Monday, February 28, 2005

List # 6 Quotations

In 1979 I began to collect quotations from books, sermons, cartoons, speeches, etc. mainly because my feeble memory would not bring them back when I needed them. Most are about reading, books, teaching, and God. It is my habit to always have a journal and a pen handy when I read a book so I can write down what strikes me. In addition, I have taken to buying collections of quotations on certain themes--No, I do not have a Bartlett's--it is too overwhelming. Here is a list of my favorite books of quotations and a quotation from each book:

Glaspey, Terry W. A PASSION FOR BOOKS. "Where is the human nature so weak as in a bookstore?" Henry Ward Beecher

Jacobs, Ben. THE QUOTABLE BOOK LOVER. "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." Anton Chekov

Kaplan, Rob and Harold Rabinowitz. SPEAKING OF BOOKS. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend; inside of a dog, it is too dark to read." Groucho Marx

Karon, Jan. PATCHES OF GODLIGHT, FATHER TIM'S FAVORITE QUOTES. "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." John Wesley

Levanthal, Sallye, ed. NOTATIONS, QUOTATIONS ON MUSIC. "Where words fail, music speaks." Hans Christian Andersen

Petras, Katherine, ed. AGE DOESN'T MATTER UNLESS YOU'RE A CHEESE. "I have everything now I had twenty years ago, except now it's all lower." Gypsy Rose Lee
(I needed this one on the blog about boobs!)

Robinson, Ray. FAMOUS LAST WORDS. "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist---."
General John Sedgewick at the Battle of the Wilderness, commenting on Confederate

Sunday, February 27, 2005


Now is the time for the list by which I ran my professional life for 33 years--those years when I was a middle and high school English teacher, a school librarian and a university teacher of children's and young adult literature

Reading and Education

Manguel, Alberto. A HISTORY OF READING

Calkins, Lucy. RAISING LIFE LONG LEARNERS--a must read for all parents



Healy, Jane. ENDANGERED MINDS--a must for every parent and teacher--exposes the
vacuous content of Sesame Street
HONEY FOR A WOMAN'S HEART--slightly dated bibliographies of good reading

I have always been interested in and incensed by censorship. Books included here
are the Bible, To Kill A Mockingbird, Oliver Twist, Dr. Zhivago, The Scarlet
Letter, etc.

O'Hanion, Susan. WHO'S IN CHARGE? A TEACHER SPEAKS HER MIND.--how did she know my
philosophy of teaching?

love the book title, the reviews and the connections she makes


Trelease, Jim. THE READ ALOUD HANDBOOK--another great help for parents with chapters
on the importance of reading aloud and the insidious intrusion of TV into family
life, plus bibliographies of books to read to kids of every age

Schwartz, Lynne. RUINED BY READING

Yolen, Jane. TOUCH MAGIC

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Conclusion of List 4--Inspiration and Spirituality

Blaise Pascal wrote about a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person. These books have helped me see God more fully as I invite him into that vacuum.

BEHOLD THE BEAUTY OF THE LORD--helped me understand the true meaning
of icons



Smalley, Gary. THE BLESSING

Teresa, Mother. WORDS TO LIVE BY

Thompson, Marjorie. COMPANIONS IN CHRIST--a workbook published by the Upper Room and
very helpful in spiritual formation groups
SOUL FEAST--my favorite book on spiritual formation

Many of these books would be wonderful for study in small groups (especially spiritual formation groups). My group Trilogy shared many of them in our 10 years together, and we were nourished by their content.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Seeing the Lord's glory--List #4

Michelangelo once said, "Lord, make me see thy glory in every place." While I often see His glory in people and the creation, I most often see His glory in the writings of wise and spiritual authors. Following is a list of some of my favorite inspirational and spiritual readings:


Campolo, Tony. LET ME TELL YOU A STORY--he is probably one of our most gifted story-
tellers and these are some of his best.
Counsell, Michael. 2,000 YEARS OF PRAYER--this book opened my eyes to the gifts
offered by the saints and church fathers which in younger years I had often
shrugged off as old, boring Catholic writers. How prosaic! But in my defense,
there were many good gifts offered by others that the fellowship in which I grew
up neglected or condemned. A blog about that later.

Edelman, Marian Wright. THE MEASURE OF OUR SUCCESS. A letter to her children about
how we all should act.

STREAMS OF LIVING WATER. I am so glad to see Foster embraced
widely now. He is a visionary.

Heatherly, Joyce Landorf. BALCONY PEOPLE--probably my favorite metaphor about "the
great cloud of witnesses."

L'Engle, Madeleine. TRAILING CLOUDS OF GLORY--in fact, all of her books are great!
Lamott, Anne. TRAVELING MERCIES. Probably my very favorite read in this area over
the last few years--it is her spiritual memoir.
Lucado, Max. HE CHOSE THE NAILS. I can see Max's picture of Him saying goodby to
the carpenter shop in my mind today.

Norris, Kathleen. DAKOTA. Her story of how this secular poet regained her faith
after moving back to her grandmother's town.
CLOISTER WALK. Her account of growing deeper spiritually after
her "immersion in a liturgical world" at St. John's Abbey in Minnesota.

More tomorrow.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

You Can Go Home Again

Sorry, Thomas Wolfe, you can go home again--I just did it. And it was glorious!
The week was full of so many good things, I can't write them all. But read Mike and Brandon's blog about what was one of the most extraordinary Sundays at Highland I have ever seen. You can go home again, but not without weeping.

Staying with our friends Ronnie and Darla was such a blessing. I cannot articulate how much I miss them. As I told them, I seem to be subtly pushed toward an older group at Otter, and that is not what I desire. My "group" at Highland was at last 10 years younger than I, and that didn't bother them or me at all. Anyway back to R and D who date back in our lives to when they were mere children at Minter Lane, Darla was Sam's secretary at two schools, our kids grew up together, got in trouble together and survived teenage together, and we attended Minter and Highland together. Sam didn't live to see it, but one of my proudest moments was seeing Ronnie accept the position of elder at Highland. Both of them are a team for the Lord in so many ways I cannot even begin to enumerate--not the least of which is their love for us. They know us well, warts and all--and still call us family. And besides that, they have fallen in love with Maddie and Ella. Love them!

I didn't get to attend too many of the classes and lectures--but there are always the Gaylor tapes. A wonderful one I did hear was Harold Shank, who provided many moving stories about missionaries and other of God's servants.

It was strange to attend as a visitor.Kinda Nice.

And we had two days of 82 degrees--That's West Texas--today it is probably 30 degrees like it is here. One strange thing was that we did not have enough wind to get Maddie and Ella's kites very high. There is ALWAYS wind in Abilene.

Thank you God for the opportunity to go home and see those I love. Help all of us never to forget how important community and friends are to our lives.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Favorites #3

Red Smith once wrote, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter (computer) and open a vein." For years, writing has been one of my most pleasurable activities. I enjoyed writing my lessons I would teach; then I wrote many speeches given to workshops, conventions, etc.; a couple of years ago, I wrote a book about how to write a spiritual autobiography; and now the blog continuum. Here is a list of my favorite books about writing:


Coles, Robert. THE CALL OF STORIES--a must!


Lyon, George Ella. WHERE I'M FROM

Lamott, Anne. BIRD BY BIRD--another must

Stanek, Lou Willett. WRITING YOUR LIFE


We are headed to Abilene tomorrow. I will be otherwise occupied until Thursday. Have a happy week!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Favorites list #2

Thanks for your comments on the Fiction list. George Bernard Shaw said, "People get nothing out of books but what they bring to them."

I bring to this list of biographies and memoirs a life-time of reading about great men and women and several years of teaching people how to write their spiritual memoirs.


Ackroyd, Peter. DICKENS

Bragg, Rick. ALL OVER BUT THE SHOUTIN'--a look at what made a famous journalist

Delaney, Sarah and Elizabeth. HAVING OUR SAY--among the first black women professionals, they share their 100 years of living.

Dillard, Annie. AN AMERICAN CHILDHOOD--I love comparing her 50's childhood with mine--so different!

Edelman, Marian Wright. LANTERNS--her account of the people who made her the accomplished lobbyist she is (Definitely one of my heroes)

Haley, Alex. THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X--The account of how Malcolm X learned to read and write in prison bears sharing with all students who do not understand the value of an education

McCullough, David. JOHN ADAMS
TRUMAN (Not the movie, Harry S)

L'Engle, Madeliene. THE SUMMER OF MY GREATGRANDMOTHER--should be read by all who have aging relatives

Lindbergh, Anne. GIFT FROM THE SEA--This visit to the sea has inspired thousands

Lindbergh, Reeve NO MORE WORDS--Anne's daughter recounts the last days of her mother

West, Michael. CONSUMING PASSIONS--the story of an eccentric family told through their recipes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Some have asked me to share my favorite books. Why anyone would care, I don't know. Fulfilling the request is both challenging and humbling. Someone once said, "Tell me what you read, and I shall tell you what you are."

As I have written before, we had no books at home because of a tight budget. The first contact I had with books was in school. Those were the days of classroom libraries which were filled with out-of-date textbooks and cast-offs from publishers. So the pickings were slim. The first book I really remember getting into was BLACK BEAUTY by Anna Sewell. It was a book about animal abuse before animal abuse was really a cause. Susan Jeffers did a beautiful picture book of it several years ago, but the one I remember had no pictures, untrimmed pages and an ugly green binding.

Perhaps my love of reading stems from the days when the cupboard was bare. But I am now like Nicholas Barker who wrote, "When people ask, Do you collect books? I always say, No, books collect me." For the next few days, I will put out my lists of favorites divided into genres. Those who compare the list with their own must remember that we all have different interests. My lists show my interests in reading, education, art, biographies, spiritual formation and young adult books. I might even try to do a list of favorite children's books.

FICTION: (I read very little fiction, except mysteries)

Alcott, Louisa May. LITTLE WOMEN
Bradbury, Ray. FAHRENHEIT 451
Brooks, Geraldine. YEAR OF WONDERS--the newest book on this list. About the bubonic
plague and a very Christ-like decision made by a small town during the plague
Karon, Jan. Any of her Mitford series
Lowry, Lois. THE GIVER (young adult)
NUMBER THE STARS (young adult)
Maclachlan, Patricia. SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL (chapter book)
Paulsen, Gary NIGHTJOHN (young adult)
WINTERDANCE--one of the funniest books I have ever read. Paulsen
decides to enter the Iditarod. His adventures with the dogs are hilarious.

And three of the great American novels:

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. THE SCARLET LETTER. This was the first novel I taught to an
high school English class. We all loved it.
Lee, Harper. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD--The scene where Scout learns to read is
Twain, Mark. HUCKLEBERRY FINN--again, a favorite book to teach.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Why I Read

The following is an excerpt from a poem by one of my favorite young adult authors, Richard Peck:

I read
because one life isn't enough
and in the pages of a
I can be anybody.

I read
because the words that
build the story become
to build my life.

I read
not for happy endings but
for new beginnings;
I"m just beginning myself
and I wouldn't mind a

I read because every journey
begins at the library and
it is time for me to start

Stanzas two and three are especially apropos for reading the Bible, I think.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day

"To a couple of honeys
from your little bunny
to wish you a happy Valentine's Day
in a nice little way
with no misses,
so here's love and kisses."

Handmade Valentine with lots of hearts and xoxoxo's February, 1979 from Brandon Scott Thomas to his parents.

Thanks, Babe and here are xoxoxoxo's to you today!

Valentine's Day is not the favorite day of those who are single. If your parent is
widowed or if you know a widow or widower in your church, this would be a nice day to call and say how much you love and admire them. This too is a good day to tell your children and remind yourself of the forever love of God. It is not a love dependent on a day or a box of chocolates. It does not depend on time and space, on day or night, or the weather. It does not depend on a whim, or a feeling. You don't have to deserve it, crave it, or look for it in hidden places--it is there for you because of Christ and because your Creator loves you with a love so large no one can take measure of it or earn it.

Thank you God for your forever love.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Lord, We Come Before Thee Now

As we sang Lord, We Come Before Thee Now, my heart went back to the thousands of times I sang the hymn in the old (now torn down) Hamlin Church of Christ. With its number frequently posted on the song board (remember those?), it was truly a church favorite. Bro. B led it as a rolling gallop; Bro. H led it as a funeral dirge. I preferred the gallop--although surely there was a happy medium we never found.

I am always interested in the stanzas that we did not sing because they were not printed in our hymnal or because we did not agree with them. Stanza four of this one says: Send some message from Thy Word
That may joy and peace afford;
Let thy Spirit now import
Full salvation to each heart.

In those days of the 50's we barely mentioned the Spirit and then only when reading a Bible verse containing it.

Thank you William Hammond for the hymn I sang as a child and still love.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Children's books

This topic could go on and on. Thanks for reading and responding. Answers to yesterday's lines:

l. Peter Rabbit Beatrix Potter

2. Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak

3. Little Women Louisa May Alcott

4. Love You Forever Robert Munsch

5. Anne of Green Gables Lucy Montgomery

Sandy, what is the one about the scrubbing brush????

One of the best books about children's books is How to Get Your Child to Love Reading, Activities, Ideas and Inspiration for Exploring Everything in the World through Books by Esme Raji Codell. Her web site is cool too:

Friday, February 11, 2005


I enjoyed your answers to yesterday's quiz. Thanks, elizabeth for some new ones...What is the five little puppies book? Stumped me. Here are the answers:

1. Papa..axe Charlotte's Web, E. B. White

2. Great green room... Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown

3. All children grow up Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie

4. Four children The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis

5. Dark and stormy night, Meg Murray Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle

6. Really sorry Lily's Purple Plastic Purse, Kevin Henkes

7. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard Make Way for Ducklings, Robert MacCloskey

8. Herdmans The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Barbara Robinson

9. The hand Pink and Say, Patricia Polacco

10. In an old house... Madeline, Ludwig Bemelmans

Let's try some others sent and another I remembered:

l. Now, my dears, you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don't go into
Mr. McGregor's garden

2. He found his supper waiting for him, and it was still hot.

3. "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents!" grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

4. A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held him, she sang....

5. Marilla came briskly forward as Matthew opened the door. But when her eyes fell on the odd little figure in the stiff, ugly dress, with the long braids of red hair...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Lines from children's books

This is a little quiz that I often gave to my children's literature class when we were in the doldrums of February. Parents who read to their children will have an up on this. Answers tomorrow. From what famous children's book is the line?

1. Where's Papa going with that ax?

2. In the great green room there was a telephone and a red balloon....

3. All children grow up except one.

4. Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmond, and Lucy.

5. It was a dark and stormy night. In her attic bedroom Margaret Murray, wrapped in an old patchwork quilt, sat on the foot of her bed and watched the trees tossing the wind.

6. Because I am really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really sorry.

7. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were looking for a place to live.

8. The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world.

9. This is the hand, that has touched the hand, that has touched the hand, that shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln.

10. In an old house in Paris, that was covered with fines, there lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.

Can you think of lines that I can add to my list?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


I think we need a laugh today, and wanted to write about boobs. When Oprah interviewed Maya Angelou on her 70+ birthday, she said, "Regarding body changes, there were many occuring every my breasts. They seem to be in a race to see which will reach my waist first."

My friend, Anell Crew sent this: "I am getting into swing dancing. Not on purpose--some parts of my body are prone to swinging. The good news is that even as we get older, guys still look at our boobs. The bad news is they have to squat down first."

It continues: "Don't let aging get you is too hard to get back up."
Remember: You don't stop laughing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop laughing.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Another comment about driving in Nashville--it is so much fun for me to see the beautiful trees (yes, even in their winter drab), the "mountains" clad in fog, and the twinkling city lights from one vantage point on Pettus Road.

Although there is no leisure in driving here because of the ditches and the curves, I enjoy seeing old mansions--I have never seen so many houses with columns!, the rock fences lining the road (some say they were built by slaves; others write that Irish immigrants built them),and the exquisite mansions on Concord Road (Who lives in a house with four stories?). There is one house on Concord Road which looks like it was lifted out of the English countryside and brought here piece by piece--a true English manor. Then there is the house on Granny White Pike which has several add-ons, one resembling a castle tower and right below the tower is what must have been the old kitchen for the plantation--a separate little rock structure ( or it could be the pump house for the water well?). At any rate, my archetectural interests are whetted every day.

Man's creativity in building a habitation knows no bounds here---just like the habitation God has built for us is indescribable.

P. S. Thanks, "tine" for your comments--I will try to drop in a list of favorite books here and there--certainly one of my favorite things to do. By the way, you are one of the best actresses I ever saw at ACU (and I saw a bunch!).

Monday, February 07, 2005


I am gradually making my way around Nashville, learning which streets to avoid at 5:00 and all the time. Nashville has streets which change their name several times and that makes the Nashville novice nervous. I am also finding it more difficult to drive at night because many of the streets do not have shoulders--even in residential areas, and I am afraid of slipping off into the deep cavern on the side of the road. I have read that one of the traits of elderly drivers is that he/she hugs the yellow line--I guess I have just joined that class. Only Brandon knows how much of a big deal it is for me to even attempt driving in such a big city.

In the words of a prayer in the New Zealand Prayer Book: The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities--and that I do. Thank you Lord.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Great cloud of witnesses

Tim talked this morning about the great cloud of witnesses from Heb. 11, except he talked about those we don't often think of from the conversions of Paul on to the 1700's. When do we ever hear about those? Where was the church in all those years--during the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, the Napoleonic period, the age of exploration?
Who were those people? He didn't give names, but he did strike a chord in my mind as he spoke of the faithfulness of God's people even after Paul and Peter and John died. It is like a dark abyss formed after the apostles died and that great hole was suddenly filled up by Alexander Campbell, Barton W. Stone and David Lipscomb in the early 1800's. I confess to being ignorant of church history--oh, yes, the Martin Luther film helped some, but really--how long have we thought that church history began with the Restoration Movement?

And we seldom talked about that Restoration history (except to praise Campbell) as I was growing up--thanks to Doug Foster, Richard Hughes, Leonard Allen and others, we are now aware of our Restoration Heritage in all its warts and glory. And of course as we talk about that church history, we seldom mention
Selina Holman whose questions and letters often frustrated David Lipscomb, Clara Hale Babcock and Sadie McCoy Crank who were ordained as official preachers in the Stone-Campbell movement in 1888 and 1892. But then, we seldom speak of Phoebe and Priscilla either.

I guess what I want to testify to is that the great cloud of witnesses also included many women whom our children and grandchildren need to hear about. End of sermon.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Beloved daughters of God

Wednesday night I was privileged to serve communion at the emergent service, and as a blessing I said to the women communicants, "You are a beloved daughter of God, adopted by Him through Jesus Christ." How often do you hear the words "daughters of God" from the pulpit?

In this morning's paper (I am loving the Tennessean!) announcement was made of Zondervan's release of Today's New International Version. It aims at being more gender neutral, providing clarity and more precise word meanings. The same group of scholars that worked on the NIV developed the new translation. While being savaged by the Southern Baptists and other evangelical groups, Zondervan said that all gender-related changes are intended to update only the masculine terminology that--"in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek languages of the Bible"--were intended generically.

I am looking forward to buying a copy soon.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Out with the old

Though every fiber of my being said no, I threw out 40 years of cards, clippings, conference programs, old newspapers this morning--contents of a box I had been working around in my unpacking.

I did find some treasures--valentine's cards from Brandon he made in elementary school, my invitation to join a social club in ACU, congratulations on our 25th wedding anninversary and on and on.

I hope I don't regret this action, but right now I am feeling lighter--on to the next box.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

All the stories in the world

I think Maddie is going to be a librarian--Tuesday we were trying to get her to tell us the story of The Three Bears (which she can do) and she said, "I can't, but the book is upstairs; I will go get it." Just like the librarian would say.

Last week Kim and I took the girls to the wonderful public library here to see a puppet show about Anansi the Spider. In this story, Anansi is tired of being a trickster and wants to be a storyteller. He asks the Lion King for "all the stories in the world."

This morning I walked into my very favorite bookstore Davis-Kidd and felt like Anansi--I wanted all the stories in the world too. This store really knows how to merchandise--and the personnel (is that plural or singular?) know books. Anything bookish you would desire (Even a Harry Potter neck scarf) wonderful games, puzzles, book ends, etc. can be found there. From now on, I am requesting Davis Kidd gift cards for all birthdays and holidays.

"In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but how many can get through to you." Mortimer J. Adler

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


My mother collected buttons. Or more accurately, she SAVED buttons. There was no room in our lean budget for collecting. Mother was a seamstress/tailor. I don't think she ever threw away a garment without cutting the buttons off.

I now have her button jar. I like to look at it often to remind me of her and her skill and desire to save small bits of money--after all, buttons could be used over and over until the eyes broke. I see buttons from dresses I wore when I was 6-10 years old and skinny with a high forehead. I try to remember age 7. I try to remember skinny. It is fun to picture those times.

Have you ever thought how much the button is a part of our language? "Button your lip," "button up your overcoat," "right on the button, "bursting your buttons,"
"buttonholing" a person, "you've lost your buttons."

The earliest known buttons date from 2000 B. C. They really came into their own in those medieval dresses with buttons up and down the sleeves.

The Amish consider buttons too ornamental and fasten with hooks and eyes. According to some button historians, Napolean is responsible for instituting metal buttons on military coat sleeves. He hoped to break his soldiers of wiping their noses on their sleeves.

I don't have any really valuable buttons--some people have been know to pay thousands for just the right button. I just enjoy looking at them and wondering what garment they came from. Perhaps some stories could come from that.

So, button up your overcoat--it's cold out there.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


I finally got to see Looking for Neverland, the Acadamy Award nominated film about J. M. Barrie the creator of Peter Pan. I loved it--an old-fashioned, beautifully filmed movie without one bad word. Of course, the literary aspects of the film fascinated me. I knew nothing about Barrie before I saw it, but research shows that the film is fairly accurate.

There are legions of readers who are grateful for Barrie, R. L. Stevenson, A. A. Milne, Frank Baum, E. B. White, J. K. Rowling and others for creating those magical worlds where we could play, fly, be pirates, walk through walls, follow the yellow brick road, meet a heffalump, and talk to spiders all from the safety of our personal reading spot.

I highly recommend the film.