Saturday, October 31, 2009

“God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I am so far behind that I will never die.” ~Bill Watterson

Friday, October 30, 2009

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” ~ Robert McCloskey

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"It seems to me clear beyond question that in the lives of God's beloved there are sometimes periods when the adversary is "given power to overcome." This power need never overwhelm the inner court of the spirit, but it may press hard on the outworks of being. And so I have been asking that our dearest Lord may have the joy (surely it must be a joy to Him) of saying about each one of us, and about us all as a little company of His children: "I can count on him, on her, on them for anything. I can count on them for peace under any disappointment or series of disappointments, under any strain. I can trust them never to set limits, saying, 'Thus far, and no farther.' I can trust them not to offer the reluctant obedience of a doubtful faith, but to be as glad and as merry as it is possible." ~Amy Carmichael
This is an amazing statement. Amy Carmichael wrote this after being sick in bed for months after a fall - Rose from Brier is an incredible book, written when there was no end of pain in sight, but she looked only at her Savior's love. What an example of what is possible when we seek only Him!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Psych Again...

"Across various tasks, people overestimate what their performance was, is, or will be... Despite our painful underestimates, we remain overly confident of our next prediction. Moreover, anticipating how much we will accomplish, we then overestimate our future free time... Failing to appreciate our potential for error can have serious consequences, but overconfidence does have adaptive value. People who err on the side of overconfidence live more happily, find it easier to make tough decisions, and see more credible than those who lack self-confidence"~David Myers

Totally true. I tend to go along with someone when they really sound like they know what they're doing - only to realize later that I actually did know more about it than they did! So, if I just always act like I know what I'm doing... no more "I think"s or "Pretty sure"s or "What if we try"s... The thing is, almost nothing annoys me more than people who say something like it's the gospel truth, and which I find out later has absolutely no basis in reality. Oh, well. If you sound unsure, people don't believe you. It's really nicer to them to act sure and be helpful most of the time, than to act unsure and be helpful none of the time.

Now that that is taken care of, here's another random thing from psychology class! :) This joke was rated the 2nd funniest joke in a survey ("among 2 million ratings of 40,000 submitted jokes").

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are going camping. They pitch their tent under the stars and go to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night Holmes wakes Watson up.
Holmes: "Watson, look up at all the stars, and tell me what you deduce."
Watson: "I see millions of stars and even if a few of those have planets, it's quite likely there are some planets like Earth, and if there are a few planets like Earth out there, there might also be life. What does it tell you, Holmes?"
Holmes: "Watson, you idiot, somebody has stolen our tent!"

Monday, October 19, 2009

"A wise person truly said, "It ought to be as impossible to forget that there is a Christian in the house as it is to forget that there is a ten-year-old boy in it". ~Roger J. Squire

"Someone asked, "Will the heathen who have never heard the Gospel be saved? It is more a question with me whether we -- who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not -- can be saved." ~ Charles Spurgeon

"Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell." ~ C.T. Studd

"Being an extrovert isn’t essential to EVANGELISM–obedience and love are."
~Rebecca M. Pippert

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Taerith Book Review

Taerith ~By Rachel Star Thompson

First of all, I generally don’t like fantasy. And Taerith is fantasy. Except that, it doesn’t seem like it. Geographically and historically, yes, it is fantasy. The fact the God is shown as Deus, the Only-Wise, makes it fantasy. And of course, the unicorn… even though I’ve never been totally convinced that unicorns weren’t real anyway. :) So, it is fantasy. But it is real. And beautiful. I love the imagery surrounding Deus. Psalm 91 is my favorite psalm, and the feathers and wings that fill the pages which speak of Deus are perfect. The story itself draws you in, as you get to know each person in it.

