- Thoughts on The Wind in the Willows
- Fence-Building as a Gospel Work (I liked this so much I just printed it off. Love the thoughtfulness)
- I Have Not Always Obeyed This Command (does this also apply to taxes? I think so, yes. And then some.)
- Pumpkin Pie Bites (OK....Bakearella???!!! Can you just kill me with the cuteness??!!)
- In case you're listening to Derek's new album and wondering what he's saying, here are the lyrics to Stockholm Syndrome
DOWN... It seems my body is falling apart...just the musculoskeletal system, so no biggie. I alternate between having a sore back and having a sore side, and in general I'm finding that I just sit and stand in an unbalanced manner practically ALL THE TIME. I lean to the right, and that's not a political statement.
DOWN... 83% humidity in September is WORSE than 83% humidity in July, because you look out the window and think, "oh, look how pretty the light is! Just a perfect fall day!" and then you walk outside and then BLAM! It hits you...not a pretty fall day. A pretty moist day best observed from the comfort of your still air-conditioned home.
UP AND DOWN... I would like to come out publicly as a Failure of a Gardener this summer. Hoping for a better fall.
UP... Have I told you yet that you should read The Prodigal God? Because you should.
UP... I love it when I reach Friday and most of the groceries I bought last week are gone. If the fridge is relatively clean, that means we've been doing a good job consuming what we have.
UP... I recently realized that I find it incredibly romantic when a man notices a woman's hair. There are three instances of this that I can document here: (a) Paul Simon's mention of "the way she brushed her hair from her forehead" in his song "Graceland," (b) Tom Hanks saying something about the fetching way Meg Ryan's hair fell across her forehead in "You've Got Mail," and (c) Steven Delopoulos' line about "my hand slipped through her hair," in his song "She Held My Hand."
So...not much life-altering here. Happy Friday.
If you know his music, you understand this perfectly. His lyrics can leave you breathless: rejoicing at one moment, weeping at another. So I was very excited to hear that he was planning to begin a fiction series (see?! I even blogged about it way back then).
North! Or Be Eaten is the second installment in the Wingfeather Saga. The books follow a set of three siblings, Janner, Tink, and Leeli, as they discover their hidden identities and flee for their lives from those who would have them imprisoned.
Peterson's characters feel genuine, whether they are primary or secondary to the plot. Nia, the children's mom, is the right mix of sympathetic generosity and firmness. Oskar, the rotund bookseller, never fails to make me laugh with his obscure quotations to fit -- or not fit, as the case may be -- the current situation. Janner, the oldest boy and main character, struggles to attain the nobility that he thinks he should have. How refreshing to meet a 12-year-old boy who is battling to overcome his selfishness and pride in order to better fulfill his role: to protect and serve his family and the world at large.
The themes are eternal ones: familial love; self-sacrifice; coming of age; longing for home (but for a home you've never seen); struggling to remember who you really are; the sense that you were made for another world. I've been in tears more than once as I find myself and my own struggles in the young characters.
As I mentioned above, Peterson is an excellent writer. Here's a favorite quote from early on in the book, as Janner watches his little sister, Leeli, mourn the loss of their family dog, Nugget:
Janner remembered the day at the cottage when she thought the Fangs had killed Nugget. She had cried little and soon grown silent. That had been far more worrisome to him than the way Leeli now wept. She seemed older, no longer shocked that such a thing could happen in the world but heartbroken because it had. Her tears struck Janner as the right kind of tears.More practically, the book lends itself well to being read aloud. The chapters are relatively short -- about four pages -- the perfect length for a bedtime reading, and they frequently end with some sort of cliffhanger that keeps the reader hooked. The footnotes deserve a review entirely unto themselves, since that's where Peterson entertains the older kids and adults with tongue-in-cheek remarks.
Andrew Peterson has entertained and moved us with the stories his music tells. He is now showing himself to be an excellent communicator of Story in book form, crafting a world and a race that has much to say about our own. I highly recommend that you spend some time with The Wingfeather Saga.
You can find North! Or Be Eaten at the Rabbit Room store or wherever fine books are sold (I have ALWAYS wanted to say that!!!).
Also, would it be too presumptuous to think that you might want to attend a concert of Andrew's?
I remember my dad talking about how unsettling it was to hear that deep, lusty voice emerge from Mary's willowy, blond, size-2 frame. I only knew Mary in her later years, when she wasn't quite so little. But her voice never changed.
The earliest memories I have of the group's music come from an album entitled Peter, Paul and Mommy. The album contains original compositions for children as well as traditional folk songs. I loved it so much that I put it on Cameron's Amazon wish list last year, and my mom bought it for him for his birthday. Now it is a staple of my children's life, as well.
The first song on the album is our favorite: "The Marvelous Toy." Here is an extended concert version of it which demonstrates why they were so good live. Every time WGBH -- the PBS affiliate in Boston -- raised money while I was growing up, they would show Peter, Paul, and Mary, because people couldn't turn it off. Well, maybe some people could. My family certainly could NOT.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, and Ron and Cathy, for bringing us up right :-)
Jonathan: Hey, Mom. Remember that superhero named Nakedman?
Editorial note: For you doubters, Nakedman IS TOO real, he is almost four and he makes a nightly sweep of our upstairs around seven-thirty.
Scene: Front hallway. Jonathan emerges from the bathroom.
