But that's the really marvelous thing, Lord;

to think that you made man

with such a brain

that he can almost make a brain himself!

Thank you, Chris, for a great little book!

And thanks for sending it to my boys!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

This is God Speaking....

A few years back, billboards bearing "messages from God" appeared along American highways. Those arch one-liners were commissioned anonymously and conceived by Charlie Robb, former creative director for the Smith Agency in Fort Lauderdale.

Some sample messages, each signed, simply, "God":

Loved the wedding. Invite me to the marriage.

Will the road you're on get you to my place?

That "love thy neighbor" thing -- I meant it.

Do you have any idea where you're going?

Follow me.

Keep using my name in vain, I'll make rush hour longer.

Need a marriage counsellor? I'm available.

I don't question your existence.

What part of "thou shalt not" did you not understand?

We need to talk.

Don't make me come down there.

(Tom Kuntz in The New York Times

Can you think of others you'd add, if you were God?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Three Men in a Boat...

(To Say Nothing of the Dog!)

Well, many thanks to my hundreds of followers for all your comments :)

It seems it's not altogether easy to assess exactly what it is that makes us laugh.

In my research for the magazine article, I remembered something that, many decades ago, really made me laugh. Maybe you will get a chuckle out of it too:

But I want to share with you something that my British sense of humour really enjoys.

I am reading Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat. Jerome wrote it in 1889. I've probably read it three times in my life -- that's a lot, considering I rarely read a fiction book more than once.

Here's the introduction:

...a merry, but scandalously lazy band of well-to-do young men -- and a plucky and rather world-weary fox terrier named Montmorency -- (decide to take) an idyllic cruise along the River Thames.

Feeling seedy, muses one of them dreamily, "What we want is rest." What they find instead is one hapless catastrophe after another.

Soggy weather, humiliating dunkings, the irritating behavior of small boats, and the "contrariness of teakettles" are just a few of the barbarisms our genteel heroes are forced to endure. But to which a delighted reader can only sing, Hooray!

But it's a passage about Montmorency the dog I'd like you to read:

To look at Montmorency you would imagine he was an angel sent upon the earth - for some reason withheld from mankind - in the shape of a small fox terrier.

There is a sort of Oh-what-a-wicked-world-this-is-and-how-I-wish-I-could-do-something-to-make-it-better-and-nobler expression about Montmorency that has been know to bring tears into the eyes of pious old ladies and gentlemen.

(At first) I used to sit down and look at him, as he sat on the rug and looked up at me, and think: "Oh, that dog will never live. He will be snatched up to the bright skies in a chariot, that's what will happen to him."

But, when I had paid for about a dozen chickens he had killed; and dragged him, growling and kicking by the scruff of his neck, out of a hundred and fourteen street fights; had had a dead cat brought round for my inspection by an irate female who called me a murderer; and had been summoned by the man next door but one for having a ferocious dog at large that had kept him pinned up in his own toolshed, afraid to venture his nose outside the door for over two hours on a cold night; and had learned that the gardener, unknown to myself, had won thirty shillings by backing him to kill rats against time, then I began to think that maybe they'd let him remain on earth for a bit longer after all.

If you've never read Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), I can only encourage you to get a copy. If you don't have much to laugh about, this book will change everything!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Laughing Out Loud

I've been given an assignment --

to write about laughter.
I've got some great ideas in mind -- but I thought you might like to help me.

First -- what makes you laugh?

Is it listening to a good joke?

Hearing from a special friend?

Being with someone you love?

Watching a sitcom together?

Or seeing your favourite team win?

Do you laugh when someone tickles you?!

I'd really like to hear about what makes YOU laugh!

(or -- maybe you don't laugh very much)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Secret Diaries

I've been reading this book recently:

It is an incredibly moving volume of stories recorded by children who experienced unimaginable horrors. They are 'tales of fear and courage, of tragedy and transcendence.'

What I found interesting was that many of these children had a sense that they were putting their experiences on paper expecting that someone, somewhere, at some time, would read them -- even though many of these children were also convinced that they would not live beyond their childhood years because of the horrors they were enduring (and many of them didn't).

It is, indeed, quite remarkable to read how their diaries, written industriously on scraps of paper, in the covers or down the margins of old books, well-hidden from enemy eyes, were somehow discovered, preserved, and ultimately published in some form or another, decades later.

I have learned so much from the remarkable wisdom expressed in these diaries - about human nature (both the good and the evil), about how children process and survive terrible trauma, about being thankful for life and wanting to make the most of it while I can, about the enduring element of faith.

More than anything, I want my grandchildren to read these diaries, so that they can learn by them. My grandchildren -- who want for nothing, who have no comprehension of hardship, never mind of living in ghettos, being chased down by Nazis and seeing their parents shot to death, or of hiding in bomb shelters and wearing gas masks, or of dying gruesome deaths -- need to read about what other children have lived through and be thankful that they haven't.

Maybe they need to read these diaries in preparation of what lies ahead for them in this world. I don't know. I just know they need to read them.

I keep a journal....have done for about 15 years. I don't write in it daily, but what goes into it comes from the deepest part of me. So it's not something I would ever want anyone to read while I am alive.

But I can't help having this overwhelming feeling, every time I write in it, that there will come a day, long after I'm gone, that someone, somewhere, will be reading what I've written and will benefit greatly by it.

How about you? Do you keep a journal? What do you write in it?

Do you have a sense that maybe you are writing for a future generation? That sometime in the future, after you are gone, someone will read it and be grateful for what you have written?

Monday, April 6, 2009


I came across an interesting site today called LibraryThing.

You might like to join; I probably will. I'd sure rather do this than Facebook (books are much less demanding and far more entertaining).

{Update: I joined this evening. Looking forward to all this site has to offer!}

There I found this interesting post and wanted to share it with you.

The BBC apparently believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books listed here:

How many of these books have YOU read?

I have marked in bold the ones I have read
in italics the ones I am in the process of reading,
and in blue the ones where I have only seen the movie.

Recently I have determined to read more of the 'classics' -- But I can see by this list that I have a long way yet to go!

Why don't you copy and paste the list into your comment, and in some way mark those you've already read, the ones you are in the process of reading, and the ones you've only seen as a movie -- so we can compare with each other.
Then, go here to check out the site and see how over 50 others responded on the site...makes for interesting reading in itself!
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - read some, but not others...
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy.
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth.
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt.
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

That makes 23 I've read; 1 I am in the process of reading and I have seen 4 as movies. I think the BBC was quite incorrect in their assesment.

How about you??

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hush! God is Here!

I came across this Scripture verse recently.

“Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path and you’ll find rest for your souls...”(Jeremiah 6: 16-19).

I guess it's probably my age, but I often think about the old, godly ways, and long for them.

I'm longing for the reverence of God in acknowledgment of His holiness; an awe of Who He is. I know He's our friend, and I love the relationship we have with Him on that basis.

But He is also God Almighty; Maker of Heaven and Earth; the One Who holds all things together -- the One Whom the angels worship 24 hours a day; the One Whose "eyes are like a flaming fire...His voice as the sound of many waters...."

When John saw Him like that in his vision, he fell at His feet as dead, the book of Revelation says. That's awe!

I'm reminded of a little church my sister and I visited in the UK, in 2007. St. Leonard's in Speeton, Yorkshire dates back at least the the 12th century, maybe even further:

It's the tiniest church I've ever seen -- surely couldn't hold more than 50 people -- set on the outskirts of the village. It was lovely to sit in its pews and meditate for a while; so quiet and peaceful.

But what struck me the most was the sign on the door:

Don't you think this sign should be on every church door?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Finishing Well

Over the course of a lifetime there have been numerous books that have impacted my life and changed me forever. One that comes to mind immediately is The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.

The ten Boom family lived in Holland during the Nazi occupation. Appalled by the treatment of the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis, they took it upon themselves to shelter Jews in a secret room in their house.

Ultimately, the ten Booms were arrested -- but the Jews hiding in their house escaped detection. The ten Booms were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp, where Corrie and her sister Betsy managed to stay together until Betsy passed away there.

Corrie was finally released -- the only one in her family to survive -- apparently because of a clerical error. But the core of the book is the trial of faith which Corrie and Betsy go through in the camp, and the inspiration that Betsy was to her sister and the women in the camp.

You can see the trailer of the movie of The Hiding Place here. And you can find other excerpts from the movie also on YouTube.

The book, and then the movie, had a great impact on my life during an extremely difficult time in my life, and also on the lives of my pre-teen (at that time) children. We have never forgotten Corrie's story and talk about her frequently.

Throughout my lifetime I have read, I think, just about every book Corrie had ever written (she passed away in 1983 at the age of 91), and I have loved every one of them.

But I recently discovered a book I'd not read -- one not written by Corrie herself, but by her latter-years companion, Pamela Rosewell Moore -- about another form of imprisonment that Corrie suffered in her end days.
Corrie suffered several strokes in her 80s. She was in and out of hospitals, undergoing physiotherapy, making headway -- until another stroke would hit. She ultimately lost her speech completely, but lived for quite some time after that...communicating with eyes, through elaborate guessing games with those around her.

"For those five silent years of imprisonment, Corrie's spiritual depth offered mute testimony to her ongoing trust in her heavenly Father.

"The book attests to the truth Corrie loved so dearly: that in spite of everything else, Jesus is always Victor."

This incredibly moving account will encourage anyone, but especially those who are elderly, handicapped, or bedridden -- or those who work with them.

I am none of the above (well, getting to be elderly!), but I was so moved by what I read that when I had finished the book I wrote the following in my journal:

Lord, I desire to 'finish well'

I desire that my life would be pleasing to you to the end.

I desire not to be crotchety and cranky, but to be...

loving and compassionate
full of wisdom (the kind that comes with grey hairs!)
taking care of my health and my body


with a clear and bright mind for as long as possible!

Remember, Lord, that you said;

"Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:27)

I am trusting that there is not!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What are You Reading?

One of my favorite forms of relaxation is reading. I love it so much that when my family asks me what I'd like for birthdays or Christmas, my response is always the same: "Ooh, I'd LOVE a Chapters gift card!" And although they are never thrilled about me not asking for something more beautiful, useful or exotic, I think they've finally got the message!

I received a lovely lot of Chapter's gift cards this past Christmas, and oh, the joy of spending them all on line! I've learned that I can get free shipping if I spend over $40 at one time (as long as I remember to tick the little box), and generally I receive my package within a couple of days.

Chapter's gift cards are like having Christmas all year round!!

I now have a little pile of unread books waiting for me -- how delicious is THAT!

I work from home, so I take a 45 minute lunch break every day, and read a book at the same time...that's generally all I have time for, so the going is slow, but that's ok. It's good discipline for someone who COULD read at least one whole book a day!

I determined at the beginning of the year that I should read some authors I've not read before -- so these are waiting for me (it's quite a mixture):

The Idiot -- Fyodor Dostoevsky (I've heard it's somewhat morbid)

Three by Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, An American Childhood and The Writing Life)

The Man Who Was Thursday: G.K. Chesterton (I love a good mystery; I'm hoping this lives up to its reputation)

Three Men in a Boat: Jerome K. Jerome. Actually, I'm cheating with this one -- I've read it before, but loaned it out and it was never returned. I don't read too many books twice, but this one's worth it -- ya gotta love British humor!

Noah's Flood: Ryan and Pitman (saw some of the documentary on TV, and even if their 'discoveries' are only theories, I found it most interesting)

Here are some I've read since the beginning of the year:

A Hunger for God: John Piper (love his books!)

The Classics We've Read, The Difference They've Made: Philip Yancey (love his, too! I think I've read them all)

The Right Side of the Dyke (A book I received for Christmas from my sister, about Flamborough -- a beautiful village in Yorkshire, UK - where we lived when we were children).

And I'm in the middle of Destined for the Throne: Paul E. Billheimer (a 1975 Christian classic everyone should read)

Three Cups of Tea:
Greg Mortenson
("One man's mission to promote school at a time')

The Way of the Heart:
Henri J.M.Nouwen
("...bringing desert spirituality to bear upon the contemporary scene").

I also like Reader's Digest Condensed Books. A dear friend recently asked me if I would like some that she'd been given. She's still my friend even though, when we met, she loaded my trunk with three boxes of them! I could never read them all -- not in a month of Sundays, so (sorry Maija, if you are reading this!), 2 1/2 boxes went to Goodwill, and I am slowly making my way through the rest.

So...what does your favorite reading look like?

What are you reading right now?

What books would you recommend to me? I've still got some dollars left on my gift cards!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

17th Century Nun's Prayer

Lord, thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing old and will someday be old.

Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs.

Make me thoughtful but not moody: helpful but not bossy.

With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessing cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memory of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a saint -- some of them are so hard to live with -- but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.

Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

What's going to happen to the U.S.?

I'm not really into end-time prophecy, but I do keep up with Joel Rosenberg's weblog. Joel seems to have great credibility and much knowledge in this area of theology.

I've read four of his novels: The Last Jihad (2002), The Last Days (2003), The Ezekiel Option (2005) and The Copper Scroll (2006), and I plan to purchase his latest, Dead Heat, when it's published.

I do believe he speaks with integrity when it comes to world politics and economy. So I found his March 6th posting quite interesting. He recently met with some evangelical Christian business leaders in Naples, Florida who asked him what he thought the future held. And one of their questions was:

Where is the United States in End Times Bible prophecy?
When he replied that the Bible makes no indication that the U.S. is a significant player in End Times prophecy, they responded,
“Why? What happens to us?”

You can read Joel's complete post here.

But I'd like to hear what YOU have to say.

Do you think the U.S. is mentioned in End Times Bible prophecy?
If yes, where?

If no -- do you think this is significant?

And what do you think about Joel's response to that question?

Friday, March 6, 2009