Sunday, May 31, 2009

"The Giant's Heart" by George MacDonald

5 stars
This short tale is one found in The Complete Fairy Tales of George MacDonald. It is a retelling of a Norwegian fairy tale where a child-eating giant has hidden his heart and a two children (Tricksey-Wee & Buffy-Bob) seek it out to teach the giant a lesson. It offers some points worth talking about if read to kids (i.e. there's a moral that can be pulled out of the story).

Here's a favorite quote from the tale:
"Then Tricksey-Wee told them that there was a giant on the borders who treated little children no better than radishes, and that they had narrowly escaped being eaten by him; that they had found out that the great she-eagle of Mount Skycrack was at present sitting on his heart; and that, if they could only get hold of the heart, they would soon teach the giant better behaviour."

read the whole fairy tale here (it can be read in under an hour):
The Giant's Heart

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Little Princess (1995 film)

5 stars
A film as much for the adults as it is for the children - this one does not disappoint. It is based off of a 1905 children's novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett (who also wrote A Secret Garden). In my opinion it is a perfect story in all ways - filled with a fairy-tale that mimics reality woven throughout the storyline as well as villains and heroes, suspense and adventure, and truth, beauty and goodness.

Although the movie is rated G, I would put it at PG due to some scenes that deal with the reality of war and a ten-headed fantasy monster that shows up a couple of times. (It was an appropriate movie for my 7 and 9 year old however)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Haiku IV

My birthday is here.
Inside the dictionary
I find pressed flowers.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

C.S. Lewis

“If the remains of Weston were, at such moments, speaking through the lips of the Un-man, then Weston was not now a man at all. The forces which had begun, perhaps years ago, to eat away his humanity had now completed their work. The intoxicated will which had been slowly poisoning the intelligence and the affection had now at last poisoned itself and the whole psychic organism had fallen to pieces. Only a ghost was left—an everlasting unrest, a crumbling, a ruin, an odour of decay. “And this,” thought Ransom, “might be my destruction; or hers.””


“She was still in her innocence. No evil intension had been formed in her mind. But if her will was uncorrupted, half her imagination was already filled with bright, poisonous shapes. “This can’t go on,” thought Ransom for the second time. But all his arguments proved in the long run unavailing and it did go on.”


The deceiving Weston speaks:
“A man can love himself, and be together with himself. That is what it means to be a man or a woman—to walk alongside oneself as if one were a second person and to delight in one’s own beauty. Mirrors were made to teach this art.”

from Perelandra, chpt 10, pgs: 130, 134, 137

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Witches, Roald Dahl

4 stars
You can never be sure when a witch is lurking about - but Dahl offers a few things one ought to look for. This is a fun and entertaining tale about a boy and his grandmother and their fate with the local witches. Dahl proves again he is a gifted weaver of story.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Light Princess, George MacDonald

4 stars
A wonderful fairy tale of sacrifice and redemption. We listened to this one as an audio recording and enjoyed the playful interaction it offered with regard to the gravity of our world. A great book to nurture the moral imagination.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

C.S. Lewis

“How God thinks of us is not only more important, but infinitely more important. Indeed, how we think of Him is of no importance except insofar as it is related to how He thinks of us.”

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Year after year
on the monkey's face
a monkey's face.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Road To Oz, L. Frank Baum

4 stars
So, we now own the complete Oz set in one volume and have completed the fifth book in the series. Baum did it again with this installment and has written a book that does not disappoint. Many are the roads before us but only one will lead to Oz and herein is a new tale of Dorothy's adventures as she attempts to reach the Emerald City in time for Ozma's birthday party. Along the way the reader is greeted by new and old friends: The Shaggy Man, Button-Bright, King Dox, Polychrome the Rainbow's daughter, King Kick-a-Bray, The Musicker, Johnny Dooit, Tick-Tock, Billina, The Wizard, Jack Pumpkinhead, Tin Woodman, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Hungry Tiger, and Ozma to name a few.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Haiku III

Potted spring flowers -
Children are playing kickball
on the fenced in field

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dallas Willard

when defining love - "the genuine inner readiness and longing to secure the good of others"

in Renovation of the Heart, 24

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Annie Dillard

"I always want to paint, too, after I see the Rembrandts."

from The Writing Life, 97

Monday, May 18, 2009

Margaret Thatcher

"When Abraham Lincoln spoke in his famous Gettysburg speech of 1863 of 'government of the people, by the people, and for the people,' he gave the world a neat definition of democracy which has since been widely and enthusiastically adopted. But what he enunciated as a form of government was not in itself especially Christian, for nowhere in the Bible is the word democracy mentioned. Ideally, when Christians meet, as Christians, to take counsel together, their purpose is not (or should not be) to ascertain what is the mind of the majority but what is the mind of the Holy Spirit - something which may be quite different. Nevertheless I am an enthusiast for democracy. And I take that position, not because I believe majority opinion is inevitably right or true - indeed no majority can take away God-given human rights - but because I believe it most effectively safeguards the value of the individual, and, more than any other system, restrains the abuse of power by the few. And that is a Christian concept."

from a speech in May of 1988

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Margaret Thatcher

"What then are the distinctive marks of Christianity? They stem not from the social but from the spiritual side of our lives. I would identify three beliefs in particular: First, that from the beginning, man has been endowed by God with the fundamental right to choose between good and evil. Second, that we were made in God's own image and therefore we are expected to use all our own power of thought and judgment in exercising that choice; and further, if we open our hearts to God, He has promised to work within us. And third, that Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, when faced with His terrible choice and lonely vigil, chose to lay down His life that our sins may be forgiven. I remember very well a sermon on Armistice Sunday when our preacher said: "No one took away the life of Jesus, He chose to lay it down". I think back to many discussions in my early life when we all agreed that if you try to take the fruits of Christianity without its roots, the fruits will wither. And they will not come again unless you nurture the roots. But we must not profess the Christian faith and go to church simply because we want social reforms and benefits or a better standard of behavior - but because we accept the sanctity of life, the responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ expressed so well in the hymn:

When I survey the wondrous Cross
on which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
and pour contempt on all my pride."

from a speech in May of 1988

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Haiku II

Ants see peonies
March as spring into being
Crawling garden bloom

Friday, May 15, 2009

Haiku I

The rink of black sky
A shooting star skating by
Grandeur of last breath

Thursday, May 14, 2009


When the stitching of memory goes, the patchwork once again becomes scraps for another generation.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

John Calvin

"Oh, how great we have advanced when we have learned not to be our own, not to be governed by our own reason, but to surrender our minds to God! The most effective poison to lead us to ruin is to boast in ourselves, in our own wisdom and willpower. The only escape to safety is simply to follow the guidance of the Lord."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

George Mueller

"If we seek to discern Christ in each other, how we shall be drawn to each other!"

Monday, May 11, 2009

Anne Lamott

"I remind myself nearly every day of something that a doctor told me six months before my friend Penny died. This was a doctor who always gave me straight answers. When I called on this one particular night, I was hoping she could put a positive slant on some distressing developments. She couldn't, but she said something that changed my life. "Watch her carefully right now," she said, "because she's teaching you how to live." I remind myself of this when I cannot get any work done: to live as if I am dying, because the truth is we are all terminal on this bus. To live as if we are dying gives us a chance to experience some real presence."

from Bird By Bird: Some Instruction on Writing and Life, 179

Sunday, May 10, 2009


like sorrow, it is one thing with which all humanity has been acquainted - wherein we are knit together

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dallan Forgaill

"Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; naught be all else to me, save that Thou art. Thou my best thought, by day or by night, waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light."

Friday, May 8, 2009

William Temple

“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God; to feed the mind with the truth of God; to purge the imagination by the beauty of God; to open the heart to the love of God; and to devote the will to the purpose of God.”

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dwight Eisenhower

"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

L. Frank Baum

"Dorothy let Button-Bright wind up the clock-work in the copper man this morning - his thinking machine first, then his speech, and finally his action; so he would doubtlessly run perfectly until they had reached the Emerald City. The copper man and the tin man were good friends, and not so much alike as you might think. For one was alive and the other moved by means of machinery; one was tall and angular and the other short and round. You could love the Tin Woodman because he had a fine nature, kindly and simply; but the machine man you could only admire without loving, since to love a sewing machine or an automobile. Yet Tik-tok was popular with the people of Oz because he was so trustworthy, reliable and true; he was sure to do exactly what he was wound up to do, at all times and in all circumstances. Perhaps it is better to be a machine that does its duty than a flesh-and-blood person who will not, for a dead truth is better than a live falsehood."

from chapter 16 in The Road to Oz (book five in the Oz series)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

L. Frank Baum

Upon seeing Nick Chopper's (aka the Tin Woodman's) Tin Castle

"It must have cost a lot of money," remarked the shaggy man.

"Money! Money in Oz!" cried the Tin Woodman. "What a queer idea! Did you suppose we are so vulgar as to use money here?"

"Why not?" asked the shaggy man.

"If we used money to buy things with, instead of love and kindness and the desire to please one another, then we should be no better than the rest of the world," declared the Tin Woodman. "Fortunately money is not known in the land of Oz at all. We have no rich, and no poor; for what one wishes the others all try to give him, in order to make him happy, and no one in all Oz cares to have more than he can use."

from chapter 15 in The Road to Oz (book five in the Oz series)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Igor Stravinsky

"My music is best understood by children and animals."

Sunday, May 3, 2009


So turns my wife today - like a fine wine, she only gets better with age...

Saturday, May 2, 2009


The process of discovering that leads to discovery; it is the unearthing of artifacts that they might be held in view in this museum of life.

Friday, May 1, 2009


The cross between a mayfly and a tadpole: short-lived and yet wonderfully transforming.