29 January 2015

About Travelling

I woke up this morning with this song in my head, with all these harmonies singing about travelling. 
So-  how you feel about travelling?

No matter what I am travelling for (business of pleasure) I try to seek opportunities to look afresh at the daily norms of people and places with open eyes of wonder and curiosity.  To travel is to place oneself outside of the comfortable box we have and into a world of unknowns, even if it is travels to a place already known.

You never know what kind people you might meet. Or interesting scenes you might see. Or just people-watching at the airport, or at a park. Or what about new sights of a place you may have been to before.

To me, it is an adventure. It doesn't have to be crazy, but simply taking the trip is the adventure. The journey is part of that adventure. When I travel, my imagination expands as the always-going-never-stopping-world offers endless possibilities. That means there are observations to be had around every corner. Then, surely thoughts and musings will follow. Sometimes I will watch someone and think about how much God loves them, and I wonder if that person knows it.

God is present everywhere. At the airport, on the train, at the baggage claim, and at the car rental counter. I like to look for signs, or fingerprints, of God's presence in these normally mundane places. Pass-through spots can hold a lot of moments of beauty. Oftentimes, in our daily lives so full of routine, we miss seeing God's fingerprints on something small or simple. Travelling helps reopen my eyes to these things.

With that said- see you soon St. Louis!

28 January 2015

Pink Doughnut

(In lieu of a photo of a pink doughnut, I have a photo of a pink plant. Not the same thing, I know. I get it.)

I had a dream about a doughnut last night. More specifically, a chocolate cake doughnut with pink frosting. I gave it to a little girl (was it my niece Elliott? I do not know) and it was such a delicious treat I could almost taste it, but I didn't because the little girl ate it. And there weren't any doughnuts left. So, I didn't get one.

Sad story. The loss of a colourful, tasty doughnut. It is interesting because I would not normally want a pink frosted doughnut. When it comes to food, I am all about the simple things. When it comes to colours, I am an earth-toned girl. The bright colours do not fit me as well, even in doughnut form.  I wouldn't select something pink to eat. Those who know me well would say I am probably "mustard yellow".  Pink is not my colour, but can I appreciate pink? That made me think of a passage I had just read from The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge.

After all, though pink was not her favourite colour it was a colour, and, as Sir Benjamin had said, all colour is of the sun, and good. And pink is the colour of dawn and sunset, the link between day and night. Sun and moon alike ought both to love pink because when one is rising and the other setting they so often greet each other across an expanse of rosy sky.

I am changed. Perhaps now I may appreciate other colours much more deeply, especially pink.

27 January 2015

Three Sorts of People

Humanity can be roughly divided into three sorts of people - those who find comfort in literature, those who find comfort in personal adornment, and those who find comfort in food.
- Elizabeth Goudge

I think I fall into all three categories. However, the literature one is where my heart is. I can deal without the others, but without literature? No. I cannot.

I just finished reading the most delightful book, The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge (my mum got it for my birthday!), which is a young adult story, or you could call it a fairy tale. I would place it in the same charming realm of C.S. Lewis' Narnia books and Madeleine L'Engle's young adult books.

I am just getting to know Elizabeth Goudge. She wrote mostly in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. She lived in England and her writings possess the most detailed loveliness of my favourite place. She encapsulates the beauty and depth of England, and in this book, the details of the landscapes, buildings, outfits, and characters was so rich. For the imaginative reader like myself, this book is a dream in book form.

The trees did not grow too close together. Between them opened the glades that last night had been silver and now were clothed in the tawny grass of very early spring. Soon, Maria guessed, the grass would be green and full of primroses. The gorse was already in flower, glorious clumps of gold that shone almost as triumphantly as the flowers in the formal garden.

Maria is an orphan who finds herself moving from London to the country to live with her uncle at Moonacre Manor, which was more like a little castle. Sir Benjamin wears the most vibrant, bright coloured clothes, and always wears his best vests and classy outfits. She learns that she is the heiress of the land and the surrounding village, but there is a sad story regarding her heritage that she means to reverse. With her goodness and kindness she sets out to know the village and the people, learn her story, and figure out how she can change it.

The names on the map, quite ordinary names through they were, sounded in her head like the notes of some beloved familiar piece of music.

It is the kind of story I cannot put down. An air of mystery, a little adventure, and good characters who are important to various aspects of her life. And the unraveling of it all to the reader. And of course, the English countryside, to me, is the loveliest place on earth, so I will be dreaming about the rolling hills and flowers blooming for quite awhile.

26 January 2015

Tulips and a London Guidebook

Rainy morning, wind-swept dew
A day to start off slow
With grass dark, rain-soaked through
A cup of tea is ready now

I woke up to the sounds of rain drops and some wind. Morning rose, but a greyness still covered the land in the quickness of a cold front, the wind-swept clouds burst with their rains, passed through, and departed. The wind gusted extravagantly, then suddenly the air was still. The cold air that is behind the clouds pushes them southwards, eager to fill the air and stretch out along our lakes and land. And the sun came, and is shining brightly. I am thrilled by this cold and excited that it will stick around for the week, and beyond. Though, to most others, this cold weather I speak of would seem like a warm welcomed change from their frigid air. 

It feels like the weekend just began and now we are already beginning the next week. Where did this weekend time go? Where did last week go? Do you feel like that, too?
If you had a day with nothing on your list, no chores, no emails to reply to, no places to go, what would be the number one thing you would do?

I found this little London guidebook, first published in 1967, at the library, and spent the morning reading the old-fashioned ways of travel to and around one of my favourite cities. I made a pot of Yorkshire tea and drank it as I read. In case you were wondering, in Yorkshire (a large county in Northeast England) they make the very best tea. I know, because the best tea I ever had was in York, a darling town in that region. I discovered that my grocery store carries said Yorkshire tea, and it is far superior than any other black tea. If you'd like to try, just stop by and I will make a pot of tea.

It is tulip-o-clock! And my tulips are bloomed and looking lovely. This is the only time of year I get to have tulips live and in-person, so it is delightful to have these in my home. They are my favourite flower. Since my weekend seemed to disappear, I'll just conclude these rambling musings with the appreciation of the weekend, and sleeping in a little bit, and drinking delicious coffee and tea, and reading a few books.

23 January 2015

Today is a Beauty

I may be hitting the snooze button a few times these mornings, but when I do wake up, I stretch and take a deep breath. Today is a good day. Full of beauty. I like to lay there on my back for a few minutes and say a morning prayer of thanks. Simple thoughts wake up my mind and center my heart on the goodness of the Lord within minutes of opening my eyes.

What do you do when you wake up? How do you begin your day?

I know that this day has so much potential.
Yesterday is over. A new day dawns. Old things of the past can be forgotten and forgiven.

As I plug in my electric kettle and my coffee grinder, I think about how I love the mornings. Especially when I can move slow. Especially when I can smell the coffee. If I hit the snooze button a few times I may not be able to be as slow as I wish, but I still complete these same rituals. I am extremely thankful that my boss does not require me to be there at a certain time on the dot each day. Plus or minus a few minutes isn't a big deal. While the coffee is brewing in the french press, I pick up my Bible and read another chapter.

I try to keep myself from reading more than a chapter. The wispy thin pages need not turn. I don't want to rush through the words so that my eyes glance over and forget them a moment later. I want the words to take root and sink in deep. I meander over the verses with a clear mind in the morning. I pay attention to the words and who is speaking. What is the situation? What are the questions being asked? What does this mean for today? So many dots have been connected in my morning routine of reading Scripture slowly while the world is quiet, and my mind is quiet.

22 January 2015

Use Up Creativity

You can't use up creativity. The more you use it, the more you have.
-Maya Angelou

Every single day. Even when I am tired or not feeling like I am inspired. Most of the best creating is done when you must dig deep for the right word. The very best is worth digging for. It is worth a little bit of creative sweat. But really, there are times where I just want to be lazy, you know? Kick back with the remote control and spend hours watching television. Actually, no. That's not true. I don't watch television. I don't even have cable.

It's about not being lazy. But it is about being purposeful and not letting the creativity stop. It is about always creating. Always thinking. Always practicing. Always learning.

Sometimes all it takes is me sitting down with my journal open, and if I can muster the strength to pick up a pen, something happens and the words come out as I put that pen to the page. Something emerges in ink scribbles after a few minutes, and as I let my eyes read it when the thoughts are translated to the page, sometimes I see potential. Sometimes I turn the page and keep writing. More practice. You can't use up creativity. 

21 January 2015

Birthday Thankfulness

On my birthday, I woke up to a text message from my dear friend, Jen, which had this verse:

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you.

- Isaiah 26.3

These words were in my mind for several hours. It was a perfect way to wake up on my birthday.

Family was in town over the weekend, so I got to spend some time with them going out to breakfast, going to a movie (The Imitation Game!), and opening some presents. I have some new coffee roasted in Gainesville to try, a new mug that is so cool, some lovely tulips that are blooming, a fancy gold spoon for my tea or coffee, a glass bowl shaped like the mad hatter's hat, a couple of new books, several new teas to try, an apple slicer, a darling Cath Kidston tote with gifts inside, and many other special things.

Most of all, spending time with the people in my life who mean the most to me has been warming my heart for several days. On my actual birthday, yesterday, I got to go to lunch with Ryan, and to dinner with Colin & Cayla. 

I am a big celebrator of birthdays, because I think we should celebrate others. Focus on the good. Think about how glad we are for that person in our lives. Show them how we love them by doing kind things. I am so thankful for every note, every card with handwritten thoughts, every text message, every email, every present, every thoughtful thing.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

20 January 2015

Another Year

Another year older today.

Another year to learn and grow.
To absorb as much knowledge as possible. To always be a sponge.
Another year to fill pages of journals exploring thoughts, travels, musings, and life.
To never grow weary of doing what I love but to keep practicing.
Another year to grow closer to those people who are so dear to me.
To cherish all the time spent with them.
Another year to travel.
To take off to new places and old places.
Another year to try new things.
Sometimes it is good to switch it up.
Another year to read lots and lots of books.
That might make me even more bookish.
Another year to take on new challenges.
It is good to stretch myself.
Another year to gain wisdom.
To learn through experiences.
Another year to appreciate all the little things.
There is so much to appreciate every single day.
Another year to do good in all the ways that I can.
Most importantly, to thank God everyday for everyday. Each one is a gift.

No good work is done anywhere without aid from the Father of Lights.
- C.S. Lewis

19 January 2015

Do Not Be Anxious

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
- Philippians 4.6

A few people close to me have lately been full of anxious and worrisome thoughts regarding certain things going on in their lives. As I listen to them and lift up prayers, these thoughts came to mind, so I jotted them down in my journal. It is all something I also need to remember.

God is BIGGER than our biggest, most difficult problems. He can handle anything we throw His way. In fact, He wants us to throw it His way.
Do not be anxious.

The Lord tells us.
Instead, He says, offer up prayers of thanksgiving.

Well, if being anxious isn't helping you feel better about a situation, then you might want to try the opposite of that. To pray prayers full of thankfulness.
For, a lot of times the Lord tells is to do the opposite of what we automatically lean toward:
- Love your neighbor as yourself
- Blessed are the meek
- Turn the other cheek
- Do not judge others

These are all things we probably have to pay great attention to, isn't it? They don't come naturally. I certainly need some help with loving my neighbor, not being judgmental, etc..
So it makes sense that we need to be told to not be anxious. It is obviously an age-old problem that we all have. And God is age-old, in fact without age. He is before time. So, I think God knows how to take care of us and our anxious thoughts, don't you?

I like to believe that our Creator, who is above all things, and who is bigger than any mountain of anxious thoughts we may have piled up. And at the same time, He loves me as an individual, every ounce of my being.

