Category Archives: Of Interest

Healthy habits for the New Year; pt. 2: Water

Water; drink it. Seriously.  One of the main factors my psychologist husband and I notice when talking with others and attempting to help them mentally, spiritually, and physically is a lack of water.  It may sound simple, and it is.  You need water to live.  Not pop, tea, beer, coffee, Gatorade, mix-ins, etc… but just plain ol’ water.

Water helps your brain work properly, helps you to lose weight, helps to clear up skin, and obviously helps us function physically.  Your body is composed of around 60% water.  Even if you don’t exercise daily (as we all should) you lose water during the course of the day, even just by breathing.  Your body is also processing toxins constantly, drinking plenty of water helps flush out those toxins, keeping us healthier.

I mentioned weight loss above; if we keep hydrated by drinking enough water we will not confuse our physical feelings of thirst with hunger.  You can drink colder water to aid in weight loss, as your body has to work to maintain your core body temperature by raising your metabolism.  If you aren’t concerned with weight loss, stick with cool or room temperature water, as you can drink more faster, and your body doesn’t have to work to warm itself.

One complaint I’ve heard the most when it comes to water is the taste, “I don’t like water.” Seriously?  That’s your excuse?  As my husband is fond of saying, “Ok, little baby let’s just go by taste and not what is good for you.”  We are not infants.  We can make healthy choices regardless of things like taste.  But, putting that aside, there are many many different tasting waters.  I don’t recommend bottled water, instead, find some way to make your tap water, or well water both safe (if it isn’t already) and palatable.

I personally have a reverse osmosis filter, and tote around a stainless steel bottle.  If you want, add in simple fresh lemon juice to change the flavor of your water.  Make sure it is readily accessible to you when driving, at work, while working out, and at home.

Make smart choices when choosing what else to drink.  Soda is actually the Devil in liquid form (haha), but if you choose to drink pop, drink regular, not diet.  Also, severely limit you soda intake; none is best.  If you need caffeine, drink tea or coffee instead.  Try to not add sweeteners, but if you do, go for the most natural options like honey or raw sugar.  Both tea and coffee are diuretics, which means you need to also drink water to replenish what those drinks make you lose.

Most people don’t realize that store-bought juice is not really a healthy option when it comes to liquids.  If you do drink juice or let your kids drink juice, it should be in moderation.  A better option that is good for everyone is to juice your own fresh juices from veggies and fruit.  These drinks are incredibly healthy and also count for water intake because of high water content of these juices.  My favorite is orange-carrot-apple.  If you have the money and access, organic is always a better option.

That brings me to milk.  Milk can also be drank in moderation, but weigh your options carefully especially for your children.  Oftentimes organic whole milk is actually the best option available (See this article on FoxNews: Why skim milk isn’t necessarily better).  When fat is removed, many companies replace that fat with synthetic additives.  Fat in moderation is good for developing brains.  I say organic, because our dairy products are one of the greatest sources of non-human hormones, and antibiotics.  Going organic on dairy can be expensive, but consider getting your kids organic, even if you can’t afford them for the whole family.  Taste organic milk (I prefer Horizon brand), and you won’t want to go back.

Some forms of alcohol in moderation are fine (esp. some beers and red wine), but remember you also need to replenish your water levels while drinking alcohol, esp. when the night is through and you are getting ready for bed.

As I mentioned in part 1 of this series, don’t jump into changing your drinking habits haphazardly; if you are addicted to pop, cut down gradually don’t try cold turkey.  Gradually increase your water intake, and just really begin to notice what your are drinking and how much.

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Filed under Health, Of Interest, Psychology

Healthy habits for the New Year; pt. 1: Routine

Many people approach the New Year in a frenzy of goals and promises.  This is actually an unhealthy approach to change.  Take diet for example, if a person approaches “diet” in a frenzied state, making promises to themselves and others, they are setting themselves up for failure.

Any new goal should be approached in a balanced way.  I say that because even though this series is entitled “healthy habits,” if they are approached haphazardly, or even with an overabundance of enthusiasm, they are more likely to fail.  Also when I speak of health, I speak of the health of the whole human; body, mind, and soul.  Any or all of these suggestions should be approached in a balanced way, not to be seen as a set of rules that “must” be followed; humans don’t tend to do well with orders, even positive ones.

So, with that being said, the first “habit” is a bit redundant, it is “routine.”  This doesn’t mean you need to plot and plan every minute of every day, but rather it should be a framework.  Later I’ll specifically talk of sleep patterns, but every daily routine should begin with a plan of when to go to sleep and when to wake up.  This routine isn’t just a workday routine, but a routine that should be followed on weekends and holidays too.  In a later article, I’ll write about how waking early in the day is a way to get ahead, and be more successful at whatever you set out to do.

For now, you need to set a time to rise and a time to go to bed.  You also need to schedule time to eat during the day and try to stick as close to that schedule as possible.  These things help to regulate your body, which functions better with routine.  It’s the same with medication; in short, anything that will have an effect on your body and its metabolism should be a part of your routine, for your physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Establish “mini-routines” for the most important parts of your day.  When you rise, have a routine to kick off your day.  For example, an easy exercise (walking, yoga, etc…) or simple stretching routine, quiet time, a time for prayer and/or bible study/praise and worship, and then breakfast.  Then the steps you go through to make yourself presentable to the day; shower, brush your teeth, etc…  When you go to bed, the same thing (will blog about specific bed routines later).

One important routine to establish is a goal routine; you set specific goals in the morning, and review them at night.  Obviously this includes a lot of honesty.  If you failed to reach a goal, why did you fail?  Did you set too big of a goal, did you squander your time, did something else come up?  This is where you must watch for defense mechanisms, like rationalization.  Rationalization is where you basically fool yourself into believing an excuse instead of the real problem.  The truth is, many of us are lazy and just don’t want to do certain things, but routine and schedule will help to develop a level of discipline that will help get things done.

Figure out what else is important to you such as exercise, reading, gardening, etc… and make sure to set aside time for them as well.  There will be certain things you are willing to sacrifice in a day for the sake of already scheduled events, and somethings you make a priority.

Kids and pets thrive on routine, so they will thank you too.  What if you don’t have kids or pets?  You have friends or a boss, or a spouse, or co-workers who will also thank you, because you’ll be in a better mood and be better functioning.  One last point about routine; it is obvious but the routine you establish should be positive, if you establish a negative routine, you will reap the opposite results (for example, if going to bed at different times all week is your routine, that is going to have ill effects on your physical, mental and emotional state).

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Filed under Health, Of Interest, Philosophy, Prayer, Psychology

Christians and the Environment

Should Christians “go green?”  Is environmentalism a moral issue?  I can only give my opinion on these and similar questions.

Instead of framing the ideas presented by some environmentalists as a moral issue, I tend to see it as a spiritual issue.  Our morality is rarely linked to the environment; sometimes, but rarely.  Instead, what becomes healthy and good for us spiritually?  I believe scripture points us to a balance.   There are several factors to consider when looking at this; First, God did indeed put humans in charge of the earth, which included animals, plants, and the earth itself.  Second, He built the earth to be resilient.

The first point means that we are at the top of the consideration when looking at environmental matters.  Humans are the pinnacle of this earthly creation, and we were to have a ruler-ruled relationship with the rest of creation.  That means humans are always to be considered before anything else (whales, fish, plants, etc…) and also we are more fulfilled when we are stepping up and safeguarding the environment.

The second point means that the environment is far from fragile.  It is designed to be resilient.  For example when a volcano erupts the gases and effects of the eruption, the ripping of the earth, the physical steam, ash, etc… are devastating in the short term, but long term, the earth adapts.  Take an oil spill caused by humans; oil is actually a natural substance.  There is indeed a shock to the environment if oil is suddenly introduced in mass amounts, but it will recover.

