Wednesday, March 30, 2016

suffering and comfort

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort."
~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

We know we have the 'golden chain of redemption' as we call it in Romans 8; here in 2 Corinthians, if you will allow, it appears to be the 'silver chain of suffering'. The order appears to be that if you belong to Christ, you share in His sufferings, but you also share in His comforts. And by sharing in both His sufferings and comforts, you are able to share in the sufferings and comforts of others and they in turn, share in the sufferings and comforts of those around them and so on and so forth. In the kingdom of Christ, no suffering and comfort is an island, to mangle a phrase.

We suffer for the sake of Christ so that we may also be comforted for the sake of Christ and His body. As Christians, to know suffering is to know Christ and to be given the Father's comfort is a gift that is intended to allow us to be a comfort to those around us.
It's a gift that no one asks for, but everyone needs. To be able to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. To smile through the tears, to know that a broken heart is a heart that can be shared. My heart breaks for you is what we say when we feel pain for the suffering of another.
And while comfort that is good, true and beautiful comes in many forms, it all comes from the same Father who knows what suffering is and is the source of all true comfort.

I'm not saying this very well, but take comfort that our suffering, whether it is known or unknown by anyone else, it is known to God our Father and is given so we can be comforted by Him and in turn, that we might be able to give comfort to those suffering around us.

And in the words of Paul, throughout his epistles, I echo, that in my prayers, I remember you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

February Book List

Picture Books

Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
A couple of years ago, I found her winter book and was delighted. This is a seasonal sequel and contains the same attention to nature detail as her other books, although without the strong environmental themes found in her other titles like Marty McGuire. Digging in the dirt for any reason is not something most children resist, understanding how the dirt, the plants and the humans interact together is something everyone should experience.

Chapter Books

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
Bonnie over at Being Transformed, a wonderful place to find refreshment of all varieties, recommended this young adult novel, although when I requested it from the library, I didn't realize it was for youth. I read it in one evening and was moved by the profoundness of such a full story told in simple sentences, rich with ideas. It is deals with more mature subject matter so I would not hand this over to elementary age children, but certain preteen and older can appreciate the story's themes.

Classics and Other Such Books

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
I feel like I should have something insightful to say about this well known book-turned-movie, but like other post-modern novels, it leaves me thinking, so what does the author want to the take-away to be?
I think I did watch the Audrey Hepburn movie once, but since I can't remember anything about it, I assume the movie did not give me any help when I finally read the book. According to the reviews on Goodreads, I assume it is just as well, the movie didn't really capture the book. Also on the Goodreads reviews, men often rated the book and it's main character Holly Golightly very differently than the women reviewers. I don't have statistical numbers, I just was refreshingly surprised that so many guys did not care for her character. The narrator of the story is nameless and bland, forgettable as Capote likely intended, for Holly is the character on which the story turns. This one goes in the well, at least I read it pile.

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
So I have three other Buchan books, but I was waiting to find this title before I read any of them. I will be honest, I kind of thought it would be better than it was. I've heard George Grant talk about the contributions Buchan (and Arthur Quiller-Couch) made to literature (which I highly recommend) so I was expecting to be thrilled by the story and writing. Sad to say, I wasn't and I made myself finish it because it was a very short novel and because I thought I should give it all the way to the end. There really is no character growth or reason for character admiration in the story, it just reads like an episode of 24 if it was made into a book series. I hate to say this but by the time I was more than half-way through I was thinking of how it reminded me of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code (no, I'm not linking to itwhich I read back when everyone else was reading it.  Lots of action, then lots more action, a bit of dialogue, both external and internal, then lots more action. Oh well, you can't win them all. Perhaps if I read the other two in the series, I will have a change of heart. I don't like to let other readers and recommenders down.

Monday, March 21, 2016

two weeks ago

After weeks of rarely using my camera, rarely stepping outside just because and focusing on lesson work and book reading, the last few weeks have been a welcome change of activity. My parents and my uncle came up for most of a week to celebrate my birthday and I took advantage of their time with my kids to visit with some church friends and welcome a new little baby girl into our lives while being treated out for a birthday lunch. 
And then the melting started and lengthening days made a noticeable difference. And then it just felt wrong not to be taking walks, noticing the changes coming with the impending spring season. And now that spring is here, no matter what snow and ice storms come this week, the trickle of song that echoes in the soul is for, lo, the winter is past as Mitford echoed Song of Solomon.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

seed talk

It's March which means seed planning for me. My seed order from Terra Edibles here in Ontario came in this week. I'm trying a new kind of lettuce, 'Grandpa's Leaf'.
'Bronze Arrowhead' lettuce is my all time favorite, I have planted it every year for the last five or more years.
I'm also trying out a radish this year. They don't take up much space, so I thought I would see how they do. I always plant yellow beans and climbing peas, this year's are marked for 6ft and edible pods which I should have always used. I also let my cucumbers climb the fence to save on space, also it helps to attract pollinators which I gladly roll out the red-carpet for.
I also plan to try the rainbow carrots again this year. They taste the same, but add an element of surprise when you are harvesting. It's a good kind of gardening surprise, not the kind that makes you want to howl with frustration.