Monday, January 25, 2010

Mr. Chesterton, I presume?

I came upon another treat at a book sale last fall of which I had never heard. Eyes widening, glancing furtively from side to side, I scooped it up and snuggled it to my bosom with a quick intake of breath and chortle of glee. (Not that there were any other browsers in the vicinity, but you never know who may be lurking under the table at your very feet. I speak from experience!) It was not an original edition, nor was it a hardback, nor elderly, nor attractive, but its unassuming looks and poor quality were totally redeemed by the name on the cover.

Mr. Chesterton, I presume?

We own only a very small portion of his extensive collection of works: The Man Who Was Called Thursday, Orthodoxy, Charles Dickens, and a few others. (I'm too lazy to go and search the shelves; after all, we own at least two dozen and they are scattered all over the house.) Most readers are probably familiar with G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown mysteries, a set of which I am sadly lacking in my own home library. He was a genius, and one of the greatest writers of all time, in my opinion. Learn more about Gilbert Keith Chesterton here.

Back to the book.....the only remark I am going to make about it is this:

Sherlock Holmes meets Monty Python.

Now if your curiosity is peaked, consult your library, borrow it from a friend, or buy it online from Amazon, Albris, or Abebooks. It's another quick read, and you will enjoy it immensely.

Satisfaction guaranteed.

I leave you with this quote by Mr. Chesterton:
"A room without books is like a body without a soul."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

First Time Read

I'd seen this book on countless lists of recommended books, but had never gotten around to reading it. Last year I glimpsed a copy at a library sale and picked up it for half a dollar. It has been languishing on a shelf in my living room between Eudora Welty and Willa Cather until two nights ago when I wanted a cozy bedtime read to snuggle with under the covers.

I was envisioning a slightly romantic long-distance correspondence story. I did not expect to snicker throughout the story at Helene Hanff's biting witticisms, nor was I prepared for the poignant ending that left me on the verge of tears.

It was a quick read, taking me only two short evenings, and I closed the covers with a pang and a sigh, wishing that it could have gone on and on. Please do something nice for yourself today. Brew a strong cup of English tea, lay out a platter of shortbread, and read 84 Charing Cross Road. You will be glad you did.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Key to Peace

One of the ways that God has ministered to me is through the power of His Word. Jesus said, " I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33
I drink deeply from the well of His word daily.

In the midst of tribulation, Christ is the key to my peace. It is only through His power that I can receive it. Whether He calms the storm itself, or calms me within the storm, I can rest assured that He will be with me, and that there is no need to endure it on my own.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Prisoner Yet Free

A little bird I am,

Shut from the fields of air,

And in my cage I sit and sing

To Him who placed me there,

Well pleased a prisoner to be,

Because, my God, it pleases Thee.

My cage confines me round:

Abroad I cannot fly;

But, though my wing is closely bound,

My heart's at liberty.

My prison-walls cannot control

The flight, the freedom, of my soul!

~ Madame Guyon

Though the Lord has seen fit to afflict my body, in His good pleasure, my physical restrictions have not imposed similar disabilities upon my spirit.

In an upcoming post I will share how I am still able
to be a servant during this time of bodily imprisonment,
and how the Lord has ministered to me.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pretty as a picture

Anna Rose - Christmas 2009

Monday, January 04, 2010

Another Winter Picture-Book

We snatch up any Mousekin books we can find at
library sales and second-hand shops.
They are all delightful, and this one is an especially cozy read:

Poor Mousekin's winter nest is blown out of the tree.
What's a poor mouse to do without a home in the cold, snowy winter?

Being a resourceful little mouse, he sets out to find a new one.

All the other woodland creatures seem to be safely tucked away,
but is there room for Mousekin to share?

We are beginning to worry about our little friend as he
encounters problems in his search for a winter hiding place.
You never know when you might run into a hungry predator!

Just when we think all is lost, the perfect solution appears.
But I don't want to give away the ending.....
you'll have to read it yourself!
What are your favorite wintertime picture books?

Friday, January 01, 2010

Unknown Waters

(Arthur Elsley)

I've been contemplating the days that lie ahead in the coming year with a sense of anticipation and full assurance that whatever may transpire, not only does the Lord Almighty walk beside me, he has ordained all that will pass. Whether joy or sorrow, pleasure or penance, it has been decreed by the one who loves me best and whose word promises that it is for my good. What a sweet cushion of comfort upon which I may lay my head and rest.

(William Bouguereau )

O Lord,

Length of days does not profit me

except the days are passed in thy presence,

in thy service, to thy glory,

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,

sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,

that I may not be one moment apart from thee,

but may rely on thy Spirit

to supply every thought,

speak in every word,

direct every step,

prosper every work,

build up every mote of faith,

and give me a desire

to show forth thy praise;

testify thy love,

advance thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters

of this year,

with thee, O Father, as my harbour,

thee, O Son, at my helm,

thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,

my lamp burning,

my ear open to thy calls,

my heart full of love,

my soul free.

Give me thy grace to sanctify me,

thy comforts to cheer,

thy wisdom to teach,

thy right hand to guide,

thy counsel to instruct,

thy law to judge,

thy presence to stabilize.

May thy fear be my awe,

thy triumphs my joy.
(from The Valley of Vision)

May we welcome all that God has planned for us this new year, being anxious for nothing, and forgetting not his benefits, most especially the Gift whose birth we have just spent a season celebrating. In that one Gift, we truly have all.

(Honthorst - Adoration of the Shepherds)