Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

onion:

A metaphor for life; the more you peel back, the more you are apt to tear up.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Frederick Buechner

“We learn to praise God not by paying compliments but by paying attention. Watch how the trees exult when the wind is in them. Mark the utter stillness of the great blue heron in the swamp. Listen to the sound of the rain. Learn how to say Hallelujah from the ones who say it right.”

from on “praise” in Wishful Thinking

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Marvelous Land of Oz, L. Frank Baum


5 stars
Pure fun. The first sequel to The Wizard of Oz (i.e. book 2 of 14). Baum takes the reader on further adventures of the Scarecrow, who is the King of the Emerald City, and the Tin Woodman, who has become the Emperor of the Winkies. The new characters of Jack Pumpkinhead, the Saw-Horse, the Woggle-Bug and the Gump along with the young hero Tip make for a book filled with more magical adventures.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

incarnation:

Jesus the lamplighter holding the lit lantern with the unending wick.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"Are we prepared? Is our heart capable of becoming God’s dwelling place?..It is very remarkable that we face the thought that God is coming so calmly, whereas previously peoples trembled at the day of God, whereas the world fell into trembling when Jesus Christ walked over the earth. We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for everyone who has a conscience.

Only when we have felt the terror of the matter, can we recognize the incomparable kindness. God comes into the very midst of evil and of death, and judges the evil in us and in the world. And by judging us, God cleanses and sanctifies us, comes to us with grace and love. God makes us happy as only children can be happy. God wants to always be with us, wherever we may be—in our sin, in our suffering and death. We are no longer alone; God is with us. We are no longer homeless; a bit of the eternal home itself has moved into us.

It is not yet Christmas. But it is also not the great final Advent, the final coming of Christ. Through all the Advents of our life that we celebrate goes the longing for the final Advent, where it says: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). Advent is a time of waiting. Our whole life, however, is Advent—that is, a time of waiting for the ultimate, for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth, when all people are brothers and sisters and one rejoices in the words of the angels: “On earth peace to those on whom God’s favor rests.” Learn to wait, because he has promised to come. “I stand at the door….” We however call to him: “Yes, come soon, Lord Jesus!”"

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1906-1945, was a German theologian martyred under the Nazi regime. This excerpt is from “A Testament to Freedom, the Essential Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer", edited by Geoffrey Kelly and Burton Nelson.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

birthday:

Today my youngest turns seven...he still believes in Santa and has a deep admiration for the Tooth Fairy...and with the turn of time he grows further away from these things...If children's birthdays could be seen as hours of a day my son's would strike 7am today - he is alive in the morning of his life and the beauty of this is in how it happens to wind my own clock backward a bit and in my older age I find I'm striking 7am as well. So, in his growing older I am able to grow younger.

Monday, December 22, 2008

wonder:

The awe-someness of a thing. In its most appropriate manifestation it is the mingling of the imagination with The Transcendent. It might turn to wonderful: as in full of wonder...an encounter with that truth which inspires and draws forth awe which brings you right back to wonder.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Evelyn Underhill

"Our whole life is to be poised on a certain glad expectancy of God; taking each moment, incident, choice and opportunity as material placed in our hand by the Creator whose whole intricate and mysterious process moves toward the triumph of charity, and who has given each living spirit a tiny part in this vast work of transformation."

from, The School of Charity

Saturday, December 20, 2008

hatred:

The long division of life that always carries a remainder.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Desmond Tutu

"We are bound up in a delicate network of interdependence because, as we say in our African idiom, a person is a person through other persons...Thus to forgive is indeed the best form of self-interest since anger, resentment, and revenge are corrosive of that summum bonum, that greatest good, communal harmony that enhances the humanity and personhood of all in the community."

from, No Future Without Forgiveness

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Esio Trot, Roald Dahl



4 stars
Read this one in 25 minutes to my six year old who enjoyed the story fully...often stopping me to tell me he knew what Mr. Hoppy was going to do. A backwards tale of longing and love...

Click here for the official Roald Dahl website!
very fun

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Wonderful O, James Thurber



4 stars
I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the other two Thurber books I have recently read, however, it was still a witty and whimsical read. In complete Thurber style and oddity he creates a story where the letter O is hated and banished from the world causing much confusion and humor along the way.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

goodness:

The law of gravity, holding us in our proper place...the outcome of being obedient to the way things ought to be.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

satisfaction:

It is the result of a hungering and thirsting for righteousness.

It is the vessel that sails the seas of goodness, truth, & beauty.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mahatma Gandhi

"My life is my message."

Source: Gandhi's Life in His Own Words

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The 13 Clocks, James Thurber



5 stars
from the inside of the dust jacket: "How can anyone describe this book? It isn't a parable, a fairy story or a poem, but rather a mixture of all three. It is beautiful and it is comic. It is philosophical and it is cheery. What we suppose we are trying fumblingly to say is, in a word, that it is Thurber. There are only a few reasons why everybody has always wanted to read this kind of story, but they are basic: Everybody has always wanted to love a Princess. Everybody has always wanted to be a Prince. Everybody has always wanted the wicked Duke to be punished. Everybody has always wanted to live happily ever after. Too little of this kind of thing is going on in the world. But all of it is going on valorously in The Thirteen Clocks.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The White Deer, James Thurber



5 stars
In a word: whimsical. This was such a fun read and at several points I found myself laughing out loud. It had the great qualities of a fairy tale while Thurber has created his own style. It had a bit of Lewis Carroll feel with its nonsensical humor. A great escape from the serious and a welcome voyage for the imagination.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Family Happiness, Leo Tolstoy



5 stars
This novella (just under 80 pages) is a must read for anyone thinking about marriage. It needs to be read in the honeymoon stage as well as in that season when the love is deep in a whole other way. Tolstoy masterfully depicts the inner-workings of human affection and distancing. And I think he paints a rather common though at times bleak reality that manifests itself in many marriages. This is an intriguing and insightful read. I came away with a renewed desire to foster a holy curiosity in my own marriage while guarding myself from the subtle tragedy that unfolds in Tolstoy's characters.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Advent:

The anticipation of fulfilled longing...the hunger and the thirst of the soul recognized and used to set the mind on that which will satisfy...it is the setting of the table in preparation of a feast.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Jesus

"Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Matthew 11:28-29

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

snowflake:

An image of humanity - formed by dust, each uniquely shaped, fallen...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Great Claus and Little Claus, Hans Christian Andersen

5 stars
I read this tale to my kids this evening. It was one of those finds in the library where you are just about to leave and you pull the book off the shelf and the cover of the book simply grabs you and thus finds its way into your house. The illustrations of the volume I checked out were by Rick Schreiter and are as well done as Andersen's masterfully crafted tale. The story itself is humorously violent with the point being one that is mainly moralistic as it records the effects of overwhelming greed.

To see the whole story on-line click here.

here's a view of Schreiter's artistic sensibilities from the cover of his book, THE DELICIOUS PLUMS OF KING OSCAR THE BAD: