Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What I am Reading Now

This is my 1,000 post--it is only natural that it be about books.

"Any woman/man with a moderate income can afford to buy more books than he/she can read in a lifetime." Henry Holt

I am proving the truth of this quotation--my shelves are full of books that either I haven't read or that I have read part of, or that I intended to read the week I bought them. So why do I continue to buy more books? Ask a sage somewhere...

There is a surge of interest in the Kindle machine that Amazon sells on which one can read many books published for $9.99. Then what? One has to crank up the machine again when searching weeks later for that wonderful quote? Pay $9.99 again? Hold a cold machine in bed while one is reading the latest mystery? Not I--the heft and smell and feel of a book is important for this reader. I don't want to read the words on a screen--I want to place a bookmark between the pages to come back to tomorrow. I want to underline the passages I want to remember. I want to loan the book to a friend who will benefit from its information.
No Kindle for me, thanks.

I just finished reading John Grisham's latest The Associate. It was a page-turner reminiscent of The Firm. I think Grisham has set up his readers for a sequel to this one. I am now reading
Marylynn Robinson's Home. It is much better than Gilead, I think. She writes long sentences and without chapter stops--a packed story. Every paragraph has an ache in it. I am looking forward to hearing her speak at the Christian Scholar's Conference at Lipscomb.

Happy Reading, dear readers!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I caught a glimpse of the back of my hands today and remembered my grandmother--Granny Tucker.

I remember sitting in her lap holding her hand, tracing the very noticeable veins, rubbing the age marks and freckles and pinching the loose, parchment-like skin. And now my hands look like hers! Life is amazing!

I am so glad my hands have been spared the hard work hers did while she was young--working much like a slave in her household of a sick mother, a father whose life was spent in the fields, and her 13 siblings, ten of whom were brothers. She got up early, cooked breakfast so all could get to the field at dawn, then cleaned, washed, ironed and cooked lunch--which she took out to those in the field. When there, she had to stay and work like the others pulling cotton, chopping weeds, etc. She was dismissed early to cook supper after which she fell into bed exhausted. It obviously never occurred to her wealthy father to hire any "house help"--After all, Lizzie was there.

But it made her tough and independent and gave her strength when her rogue husband left her alone with three children in the middle of the depression. And I am better for having known of her struggles and her endurance.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hard Times

"In the desert, the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, 'If only we had died by the Lord's hand in Egypt. There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.'" Exodus 16:2-3 Hard times indeed!

Picture Scarlet O'Hara standing in the dead garden at Tara and screaming, "I will never go hungry again!" Hard times.

Or see Charles Dickens as a young lad trudging through the London streets to "Warren's blacking warehouse, back to the rats, the rotting wood and the black paste." (DICKENS by Peter Ackroyd). These hard times Dickens made into several novels.

Or look at Ma and Pa Ingalls staring out the broken window as hail destroys the best crop they ever had. Hard times.

Anybody out there experiencing hard times?

'Tis said that hard times always bring us back to basics. I remember doing without sugar in WWII because coupons were scarce. (I still drink all my liquids without sugar--yes, even iced tea).

I got to thinking this morning about what I would NOT want to give up in hard times now. What ordinary element that I have grown used to would I miss the most?

Besides the obvious food, water, toilet paper,etc--I think the item I would miss the most would be paper towels. Oh I know that is not thinking green--but I would hate cleaning up messes with cloth rags and then having to wash them, dry and fold them, and put them away.

The ubiquitous roll of paper towel is always ready to help, always absorbent and easily disposed of. So today--Hooray for Viva and Bounty, my old rough and ready friends.

Apologies to the Israelites, Scarlet, the Ingalls and Dickens who truly experienced hard times and Thank You to God for providing all my current needs.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Maddie Reads!

When I entered her home last night, Maddie immediately brought me some of the books she is reading: Junie B. Jones and The Little House Series (Easy Reader series). Sheryl says that she goes to sleep with books on her bed every night, and she had been found reading under the covers after lights out. It is such joy to see reading take hold in children. I think that is why first grade teachers love their jobs so much! As has been often said, it seems that a light goes on somewhere and it all comes together in the brain.

Ella is following close behind--she read the Very Hungry Caterpillar to me last night and said that she loved all the books of Eric Carle.

But of course, all this might not have happened had Sheryl and Brandon been "too busy" to read aloud to them virtually every night from birth. Such a good beginning!

May they enjoy reading all their lives and find in it the joy and comfort and learning I find.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Prowling Through History

The Later Day Saints at Otter spent Saturday prowling around some of the points touching history of the Church of Christ. Someone has said, "If you don't know your history, you are like a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree." I have enjoyed learning more about the background of the church I grew up in for the last few years.

