Friday, February 3, 2023

A Few of My Favorite Things

I’m always bad when someone asks what is my favorite something. “I have a lot of favorites,” I complain. But as I was thinking about it recently, I came up with a few favorites.

 

Book: To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. I read this book again not too long ago, to make sure it was still my favorite. It is. Still brings tears to my eyes.

 

There’s so much I can learn about writing from Harper Lee, and I want to be as good a story-teller as Scout Finch.

 

Food: Hamburger with all the fixings.

 

Song: “He Is,” by Aaron Jeoffrey.

 

Movie: The Sound of Music—“These are a few of my favorite things…”

 

Flower: daisies. Especially tiny wild ones.

 

Color: orange. I met a lady this week who said her favorite color is orange too. “It’s a happy color.”

 

I don’t watch much TV anymore, but I have a couple favorite shows I love watching reruns of: “West Wing” and “MASH.”

 

Book of the Bible: The Gospel of John. When I was in college, I was having trouble believing in God, and a minister suggested I read the book of John. Many years later, this book still touches me.

 

John 20:30-31: Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

 

Dessert: Chocolate anything. ’Cept maybe chocolate-covered bacon. Mmm, well, I guess I’d be willing to try that.

 

When my kids ask me, I always say I have five favorite kids—my favorite Ping-Hwei, my favorite Sarah… 

Friday, January 27, 2023

Grace and Truth, John 15, Our Promise, Our Advocate

 

Verses 18-19: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

Verse 26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.

 

Jesus has chosen us to share about him in the world. What a privilege, to be chosen by Jesus. He warns us that this will cause trouble for us, but Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to us from God the Father. He is our Advocate, someone to stand by us and stand up for us. Thank you, Father. We do not need to testify about Jesus alone. We will not receive trouble from the world alone. 

Friday, January 20, 2023

More About Books Shared with Our Kids

I wanted to share some comments from my blog about books with our kids.

 

From Mary Lou: My daughter Christie enjoyed the Little House books.”

 

From Erma: “Thanks for the recommendations! I've read some of the same books to my children - loved their faces as they discovered the stories and then read them for themselves!! What fun!!:)”

 

From Kathy C.: “My granddaughter has asked for books for her baby instead of cards at her baby shower. I've seen this before, and I always give Christopher Robin. I can't think of the name of the book, but Winnie the Pooh. I love this book.”

 

From Patti: “Kathy C, one of my daughter's favorite Winnie the Pooh books was Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too! One time we were in the doctor's office waiting room and that book was sitting on a table. We sat there and read it out loud together. We were laughing about it because she was already a teen-ager!”

 

From Nina: “I loved reading about sharing your love of reading with your children when they were small. It was one of the happiest times for me as a parent, reading about Curious George and Madeline and The Little Engine That Could.

“Brett was fascinated by firemen when he was tiny and we checked out a picture book from the library and renewed it until we reached the limit.  At 3 he felt the need to dress in a fireman’s costume every day and he was wearing it when the librarian gave us the bad news.  We could not renew.  He cried. She gave a deep sigh and checked the book in, then right out again to us.  The little fireman broke into a smile.  The book was ours again for 3 renewal cycles.

“I once bought a subscription to Highlights.  It’s a quality children’s magazine but it turned out to be a mistake for us.  The monthly feature, ‘Goofus and Gallant’ proved problematic.  No matter where they were- playing, at school, sitting at the dinner table with the family- Goofus was demonstrating poor behavior.  “Goofus jumps up from the dinner table without excusing himself and runs off to play.’   Gallant demonstrated admirable behaviors ‘Gallant thanks his mother for dinner and helps her to clear the table.’  Goofus cheats at games, talks instead of listening to the teacher, grabs the biggest piece of cake at a party.  Gallant, noble soul, helps his teammates, pays attention at school, writes thank you notes.

“Unfortunately, my son was fascinated with the awful behavior of Goofus and saw the short lessons and sketches as inspirational material for future misbehavior.  Goofus, he decided, was living a much more exciting life!  Sigh.  I didn’t renew the subscription!

“But books- we read and read.  Later it was the Narnia series.  Katrina loved the Babysitters Club and The Boxcar Children series.

“I hope to continue the joy of reading with Remy and Elden (her grandsons.)  Any books about things with wheels are a huge hit right now.”

Such joyful memories. 

Friday, January 13, 2023

Books Shared with My Kids

Reading was something we shared with our kids from their very early age.

We read the bible to them. I told bible stories, and we shared acting them out with enthusiasm. “Jonah was gobbled up by a big fish. What was it like in the fish’s belly?”

The kids would answer, “Icky,” “Stinky,” “Slimy.”

We shared so many books with them, and they started reading for themselves early on.

Some favorites I remember reading to the kids were The Little House Books, the Chronicles of Narnia, Magic Tree House books, Boxcar Children, To Kill a Mocking bird.

Now that they’re grown, I love it when they share a book with me, suggesting I read it because they loved it.

More than a dozen years ago, Rebecca told me about the O’Malley Series by Dee Henderson. I’ve read this series multiple times, and I will continue to. I’ve read as many other books by Dee Henderson as I can find, and she has been a wonderful mentor for my own writing.

The road back to you: an enneagram journey to self-discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile.

Benjamin suggested this book to me. It’s a fun, easy to understand look at the enneagram, a Christian system with hundreds of years of history that looks at personality types.

The authors suggest that understanding ourselves and others better can help us be the person God created us to be. It helps us find grace for ourselves and others. I’ve also heard this system recommended for writers to use to make their characters more believable. The book is written with humor and compassion.

Rebecca and Sarah both talked with me about reading The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas. They warned me of its rating—a little sex, lots of cussing. But I feel so good that my girls considered me worthy of them recommending the book anyway. A story of a sixteen-year-old Black girl who watches her childhood friend be killed by a police officer. An incredible story of the love of her family, her friends, and showing her come to understand and accept her own identity.

From Caleb: What happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline.

This is a gripping story of suspense and quick surprising action. friendship and family bring the main characters through horror.

Caleb loves to read intense, heart-stopping suspense stories, and I love talking with him about what he’s reading. 

Friday, January 6, 2023

Psalm 12, Keep Us Safe

For the director of music. According to sheminith. A psalm of David.

Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;

    those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.

Everyone lies to their neighbor;

    they flatter with their lips

    but harbor deception in their hearts.

May the Lord silence all flattering lips

    and every boastful tongue—

those who say,

    “By our tongues we will prevail;

    our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”

“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,

    I will now arise,” says the Lord.

    “I will protect them from those who malign them.”

And the words of the Lord are flawless,

    like silver purified in a crucible,

    like gold refined seven times.

You, Lord, will keep the needy safe

    and will protect us forever from the wicked,

who freely strut about

    when what is vile is honored by the human race.

 

Have you ever felt like David, that there was no one loyal and faithful left in the world?

And yet, even in that state, he knew God’s word was perfect; God was the one who would help.

 

Lord, we pray to you to keep us safe, to protect us from the danger and horror around us.