Having never chosen a #OneWord365, I was surprised when Standing chose me! What a delight to be reminded of God’s wide open door, and of the truth that an ongoing relationship with God is more than enough reason to rejoice!
By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise. ~Romans 5:1,2 MSG
Here at Home
It has occurred to me that I’ve never shared much in these recap posts about what’s going on around the dining room table here on this country hill in Maine. With two high school boys still homeschooling, we get up from the breakfast table five days a week and dive into all kinds of learning. My senior and I are squinching up our faces with the effort of unraveling all the formulas needed for two-dimensional vectors, and my freshman and I have regular arguments about the relevance of all the grammar lessons I
inflict assign. Having said that, I’m thankful for those hours around the table, and very aware that next year I’ll be down to only one student!
That youngest son and I share an obsession with recorded books, and right now, we’re listening our way through anything we can find by Gary Schmidt, a two-time Newbery Honor-winning author whose delightful protagonists seem to hover around the age of fourteen and who “think out loud” in ways that make Gary’s writing both entertaining and instructive — especially for those who are interested in the business of living amidst all the tangled angst of those early teen years. I can recommend Trouble, O.K. for Now, First Boy, and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. We’re hoping to listen to more soon!
On the Nightstand
Choosing my first “before I go to sleep” book of 2017 was, of course, nearly a ceremonial affair in which I looked at everything that I have by Madeleine L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, and a few others and then tried to decide. Since I’m still finishing up Luci Shaw’s Breath for the Bones (thoughts on creativity and faith), I went with Be Still My Soul for a blast of Elisabeth Elliot’s no nonsense commentary on various Scriptures.
On the Blog
I’m finally past the white knuckle stage of leading a book discussion group focusing on Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis. We’ve “met” four times so far, and the comments have been as diverse as the participants:
“Well, I had to sit down and read the book cover to cover (couldn’t put it down!) first. Now as I am reading it again I see things I didn’t see the first time.”
“I am not a great fan of mythology but I did love the Narnia stories and their powerful analogies so I am hanging in here to try to understand how such a ghastly fearful character as Ungit can have about her the smell of holiness! I’ll admit to being repelled and very unsure where this analogy is heading”
“Even though I feel that I may be “out of my element” by joining in with an Online Book Discussion Group while being such a Newbie to this world of Blogging, my Stilling Heart is longing to hear the poetic sharing about such a great storyteller as C.S. Lewis.”
The most widely read post for January was my review of Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren. The folks over at The Englewood Review of Books were kind enough to share my review on their site, and I heartily recommend their weekly publication which presents and analyzes books that “point toward a new world that is characterized by the justice and shalom of God.”
Just for Joy
Having made peace with the demise of the cassette tape, I am thrilled to have discovered podcasts in the past few months. You may already have an overwhelming list of regular “shows” that you listen to, but just in case you’re interested in hearing about some new ones that challenge your thinking, here are my five favorites:
- All the CT Podcasts: I always look forward to Quick to Listen, Theology for Life, and The Calling for their interesting interviews and sharp thinking and reporting on issues that affect the church.
- Listening In is an interview podcast produced by World News Group. They interviewed author Les Sillars about his book Intended for Evil at the exact time in which I was in the process of reading and reviewing it! What great insight that provided! They have also introduced me to a new (to me) musician: Chad Lawson‘s piano work is a glorious melding of jazz/classical that is perfect — just perfect.
- Nancy Guthrie hosts Help Me Teach the Bible, and she and her guests have fascinating and helpful discussions about faithfully presenting Truth in a teaching ministry. This month, I reviewed her book, What Grieving People Wish You Knew, and her story gives weight and depth to her astute grasp of theological truth.
- I think I’m all caught up on the programs of The Road Back to You. Authors Suzanne Stabile and Ian Morgan Cron talk about life through the lens of the Enneagram by talking to people who represent various types on the Enneagram. I started listening to the podcast as preparation for my review of their book, but I keep listening because it’s so fascinating!
- Living a Redeemed Life by Holly S. Barrett is another of my favorites because Holly interviews writers, bloggers, and friends, chatting in a casual way about their lives and where they see redemption at work in their every day living. She invited me to chat with her back in December, and after I got over my initial horror at the thought of branching into another post-cassette tape medium, it was a wonderful experience. The visit is scheduled to air on Friday, February 3.
Thank you, friends, for your warm encouragement during these cold January days. The wind is howling outside my window right now, but the sun is pouring through the windows, and I’m thankful for the gift of a wood stove and a well-stocked wood pile, hot tea in my favorite mug, and the love of family and friends.
As usual, I’m sharing this post with the What I’m In To community over at Leigh Kramer’s place. Be sure to swing by for great recommendations of books, podcasts, and, well . . . see for yourself!
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