The answer then is a balance; we shouldn’t be panicked over the environment, but we are indeed connected to it in a way that should make us responsible.  If we exercise our responsibility we also reap spiritual fulfillment.  Look at it this way; Adam was designed to be placed in the garden of Eden.  He named each animal, and was surrounded by perfect nature.  We, his descendents, can find working with animals, or plants, or cultivating land, or even just being out in nature very fulfilling in a very basic way.

That brings us back to environmentalism.  There are some “duh” aspects to this, and non-fanatical ways to approach supporting and helping the environment.   Is it a moral issue if I use a plastic bag instead of using my own reusable canvas bag at the grocery store?  No, but there is the fact to face that plastic bags are one of the banes of our existence.  They clutter our houses and blow down the streets like urban tumbleweeds.  They wind up in our water systems, and even get hung up in trees.  Plus, if you think littering is no big deal, get a dog you love and try walking it down a street, pretty soon you are going to “get” why littering is irresponsible and frustrating.

Jesus didn’t just come here to fix us, His sacrifice is ultimately going to save and fix the whole of creation.  He cares about the physical earth, why shouldn’t we?  That being said, humans are the main concern of Jesus, He became human. Jesus was so “down to earth” about things, we should be the same way.   We were meant to have an awesome responsibility, and also to enjoy the physical world. We shouldn’t stress about the environment, nor become fanatical about it (fanaticism often leads to a from of idolatry).  The balanced approach is the best approach for us and the environment.

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Ayn Rand; Brilliant? Fool? Both? pt. 1

As a philosophy instructor I’ve of course learned and taught about Ayn Rand, but only recently have I really looked at her, as a person, instead of “just” the philosophy she adopted as her own and presented to the public.  Ayn had a lot of interesting philosophies, and many of those philosophies have a place in our current society, and could even be embraced by Christians; however, Ayn also had many personal and psychological issues that get in the way of her own philosophy.

Contrary to Ayn’s own apparent belief, her philosophy had been around for thousands of years before she was born; her objectivism wasn’t so much a new philosophy, as it was a mix of philosophies that could be found in the annals of philosophy that came before her.  She also lacked a logical basis for her philosophy, though that idea would insult her very much.

First, a run down of what “objectivism” is, according to Ayn. Objectivism is espoused to be an answer to subjectivism.  Objectivists like Ayn believe that our senses actually and accurately inform us about reality.  Human logic stands in for God (which is an illogical position that I’ll address later); meaning Ayn believed that human reason alone could result in absolutes.  For example, we can rationally conceive of a morality totally defined via human reason and have it be absolute.

One of the hallmarks of Ayn’s morality was the idea of selfishness; that selfishness is morally right.  She was fond of bashing (and misunderstanding) altruism, as well as Christianity. And, the one big thing we’ve heard recently because of the state of our economy and country; she pushed for laissez-faire capitalism with extraordinarily limited gov’t interference in the business world.

Ayn’s philosophies never caught on in any academic sphere.  One reason; she disliked academics, so there was her strike against the liberals.  She disliked religion and denied there was a God, so there was her strike against the conservatives.  She effectively cut off both routes to respect and implementation of her philosophies (this is important because one reason she wrote what she did when she did was to try to change the directions of the U.S.).  While her philosophies are popular amongst college/high school students, it is her stories that are popular amongst the “common folk” whom she often complained did not understand the deeper implications of her work.

Surprisingly enough, Ayn was anti-feminist and anti-homosexual, finding both positions to be immoral and disgusting.  She had odd ideas about sex and sexuality that are apparent just by reading her fiction stories.  To be a “good” objectivist was to believe that it was the man’s place to be worshiped, and a woman’s place to be submissive and to be owned.  Authors tend to write themselves into certain characters and by reading Ayn’s descriptions of her female characters, we can see a common thread that is both sad and disturbing.  I intend to take a look at this in my next blog post as well as discussing her take on altruism and morality.

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Filed under Atheism, Logic, Of Interest, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion and Politics

If any would not work, neither should he eat.

The people that try to paint Jesus or God as a socialist have obviously not read scripture.  As always there is a danger when people go to the extreme on any teaching, and it is the same with giving others money, food, help, etc… What we are taught constantly in scripture is that we should not be lazy, gluttonous, or envious of what others have.  Now, I’m no legalist, as any of my regular readers will know, but I do believe we are given guidelines of what will truly make us content and given the direction that will make us the most efficient and “best” human possible while on this earth.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

It’s pretty clear; you don’t work you shouldn’t eat.  If you are idle, if you are not seeing to your own provision, you should not eat.  In our society food is usually bought with money, so that means you should be gainfully employed.  It can also include working the land for your own food.  I am dismayed as I look around this great country, the U.S., and find people not willing to see to their own provision.

Now, the scripture is also clear that if someone has need through no fault of their own, we should see to them.  Our welfare and disability system here in the U.S. makes a mockery out of this idea.  As one great teacher I know once said, “if you can talk on the phone, you can work.”  Yes, times are tough and jobs can be hard to find, though I question whether it is jobs that are hard to find, or people willing to work, to do anything gainful to make some money, including working in the fields, or washing dishes.  The ability to work with and through computers and the internet have almost guaranteed that a vast majority of people can indeed work.

I cannot tell you, dear reader, how much I respect the waitresses, the garbage men, the presidents and CEO’s of companies, the teachers, the accountants, the custodial staffs, anyone that sees to their own provision through work.  Money in this world is for taking care of oneself, one’s family, and others that truly cannot earn a living of their own; children, the elderly, those completely mentally incapacitated, etc…  However, that is the job of the church, not the job of the government.  Further, it is not my job to manage your money, it’s your job.

In that same chapter, Thessalonians also gives another reason to work; if you don’t, you tend to turn into a busybody.  A busybody is someone who sticks their noses into other people’s business, other people’s sins, other people’s lives.  If you are gainfully employed you are seeing to yourself and those to whom you are responsible.

In short, if there is anything you can do to be gainfully employed, you should be.  There should be no unnecessary mooching off of the government, the brethren, or taxpayers.  For the truly needy, the church should be a help.  Laziness, idleness, OR a lack of legitimate, earned income is not a virtue.  It is indeed scripturally on the males to be the major breadwinners and to take care of their families.  Women too can, and should play a role in work and support; neither gender should be lazy, but there is something especially fulfilling for a man to be gainfully employed, and something especially annoying or painful about a man that will not work, nor seek work of any kind.

We, as believers, should be unbelievably generous, loving, helpful, and kind.  We should also be industrious in some form, be good stewards, occupying until the Lord returns, or we go to meet him in death.  While we work in the occupation God leads us to, there is also time for rest, and fun, and relaxation.  If we find ourselves in dire straits, or unable to work, there is no shame in asking our church family for help and to accept help when and where it is given.

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Christianity and Psychotherapy…

I know it has been a long little while since I’ve blogged, and I do plan to complete my last series soon; however, this topic has been weighing on me for some time and for various reasons.  There is a lot of confusion out there about how, or if, religion should play a role in psychotherapy and if Christians should seek psychotherapy if they feel it would be beneficial.

The first thing to note is that I am indeed a counselor; I received my Master’s degree from a secular University, and am licensed to practice in my state.  Obviously, then, I do believe psychology is legitimate and can be beneficial under the right circumstances.  Having said that, this article is mainly a warning for all of my brothers and sisters in Christ; do NOT go to a psychologist, counselor, therapist, etc… who is not a believer.

One mistake people make is trying to compare going to a therapist with going to a different kind of doctor.  There isn’t a comparison.  How a surgeon operates on your knee is not directly and intimately connected to whether or not s/he believes in God.  Not so with psychotherapy.  Any therapist worth going to will bring up your religious and spiritual beliefs in therapy, and no matter how (or if) they try to fight it, their beliefs WILL change how they choose to do therapy and how they see your faith impacting your life.

There is also little doubt that atheists or agnostic therapists, regardless of their past beliefs, will be incapable of sufficiently connecting with a believer in the therapeutic relationship.  At best, there will simply be a disconnect, at worst the therapist would harbor a negative view of the patient’s religious beliefs, oftentimes believing any and all spiritual beliefs to be detrimental or mental defenses that need changing.

Take marriage for example; there is no absolute and sure grounds for trying to save an ailing marriage outside of God’s will.  Meaning, an unbelieving therapist is a threat to a believer’s marriage if there is trouble in the marital relationship because outside of God, and Jesus, there are no absolute, unchanging, unwavering reasons why a marriage should be saved even if people within the marriage are having a rough time of it.  Instead of offering aid and healing to the marriage itself, there is the potential that an unbelieving therapist could add more poison to a relationship, or push one party to get a divorce for their own “mental health.”

Notice that I’m not saying that there is never a reason for divorce, there are scriptural reasons for one; however, a nonbeliever will be incapable of truly understanding those reasons from a biblical perspective.  The mental, spiritual, and physical is what makes up a human; to neglect any one of the three invites trouble.

I also believe that therapy, done correctly and in a Godly manner, can save a person’s life, help their faith, and help to grow them into the person God wills them to be.  Too many Christians only know the secular side of psychology, and do not realize there are plenty of biblical teachings that are psychological in nature and that God desires our mental health to be seen to, just as much as our physical health, and that mental and physical health impacts spiritual health as well.

In short, if you think therapy is for you, keep shopping around til you find a therapist with similar biblical beliefs to yours.  They are out there, and it is worth the search. Never be afraid to ask questions about your therapist’s religious beliefs to see if you agree with them, and if they will be a good fit for you as you attempt, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, to change yourself for the better!  Don’t be unequally yoked within a therapeutic relationship.

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The Great Chick-fil-A kerfuffle of 2012…

I know I’ve been absent from my blog for a bit, but I’ll be back to writing more regularly soon. Meanwhile I just had to comment on the whole Chick-fil-A controversy. First, I beg anyone that is interested in weighing in to read the chief executive’s words before responding.

He has made it clear in the past that he is going to run his corporation in a manner that he sees as inline with Christian mainstream belief. Now everyone is suddenly shocked that he doesn’t support gay marriage. Oh my! Who woulda ever seen that coming? Sarcasm aside, he has the right to his freedom of speech. There is nothing in what he said that is hateful or bigoted. The other issue being screamed over? Which charities and organizations the corporation gives money to. Guess what; when you make the money, you get to decide who it goes to.

If you want to give money to a different cause, bully for you. I’m a Christian (duh), and would I give my money to all the same organizations as they do? No. I do a little something called work, which I get paid for. I can then decide where to give my money. It also holds true that people are free to boycott whom they choose; don’t like a company, don’t buy from them. The only problem I have in this case is that politicians, in positions of power, are trying to deny Chick-fil-A equality in a way that is unconstitutional. And, before anyone goes screaming at me about same sex marriage rights; guess what? I’m all for equality for all; the government should not get to say who can and cannot be married, everyone should have civil unions. It is God that ultimately says who is or is not married, not the state. Each church and each pastor needs to decide who they will or won’t perform ceremonies for.

People on both sides of the issue should stop, breathe, and ask themselves if they have actually been given a reason for being upset, or might it just be that politicians and manipulators on both sides of this “issue,” are manufacturing outrage with pure rhetoric?

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Filed under Humor, Logic, Musings, Of Interest

The Moon By Night…

This is the second in a series about Madeleine L’Engle’s Austin family books.  If you are new to what I’m doing with her books, please check out this link to know what the point of this “review” is about; Madeleine L’Engle.  This book was also new to me, so it was my first time through it.  It is also a good, but easy read.

What suppers did the Austins enjoy? Steak with salad, potato salad and marshmallows, scrambled eggs with hashbrowns and coffee of course, spaghetti, pork chops with turnip greens and salad, stew and salad, hash, tuna and veggie salad, fried chicken with potato salad and lettuce salad, and hamburgers.

What did they listen to in this particular story?  The Emperor Concerto, and the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, as well as Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, also sung a lot, including All Through the Night, Now the Day is Over, I Will Lift Mine Eyes unto the Hills, Tallis’ Canon, and the Eddystone LIght.

What were the kids reading or the adults reading to them? A Connecticut Yankee, Anna Karenina, Patterns of Culture by Ruth Benedict, and The Conquest of Space. The poem “Patterns” by Amy Lowell was also mentioned.  The Diary of Anne Frank played a bit role, but the play was the focus, not the book.

Their furry companions were in the story a bit less, but still there;  Colette their french poodle, Mr. Rochester their Great Dane, and Prunewhip.

What was the fam up to in this story?  Traveling and camping across country, and lots of people watching.  We also learned that Wallace “Daddy” Austin has a blackbelt in Judo, and were also introduced to Zachary Grey for the first time.  As they traveled they played several games, including one I’d never heard of; the Botticelli word game.  They also did a twist on the alphabet game; going through the alphabet naming a song or poem that begins with the letter; for example A = Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” begins with “Afoot…” and B = “The Blessed Damozel.”  (The only other one mentioned was I = “I Will Lift UP Mine Eyes…”)

Good prayers and quotes included? (BTW, when I can, I try to find the reference and the correct form of the quote,)

“Mark Twain’s” attributed quote, “When I was seventeen I was amazed at how little my father knew about life.  At the age of twenty two, I was amazed how much he had learned in five years.

One that became a theme, “Comparisons are odious” attributed to Donne, Fortescue, AND Marlowe amongst others. lol

One of my favorites from the book:

The Rain is Raining all Around

The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust steals the just’s umbrella.

- Lord Bowen

The themes of growing up and also God was strong in this book; the different characters weigh in either directly or indirectly on their own beliefs or thoughts on God.  I think my favorite character in this one was Uncle Douglas…

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Filed under Musings, Of Interest, Reviews, Sacred Secular, Uncategorized

Meet the Austins…

Dear reader, check out this link to know what the point of this “review” is about; Madeleine L’Engle.  This is one of her books I just read for the first time…I’d met the Austin family previously in books that come later in the Austin family series.  I really enjoyed this story, and it did serve as a good introduction to the Austins, which in turn, sets up the rest of the books in the series.  It is a very quick read, and “easy” reading.

What suppers did the Austins enjoy? Standing rib roast with roast potatoes and carrots, spaghetti with carrots and garlic bread, Spanish rice, Shepherd’s pie, strawberry mousse, pork roast with applesauce and carrots, pot roast with deep-dish apple pie, bread pudding with raisins, tapioca, jell-o, raisin bread, steaks with baked potatoes and salad, baked beans with hot dogs chopped up in them, and the ever present beverages of coffee and hot cocoa.

What did they listen to while preparing all of this?  Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto, Rosenkavalier, Schonberg’s Verklarte Nacht, Handel’s the Cuckoo and the Nightingale, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, Handel’s Royal Fireworks, and John liked to listen to “The Gambler.”  The crew liked to sing; Cockles and Mussels, The Eddystone Light, You take the High Road, Oh, Susannah, Ash Grove, and Tallis’ Cannon.

What were the kids reading or the adults reading to them? The Jungle Book, Charlotte’s Web, The Secret Garden, The Sword in the Stone, and Doctor Dolittle.  Also, a book on Albert Einstein’s spiritual views was quoted and talked about, but no title was ever given.

Their furry companions that curled up at their feet?  Colette their french poodle, Mr. Rochester their Great Dane, and at least three cats; Prunewhip, Hamlet, and Creamy.

What was the fam up to in this story?  Skywatching as usual, including star gazing.

Good prayers and quotes included?

St. Francis’ Prayer:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

A quote from Hildevert of Lavardin;

God is over all things, under all things; outside all;
within, but not enclosed; without but not excluded;
above, but not raised up; below, but not depressed;
wholly above, presiding; wholly without, embracing;
wholly within, filling.

A poem from Thomas Browne;

If thou could`st empty all thyself of self,
Like to a shell dishabited,
Then might He find thee on the ocean shelf,
And say, `This is not dead`,
And fill thee with Himself instead.

But thou art all replete with very thou
And hast such shrewd activity,
That when He comes, He says, `This is enow
Unto itself – `twere better let it be,
It is so small and full, there is no room for me.`

Fun book to read, the themes of childhood, change and death were interesting.  This book, more than L’Engle’s others that I’ve read, seemed geared toward “younger” readers, but adults who like her style and characters will enjoy this book as well.  On to read the second in this series…

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Filed under Humor, Musings, Of Interest, Prayer, Reviews, Sacred Secular, Uncategorized

Madeleine L’Engle…

I have a real love for a good book.  Nothing has to be spectacular, it doesn’t have to be Shakespeare, or even Twain…just good writing telling a good story.  I was first introduced to Madeleine L’Engle’s writings in school, where most kids are, A Wrinkle in Time was the first of her books I enjoyed.  At the time, I remember being slightly bewildered at L’Engle’s ability to tell a science fiction story while at the same time weaving it in with a character centered family style tale.  Since then, I’ve enjoyed many of her books, and am still happy to read some of them for the first time.

This being “The Christian Scribbler” I do indeed take an interest in the fact that L’Engle is often designated a Christian writer.  I always loved the spiritual aspects of her books, and the prayers, music, and religious discussion she always found a spot for.  That being said, I don’t always agree with her personal, or private, theology.  She tends toward universalism, which includes the idea that everyone will wind up being saved in the end.  For many Christians this would be a deal breaker, and you wouldn’t be allowed to enjoy her writings…for me, not so much.

I believe L’Engle’s style, and the content of her writings are fascinating, enlightening, and should spur anyone with an intellect to seek out information, music, and in fact, knowledge of all kinds.  I also like food.  And family.  And friends.  Reading her books reminds me of another of my favorite authors; Jan Karon and her Mitford series.  As I read L’Engle’s books I can’t help but be drawn into the families she writes about…caring what they are listening to, what they are fixing for supper (in a regular oven, or over a Bunsen burner), what books they are reading or subjects they are studying.  I was so interested in this kind of thing that I looked to see if they had ever put out a cookbook as a companion to L’Engle’s writings as they had with other popular books or series.  They hadn’t.

So, I decided to make my own lists of interesting bits from L’Engle’s works….I’ll be starting with Meet the Austins and going on from there.  Every time I make a new entry here on my blog, I’ll update this page with a new link to the new article.  I love the fact that L’Engle’s characters are smart, intelligent, thoughtful, talented, compassionate, etc…  The family scenes and discussions are fascinating, and remind me of some of the more thoughtful people in my life, including family and friends.

My “lists” for each book will include things like, “What’s for supper?”  Also, books a member of the family are reading, subjects they are studying, what music they are listening to, their Pets (which are key members of family life), and miscellaneous things, like prayers and quotes that feature in the storylines.   This is just meant to be fun way of sharing my enjoyment of these books with other fans, and perhaps get others to join in the fun by reading her works; the books that are hyperlinked will take you to my reviews and lists…

Austin Family books in order:

  • The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas (short story)
  • A Full-House: An Austin Family Christmas (short story)
  • Meet The Austins (Full-length book; first in the series)
  • The Anti-Muffins (short story, but included as a chapter in the newest editions of Meet the Austins)
  • The Moon by Night (Full-length book; second in the series)
  • The Young Unicorns (Full-length book; third in the series)
  • A Ring of Endless Light (Full-length book; fourth in the series)
  • Troubling a Star (Full-length book; fifth in the series)
  • A Severed Wasp (Full-length book; it overlaps with a different series, not “technically” an Austin family book)

Books about the Murray Family; AKA The Time Quartet, or Time Quintet

  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • A Wind in the Door
  • Many Waters
  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet
  • An Acceptable Time (Overlaps with the O’Keefe Family series)

Books about the O’Keefe Family

  • The Arm of the Starfish
  • Dragons in the Waters
  • A House Like a Lotus
  • An Acceptable Time (Overlaps with the Murray Family series)

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