Taerith is the second book of nine in a collection, The Romany Epistles. I love the idea behind The Romany Epistles: nine siblings, banished from home and from each other, fighting to survive in a world that does not want them. Each story is written by a different author, and each sibling finds an adventure all their own, although each one is similar enough to the others that you can tell they are siblings! The prologue to each sibling’s story is very cool, because you see each one’s response to the shock the begins the book. They all start the same:

It was evening. The sun was beginning to sink behind the trees of Braedoch Forest, throwing its leafy depths into shadow. It was early spring and the forest was still newborn; winter’s chill could yet be felt in the air at night.
On the eastern edge of the forest, the nine children of Isaak Romany were gathering together.
Their home was a small house of stone, composed of three circular chambers. In the central chamber a fire burned slowly, varying light dancing on the face of a tall man in a dark cloak. He waited for the nine to gather. His face seemed set in granite, as always; no hint of emotion, no whisper of affection for the children he had raised. He, Maeron Duard, was their guardian, nothing more. They did not care for him either. Though they had grown up in the house, they often chose to stay apart from it: they wandered the forest, worked in the woodshop, climbed the small mountains that overlooked their home in the north. They were not like others. Their life had been one of isolation. They knew weaponry and woodcraft, but little of humanity. They cared for each other and yet spent much of their time in solitude.
Their guardian was afraid of them. Once the clan of Romany had been strong and numerous. Duard’s ancestors, druids and powerful, vengeful men, had cursed the clan nearly a century ago. In the succeeding generations, hardship, famine, and war had plagued them–helped along by the druids. At last only Isaak Romany and his wife were left. They took their children to Braedoch and tried to live with them there. But Isaak was a powerful man of great personal force, and the few remaining druids feared that he would father a new beginning for the clan. They sent Duard to kill him. And he did. He killed Isaak and his wife, but could see nothing to fear in the children… behind his face of stone there was perhaps a heart, for he kept them alive, and raised them.
But he feared them now. Alone, he thought, they could be no threat. But as long as they stayed together, the clan Romany might again arise.

Then each story takes off, showing who these siblings, who love both solitude and each other, truly are. I picked Taerith to review because it was the first one I read and one of my favorites. Although only the first draft is available to read, it is so well-written that I have actually read it more than once. (Which is pretty good for a rough draft on a website and me!)
Taerith Romany’s story begins six months after banishment, when he falls in with a band of traveling showmen. They are on their way to perform for a king’s wedding, and along the way, they rescue a girl from robbers. Who she really is, and who she becomes to Taerith, drives the rest of the book. Longing to return home with his siblings, yet feeling he must stay in this new country, Taerith grows as he learns to listen to Dues’s voice and obey, no matter how hard the task before him.

Some things that struck me about the story: The characters (I hate using that word about books I like - these people are much too real to be characters!) seemed alive and made you care about them. At first I was surprised to find Taerith unwilling to kill men in war, since that idea generally does not even enter tales of warriors, even if they are also poets. But once I was used to the idea, the value he placed on human life only made me like Taerith more. The care he shows for his siblings and to all those weaker than himself was perfect. I loved Mirian, a young slave girl whose past is never fully revealed. As she learns to use her strength for good, and to love people again, her barely concealed fire as she is forced to serve those who have killed her parents and stolen her throne makes her intriguing and inspiring. The imagery in the book (I usually skip all descriptions) was so strong you could see exactly what was happening. The earth beneath Taerith's feet sank as he crept over it, the boggy reek of the mud rising to meet the close darkness of branches that hung down from old, spindle-rooted, thick-trunked trees; dripping long strands of black leaves. He had gone with Kardas and the others north from the castle, plunging into thick forest over ground that sank lower and lower until it became an alien world of water and wood, haunt of creatures that rooted and wallowed and showed themselves but rarely; the haunt, too, of stranger, more dangerous things: of unicorns, and nightmares. Even when skimming it, I could get the impression of where people were and what they looked like. Dues’s involvement in the story was reminiscent of the Old Testament, including a prophet like Elijah, who appears and disappears throughout the story.

The first time I read it, the prophets and visions bothered me a little, maybe because I was expecting it to be less of a fantasy than it was. Reading it as a fantasy, and seeing parallels with the Old Testament caused it to make more sense, and then I enjoyed it more. Taerith’s dislike of hunting seemed a little strange for someone raised as a hunter, but it did fit in with his personality well. I think maybe I just found it odd because it did not seem like most guys I know! :) Some things, like Borden’s fight with ?himself? seemed a little confusing. Of course, since it is a rough draft, it is not as polished as it hopefully will be someday.

I enjoyed it, and if you like fantasy a little bit, I think you will enjoy it as well. If you have a few hours to spend on the computer, you can begin at:

Friday, October 9, 2009

“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”
~Jim Elliot

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Shadow of the Bear Book Review...