Jonathan: Hey, Mom? I am Spiderman and can you please zip my pants?
Scene: Family driving in van, listening to old Caedmon's Call album.
Jonathan: Hey guys, I am playing this song and I am Yoda. And know what I am playing the guitar on? My STAFF.
Editorial note: For those of you who are wondering, the song was "Faith My Eyes," sung by Derek Webb. Derek should be proud.
In honor of my thousandth post, I would like to name today
Musings' Official De-Lurking/Gratitude Day.
We can all use daily reminders of God's gracious dealings with His children, and sometimes we need it more than ever. I'd like this post to be a place we can all return to and remind ourselves of how kind the Lord is, in big ways and small.
Regular commenters, please leave me a comment recounting the Lord's faithfulness to you since February 11, 2006 (the day I started this blog). It should have nothing to do with me or my blog...just a way in which He's blessed you in that time.
Lurkers, come out of hiding! Say hello and leave a grateful comment, as well.
I'm opening up the "anonymous" comment option again, in order to enable this. :-)
—who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?—
he who removes mountains, and they know it not,
when he overturns them in his anger,
who shakes the earth out of its place,
and its pillars tremble;
who commands the sun, and it does not rise;
who seals up the stars;
who alone stretched out the heavens
and trampled the waves of the sea;
who made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the chambers of the south;
who does great things beyond searching out,
and marvelous things beyond number.
South Africa, AIDS, the Social Gospel, and the Gospel
"Today's visit to one town reveals to me the betrayal it is to claim to be gospel people and not be merciful people."
Please read it.
O God the author of all good, I come to Thee for the grace another day will require for its duties and events. I step out into a wicked world; I carry about with me an evil heart. I know that without Thee I can do nothing, that everything with which I shall be concerned, however harmless in itself, may prove an occasion of sin or folly, unless I am kept by Thy power. Hold Thou me up and I shall be safe.
May every creature be made good to me by prayer and Thy will. Teach me how to use the world and not abuse it, to improve my talents, to redeem my time, to walk in wisdom toward those without, and in kindness to those within, to do good to all men, and especially to my fellow Christians. And to Thee be the glory.
Here's the brand I buy: Spry Gum.
What is xylitol, you ask? My naturopath introduced it to me because of our history with strep bacteria. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that has antibiotic properties, particularly towards those which cause pneumonia and strep. It's found naturally in strawberries and plums, but it's also sold in bulk (though pricey!) and in different products like spry gum.
You can find Xylitol gum in mainstream outlets (IceBreakers gum contains xylitol) but frequently xylitol is paired with aspartame in these products. I try to avoid aspartame, so I visit my natural foods store every once in a while to stock up on Spry, which contains no artificial sweeteners.
Yesterday I discovered that the Vitamin Shoppe carries it for about two-thirds of the price of the natural foods store. Wow!
If your family struggles with ear infections, pneumonia, or strep, you might consider making xylitol part of your diet. It has worked very well for us! Antibiotics have not been needed in our family for over two years now, and David and I have even found that it seems to lessen the length of our run-of-the-mill colds.
In honor of my friends Erin and Stacey, both of whom had a baby yesterday (both girls, named Clara and Landis respectively), and in keeping with Shannon's timely meme, I am playing along with the Labor Day Labor posts. If you want to join in, please leave a comment and tell us where to find yours!
How long were your labors?
Kid #1, 8 hours
Kid #2, 8 hours
Kid #3, 10 hours
Kid #4, 3 hours
Kid #5, 4 hours
How did you know you were in labor?
Kid #1, contractions
Kid #2, contractions
Kid #3, contractions
Kid #4, contractions
Kid #5, contractions
My water has never, ever, broken on its own. Apparently I make tough uterine sacs. I still have to fight off a shudder when I see a crochet hook.
Where did you deliver?
With all of them, at a hospital. Where the drugs are.
The first hospital I delivered at (for #1 and #2) is a teaching hospital, and I had a whole posse of students come in and "check" me during my first labor. I was an excellent example of a woman who was fully dilated but with an intact sac, so they marched everybody through to see the statistical outlier (me). So many people came in and out I felt like I should have been serving tea and shortbread or something.
Yes, please. I had an epidural every time. However with #5 it didn't take and they didn't have time to do it again so she was my first "natural" birth.
Pitocin did bad things to me the one time I had it. It was for child #3, and as soon as they upped the drip, I had one contraction that made me feel like I was being ripped in half even on top of the epidural. It dilated me 5 cm in one shot. That was *ahem* unpleasant, and I vowed to never let that stuff enter my bloodstream ever again if I could at all avoid it.
Doctors every time, though with Maddie the doctor almost missed her entrance. They had me breathe through a contraction to wait for him. Grr. I thought David was going to punch the labor nurse when she said that.
I'll never forget the lady who delivered my first child. She relieved my own OB in the last hour of my labor. She was very no-nonsense; she reminded me vaguely of a softball coach from my hometown. When it came time to push, she looked at me and said, "OK, Kelly, when you feel the next contraction, just take a deep breath and push like hell." Now those are directions I understand.
"The morrow was a bright September morn;
The earth was beautiful as if newborn;
There was nameless splendor everywhere,
That wild exhilaration in the air,
Which makes the passers in the city street
Congratulate each other as they meet."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow