Monday, August 30, 2010

Nothing has changed!

December 19, 1955 - a half a century ago - C.S. Lewis wrote:

“I seem to have been writing Christmas letters most of this day! I’m afraid I hate the weeks just before Christmas, and so much of the (very commercialised and vulgarised) fuss has nothing to do with the Nativity at all.  I wish we didn’t live in a world where buying and selling things (especially selling) seems to have become almost more important than either producing or using them.”  Yours, Jack

Maybe one thing has changed.  It isn’t the weeks before Christmas; it is now the months before Christmas!  Also, I am taken with his opinion regarding the lack of regard for “producing or using” of things – which seems even more spot-on in our culture today.  Sadly, we seem to be best at simply acquiring things!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

A 712 Page Challenge!

I have two new books at the top of my reading pile. One is an easy 226 pages long and the other is 712 pages.

My natural inclination is to grab the 226 pager and get started while reshuffling the 712 pager into another slot on my pile.  I have always avoided long books. In fact, it might be pretty safe to say that I have never ever read a really long book – other than maybe a text book. They just look totally insurmountable to me.

Now the reasoning side of me knows this is silly. What difference should it make if I read three average books or one very long book? But the feeling side of me just can’t seem to understand that. So I avoid long books like the plague, which is definitely my loss.

However in my current endeavor to go to places I’ve never been before, I am going to grab that huge 712 page book, with both hands, and take it on.  I know I have a fight on my hands – at least for the first 100 pages - but I am feeling up to the challenge. I think I can do it!

So with great fortitude and grit I now begin The Book of Abraham by Marek Halter!

(You’ll know how long it is taking me by how long it stays listed on the sidebar; hopefully it won't be there forever!)

Happy reading!!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Morning Coffee

"Rejoice in knowing that you belong to God and that He is conforming you to the image of His Son. See every event of this day as part of that process. Yield to the Spirit's prompting,and take heart that God will accomplish His will."
~~ John MacArthur


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dogs, Cats and Pharisees

“We were talking about dogs and cats the other day and decided that both have consciences but the dog, being an honest, humble person, always has a bad one, but the cat is a Pharisee and always has a good one. When he sits and stares you out of countenance he is thanking God that he is not as these dogs, or these humans, or even as these other cats!”
C.S. Lewis, Yours, Jack


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A few years ago someone introduced me to the art of Bonsai.  Wanting to give this gardening technique a try, I purchases several small bonsai plants.  It wasn't long before they were gone - dead - defunct!  I was deflated.  However, I had purchased several intro to bonsai type books at Half Price Books so I continued to study the matter.  And eventually I discovered that not all bonsai has to be small exotic plants; that one can create interesting plants simply by pruning and reshaping common household plants.  I have had much more luck - and much more fun - with this simplified and less precise method.  These are some plants I've been playing with this summer.

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Morning Coffee - a feeling of Fall

"This was one of those perfect New England days in late summer where the spirit of autumn takes a first stealing flight, like a spy, through the ripening country-side, and, with feigned sympathy for those who droop with August heat, puts her cool cloak of bracing air about leaf and flower and human shoulders."
~Sarah Orne Jewett


Monday, August 23, 2010

C.S. Lewis the Man

Snippets of Lewis from Yours, Jack:

“I don’t think evil, in the strict sense, can create. It can spoil something that Another has created. Satan may have corrupted other creatures as well as us. Part of the corruption in us might be the unreasoning horror and disgust we feel at some creatures quite apart from any harm they can do us. (I can’t abide a spider myself.)”

“No, my rheumatism is not really bad. It only produces extreme footsoreness in the left foot, so that after 50 yards, though the right one is fresh as a daisy the left keeps on whimpering ‘Stop! Stop! We’ve been 25 miles already.’”

“All joy (as distinct from mere pleasure, still more amusement) emphasizes our pilgrim status: always reminds, beckons, awakes desire. Our best havings are wantings.”


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Peppermint Patty Day!

On this day, August 22nd, in 1966, Charles Schultz introduced us to Peppermint Patty - as Charlie Brown’s new love interest.

According to Wikipedia:

“Schulz said that he had developed the Peppermint Patty persona in response to the burgeoning Women's Liberation Movement that was sparked in the latter half of the 1960s, and that he desired to create a character that defied gender stereotypes and embraced social norms that had yet to become fashionable. Peppermint Patty was the first female character outfitted with shorts and sandals, rather than dresses; and had a personality much more tomboyish than the girls who played on Charlie Brown's baseball team; and the first character to be the product of a single-parent household.”

I knew there was a good reason that I liked Peppermint Patty! She never wore dresses! I believe I am the only girl in my 1953 West Ward  Kindergarten picture who is NOT wearing a pretty little dress. Nope! I am wearing corduroy pants and a shirt – and I’m sure I know I was much more comfortable on the playground!

 Happy Peppermint Patty Day!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Morning Coffee at Kaffee Cup Cottage

My friend and I recently decided that we needed to name our homes as in the old English tradition. It just seems to add a level of character to a house if it has a special name. We both enjoy our homes and thought this would be a fun thing to do.

Audrey is a Master Gardener, has a beautifully designed flower garden and also lives in a bungalow style house, thus she picked, Blossom Bungalow. My residence now is a classic 80’s vintage townhome and doesn’t lend itself to any particular theme so we finally decided to go with my love of coffee coupled with my Scandinavian roots. Kaffee Cup Cottage is where I reside.

So stop in anytime at Kaffee Cup Cottage where the coffee is always fresh and the conversation engaging - or at least pleasant! And I know Audrey would be happy to entertain you in her garden at Blossom Bungalow.

And now I believe I will pour another cup of coffee and watch the pond a bit!  You have a great day, too!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Be His!

“You ask ‘for what’ God wants you. Isn’t the primary answer that He wants you. We’re not told that the lost sheep was sought out for anything except itself. Of course, He may have a special job for you: and the certain job is that of becoming more and more His.”
C.S. Lewis, Yours, Jack

An entire industry and culture has developed around the question of what is our purpose in life; for what reason did God create us. We agonize over and search for some grand and worthy plan. Yet, as Lewis wrote in 1954, the answer is as simple as this: We were put here to be His. That’s all! Be His!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

He Always Carries us Out! Always!

 "I am also most moved at hearing how you were supported through the period of anxiety. For one is sometimes tempted to think that if He wanted us to be as un-anxious as the lilies of the field He really might have given us a constitution more like theirs! But then when the need comes He carries out in us His otherwise impossible instructions."
C.S. Lewis, Yours, Jack


Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Beauty is in the Banister.

On “religious Practices” Lewis wrote in a letter dated June 29, 1953:

“I wouldn’t quite say that ‘religious Practices help the search for truth’ for that might imply that they have no further use when the Truth has been found. I think about the practices what a wise old priest said to me about a ‘rule of life’ in general – ‘It is not a stair but a bannister’, i.e., it is, not the thing you ascend by but it is a protective against falling off and a help-up. I think thus we ascend. The stair is God’s grace. One’s climb from step to step is obedience. Many different kinds of bannisters exist, all legitimate. It is possible to get up without any banister, if need be: but no one would willingly build a staircase without them because it would be less safe, more laborious, and a little lacking in beauty.
C.S. Lewis, Yours, Jack

“…and a little lacking in beauty.” Absolutely!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Liturgy and Prayer

Yours, Jack has been such a wonderful look into the life and faith of C.S. Lewis. I highly recommend this book! This morning I found this perspective of his interesting. He is comparing fixed forms of worship (liturgy and prayers) with extemporaneous worship. He writes in a letter dated April 1, 1952:

"The advantage of a fixed form of service is that we know what is coming. Extempore public prayer has this difficulty: we don’t know whether we can mentally join in it until we’ve heard it – it might be phoney or heretical. We are therefore called upon to carry on a critical and a devotional activity at the same moment: two things hardly compatible. In a fixed form we ought to have ‘gone through the motions’ before in our private prayers: the rigid form really sets our devotions free.

“I also find the more rigid it is, the easier it is to keep one’s thoughts from straying. Also it prevents any service getting too completely eaten up by whatever happens to be the preoccupation of the moment (a war, an election, or what not). The permanent shape of Christianity shows through. I don’t see how the extempore method can help becoming provincial and I think it has a great tendency to direct attention to the minister rather than to God.”
C.S. Lewis ~ Yours, Jack

I love the thought that “the rigid form really sets our devotions free”. That’s why liturgy is so moving. We know it well; we know what’s coming and we can enter it from the very first note or word. Even our simple table prayer – the one we’ve prayed for years and years – can be very devotional because it takes us immediately into a posture of thanksgiving.

For me this means no more struggling with impromptu public prayer. There are too many beautifully written prayers available; prayers that express exactly what I believe and that will allow me to worship unencumbered.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Morning Coffee

"The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours. No matter how weary or dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen. And the fact that it practically always doesn't, matters not a jot. The possibility is always there."     ~Monica Baldwin


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

He Speaks to Me Everywhere!

“I don’t doubt that the Holy Spirit guides your decisions from within when you make them with the intention of pleasing God. The error would be to think that He speaks only within, whereas, in reality, He speaks also through Scripture, the Church, Christian friends, books et cetera.” C.S. Lewis

This reminds me of the words from This Is My Father’s World.

This is my Father's world:
he shines in all that's fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass;
he speaks to me everywhere.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Spit polish and Biscuits

I’m reading To Kill a Mockingbird; a book I read long, long ago, but am enjoying again. It’s always interesting to read a story set in a cultural setting far different from the one in which I live. There are so many interesting things to learn:
Scout describing how Calpurnia readied her for her visit to Cal’s church. “She went over my patent-leather shoes with a cold biscuit until she saw her face in them.”
Spit, polish and elbow grease is what I’m familiar with! But I like the image of the biscuit better!


Don't Bother About Your Feelings

"Don't bother much about your feelings.  When they are humble, loving, brave, give thanks for them: when they are conceited, selfish, cowardly, ask to have them altered.  In neither case are they you, but only a thing that happens to you." 
C.S. Lewis, Yours, Jack


Monday, August 9, 2010


This is an interesting idea and I've decided to make a donation and follow this organization.   I like the idea of helping others help themselves.This is a relatively new organization so will watch and see how it develops.  For my $25 donation, I chose to help Margot in Peru buy seeds.

Read Just One Ministries' post about KIVA here:

Read a Sam's Club Press Release here.

Our Inner Weather

"The whole difficulty with me is to keep control of the mind and I wish one's earliest education had given one more training in that.  There seems to be a disproportion between the vastness of the soul in one respect (i.e., as a mass of ideas and emotions) and its smallness in another (i.e. as central, controlling ego).  The whole inner weather changes so completely in less than a minute." 
C.S. Lewis, Yours, Jack

Often for me in merely seconds!


Sunday Sightings!

The Best of Friends
Gladys - on the right - was a kitten when she showed up on the Gift Store's doorstep.  Oscar wasn't any too pleased when she taken in to live with him.  One year later, however, and they are inseparable.

Pumpkins in my Petunia Pot
Somehow one of my Cinderella Pumpkin seeds landed in my pot of petunias.  However I am enjoying the combination.  Makes me wonder about other flower/vegetable combinations that might be fun to create!


Friday, August 6, 2010

Steered by Another

"So don’t worry. Continue all your efforts. You are being steered by Another; you’ve only got to row – and therefore, the future journey is behind your back. Keep your eye on the Helmsman, keep your conscience bright and your brain clear and believe that you are in good hands."

C.S. Lewis – Yours, Jack (Dec 31, 1947)


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Morning Verse

Daniel 2:19-23

19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision.
Then Daniel praised the God of heaven  
20 and said:  "Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.

21 He changes times and seasons;
he sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.

22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.

23 I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king."


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Morning Coffee

"Develop your eccentricities while you are young. That way, when you get old, people won't think you're going gaga." ~ David Ogilvy

On that note, I will pour another cup of coffee and plan my day!  (-:


Monday, August 2, 2010

Clean Clothes are Waiting!

“No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes are in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present to us: it is the very sign of His presence.”     ~ C.S. Lewis, Yours, Jack