“You don’t have many bullets left, do you?” Bear said coolly. “I’ve been counting.”
“I have one more,” Freet’s voice said. “And I’d like to use it.”
“It’s over, Freet. You’d be better off quitting while you’re ahead,” Bear went on. He looked up at Blanche, and he seemed suddenly very far away from her. The gap of eternity had opened up between them. Her throat contracted.
“You don’t understand. It would be very satisfying to shoot you.”
“A costly satisfaction,” Bear said.

“Or I could shoot myself,” Freet added.
“I wouldn’t advise it,” Bear said.
“Of course not. You’re such a moralist. But it would solve a lot of problems for me. I’ve broken some bones, and I can’t possibly get away before the police come. Wouldn’t you rather I shot myself than you?”
“Honestly, I wouldn’t. I’m not fond of you, Freet, but I won’t wish hell upon you.”
“You would if you knew everything I’ve done,” Freet’s voice giggled.
“I know enough,” Bear said evenly, although Blanche saw he was struggling to hold his composure. “I can guess the rest.”
"And none of that makes you want to send me to hell?” Freet said derisively.
“What I want doesn’t matter. Hell is far worse than anything,” Bear said with the same calm voice.
“So you’d prefer I shot you?” Freet asked.
Bear shrugged.

I love this scene. It is one of those chapters where, in the words of one of the characters, “It’s as though the curtain that covered the machinery of the universe was pulled aside for a moment, and you saw how things work.” I have read several of Regina Doman’s books, but The Shadow of the Bear is my favorite. First drawn to it because it is based on one of my absolute favorite fairy tales, Snow White and Rose Red, it is one of those books I have read over and over.
Set in New York City, The Shadow of the Bear is the story of Blanche and Rose, two home schooled sisters who befriend Bear, a young man who got his nickname while in juvenile detention for drug possession. Why the only like-minded person they have found since moving to the city and starting Catholic school would have to be a juvenile delinquent is a total mystery to them, since he refuses to talk much about himself. The book is thrilling and funny, and, amazingly, both true to the fairytale and realistic!
Although I don’t agree with everything in the book, I appreciate the fact that it makes me think about what I believe and where I stand on certain issues. Even though the main characters are Catholic, their faith is so much more real than that of the people in most “Christian books” I’ve seen, that I found it refreshing. It seems natural and real, instead of a prayer thrown in or a verse randomly quoted. The girls live what they believe and it’s part of them, not an added-on story-crutch. Although the girls did certain things I would not do, the book ended up reinforcing why I would not do certain things. (Like go to an after-prom party!)
I identified a lot with Blanche, the older sister, the shy introvert, piano player, etc. Rose was more… how I would sometimes like to be, I guess. :) They were perfect together! I could relate to the girls’ home school background, the fun they have thrift shopping, their relationship with each other and their mom… The book has several very quotable lines and many unforgettable scenes. It’s kind of funny, but I’ve thought of Rose’s declaration that, “The boys at school are so degenerate that it makes one feel pessimistic about the future of the male gender in general,” many times when out and about, and I know exactly why she said it!
If this sounds interesting, the first chapter of the latest edition is posted on Sometimes new editions of books bother me, but in this case, I like what I've seen of the 4th edition even better than the 1st! Someday I'd like to get the latest "version", but I'm still thrilled to have a 1st edition. (I got the book for $1 several years ago; looking on Amazon I just realized it was worth between $50 and $150.) Another thing I like about this book is that it is written by a woman with 7 children, who still takes time, not only to write, but also to answer millions of questions about her books!
I read the book aloud to my younger siblings and they loved it. Despite the number of times I’ve read it, I still find myself laughing at Fish and Rose and my heart pounding with Blanche. Once you read the book, you’ll understand why I wanted to name one of our puppies Bear, and then died laughing when I saw him a few months later, his fluffy baby fur turned in long, furry dreadlocks.

Which Fairy Tale Novel Character are you? (SPOILERS)

The elder of the Briar sisters, Blanche is quiet, introvertive, sweet, loving, a deep thinker and possesses a heightened awareness of danger. She loves books (Chesterson!), piano, and Bear! Her choices of vocation is the medical field, although family comes first.


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