We went to Adairville, Ky, Russellville, Ky, and a Shaker Village just out side of Russellville.
We first saw the Red River Meeting House where The Second Great Awakening began. (The first Great Awakening occurred in New England under preachers like Jonathan Edwards). As people moved west, religion took second place to survival. The Second Aw. had as its goal to AWAKEN religion on the Western frontier. And it began in Logan County , Ky led by a Presbyterian preacher named James McGready. It was very charismatic, drew thousands of people and was also the beginning of the Cumberland Presbyterian movement; the Christian Church and Disciples of Christ also trace back to that event.

As far as the Church of Christ's involvement, it seems that Barton W. Stone (one of the founders of the Stone-Campbell movement which really began the stream of the Church of Christ) knew James McGready and came down to Logan County to see what all the fuss was about. He took what he saw and heard back to Cane Ridge, Ky where other camp meetings broke out and thus the first Churches of Christ on the Western Frontier were born. The Cane Ridge meeting was more a "communion festival"--where huge tables were set up and people sat around them for a day of communion and fellowship. At any rate, the Holy Spirit showed up and more and more people gathered--some estimate as many as 20,000 came to Cane Ridge. Preaching tents were set up all over the camp grounds at Red River and Cane Ridge and preachers of all kinds came to orate. Some estimate that as many as 2,500 of the communicants at Cane Ridge were Presbyterians. Among those coming were Shakers from the New England states who had heard about the events and came seeking converts.

The Red River Meeting Place is a simple log cabin -- quite unlike Cane Ridge which has been improved by the Disciples tremendously. Surrounding Red River is an extremely old cemetery burying soldiers from the Civil War, the Spanish American War, and even the Battle of Waterloo. Most there are Scotch-Irish charter members of the church founded after the event at Red River. So there Presbyterians, Shakers, Church of Christ, Disciples, etc. all sprang out of the huge event in a remote county of Kentucky. By the way, Lyndon B. Johnson's mother was a native of Logan County and rocks from his grandmother's farm graced the fireplace in one of the reincarnations of the original log cabin. So interesting!!!

Russellville is an old town full of beautiful old homes and history, as well. It was there that group of southern sympathizers decided to go against the state government and secede. Kentucky never pulled out of the union. Just the little band formed at Russellville which set its seat of government eventually at Bowling Green withdrew. It is also the place where the Jesse James Gang pulled off their first bank robbery.

Then out to the Shaker Village Museum at South Union. It was smaller and more compact than another Village in Pleasant Hill which I visited several years ago. Full of artifacts and good pictures, the museum was quite good--the book store and gift shop was larger than Pleasant Hill as well. They do not offer meals or overnight lodging as does Pleasant Hill, but there is a bed and breakfast, Shaker Tavern, nearby. Our guide was excellent. This particular Shaker community died in 1922. Pleasant Hill was closed in 1910.

On the grounds of the Shaker Village is a 9 million dollar Catholic chapel. Quite a startling contrast to the simple Shaker dwellings. The farmer who bought the land when the Village died sold off part of it to Benedictines to be used as a monastery. In early 2000, the spot became the church home of the Fathers of Mercy ministry of the Catholic Church. Their Chapel of Divine Mercy was dedicated in 2008. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen--all red, white and gold inside with the typical arrangement and statues. The Fathers of Mercy are priests trained to be traveling evangelists all over the world. One we met was leaving for Australia today. There are only 42 of them in a setting designed to house at least 100.

It was beautiful day full of interesting places and good fellowship. Gerry Masterson was our tour guide--one of the best!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No Matter What!

I attended worship Sunday unfortunately at a lifeless community church (not Otter, nor Fellowship). I heard a better sermon from Ella at the lunch table. She was musing on why God loves us and said, "He Loves Us No Matter What-- Period!

Her emphatic words speak to the mysteries of Easter--why would God put his own son to death and why would Jesus agree to die?

I don't expect to fully figure that out until heaven, but I am content with God Loves Us No Matter What Period!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Glory Falls

Today is Good Friday, and I wanted to post this first part of a poem by Maya Angelou entitled
"Glory Falls":

Glory falls around us
as we sob
a dirge of
desolation on the Cross.....

This is the day we like to skip in Passion Week--the day of sadness and horror and pain. We shrink from the sound of the hammer, we close our eyes at the dripping blood covering the hem of Mary's garment, we cover our ears at the moans and even the "sayings"-- yet, glory is shining around the cross as Jesus finishes well obeying his Father and dying for our forgiveness. Shall we stop and sob?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Favorite movies

I have probably written about this be it. When Josh Graves used a clip from Mr. Holland's Opus in his sermon last Sunday (and made all us teachers cry) I was reminded of some of my favorite movies--Mr. Holland's Opus is definitely on the list.

Others include: Gone With the Wind, Dr. Zhivago, Out of Africa, 84 Charing Cross Road, Little Women, Evita, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chariots of Fire, The Way We Were, and Holiday Inn.

A psychologist might be able to look at that list and deduce something about me--romantic, loves books and musicals, oh, yes.

Josh made the comment that more people are being molded by film today than by religion.
That's a scary thought when one considers the current offerings: Wolverine, Twilight, Hannah Montana, The Haunting in Connecticut, and The Fast and The Furious--Yuck.