I like to rest each night in the comfort and the arms of the Lord who is gentle and loving, but who can also fight battles for me.
You don't have to carry that weight around.
Set it down, and let go of it.
Then thank God for taking the weight off. He will take care of it.

16 January 2015

Collecting and Sharing Words

Let's talk about words for a minute. If you give me a minute, I might take an hour on this topic. If you tire of my word-speak, I do apologize, but it won't stop.

I have this need of words. This un-containable need to collect words, to write, and to share words. In cases such as these it is impossible to restrict, for the next thing would be an explosion of verbiage. This feeling of being enamored by words and the ebb a flow of how they form form sentences.

A pretty lamp sits on my piano, lit to a soft setting. The warm light casts a vintage glow that cascades to my lace valance hanging just behind it. I don't usually notice that lace valance; it sort of fades to the background of my living room, but when the lamp is on, even a soft light, my eye is drawn to something right in front of me that I barely saw before. I notice how pretty the little lace details are.

Words are light; the warm glow that draws our attention to something we may not notice much. Words bring light to the details we miss. They add description and feeling of something that is being relayed to a reader who is not in that place. In a letter they can say something deeper than what might be said in conversation. There is thought behind the written word. The power of words lie in the ideas they enable. They are powerful, and should be chosen with care and thought.

For some reason, I am drawn to words, to writing, to stories, to books. Like a moth to a light. I am drawn without even thinking about it. I cannot be parted from words even for a short time, or I feel deprived. No matter where I go, I never leave my house without a book and my journal in my bag. And when I read, I often come to sentences that I must underline, and read again. Saying the words in my head, writing them in my journal, and sometimes speaking them out loud to give them space.

I collect them in my head and write them on paper. I am always collecting words. My journals are scattered with new words and their definitions. I gather from sources like reading the dictionary, literature, listening to lectures, talking with other people who use a myriad of verbiage.

The wonderful thing about collecting words is there is always more to collect. Our English language is robust, and have plenty of interesting, seldom used words that may just need to be learned and revived. Watch out! I might just share them with you.

14 January 2015

This Morning

This morning, Lord, I think I just need to be quiet with You. Yesterday was busy, and not quiet, which is okay, but I really need the slow time to ponder, and write out this prayer. I need time to quiet all the internal noise that hinders me.

The grey morning light never escapes Your sight. I never mind a grey day, but now the sun is starting to break through the stony grey and casting a brightness in my kitchen. It becomes a cheerful spot when the sun shines in the morning, since my windows face south and east. So as the sun emerges and my mug of coffee cools, my heart yearns to write to You.

Lord, Your goodness and mercy are never-failing. I can trust in You no matter what, and I don't have to wonder if You will come through. You are the one, steady, mighty rock in this land of shifting sand.

Your thoughts are higher than mine; help me remember that I may not understand Your ways sometimes because they are much above my own. I just need to let go of these thoughts and hang on to You. You are not shifting like the ground that surrounds.
Thank You for being my rock to cling to.

13 January 2015


Yet in the wizard's face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow; though as he looked more intently he received that under all these was a great joy: a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth.
- The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien

This little passage is at the beginning of The Return of the King, and at the verge of a battle that they cannot escape. The darkness increases each hour. The deep clouds grow and cast shadows everywhere. The news gets less and less promising. Aid seems to be too little for the city of Minas Tirith.

Then, this little description of Mithrandir, the wizard Gandalf, who, while preparing to enter into a very dark time of battles, has the inner joy deep within. Pippin, a hobbit feeling quite out of place in a city of men, can see it just by gazing at him for a moment and it cheers his heart.

These lines reminded me of how I want to be. Full of such joy deep within that as a dark cloud hovers closer, though a serious look may be upon me, the inner joy would be apparent if one looked closely. Why? Because even in the darkest hour hope remains. Mithrandir is always one to remind us of that throughout The Lord of the Rings. He is always offering sage advice and counsel with an inkling of hope.

I love how Pippin views Mithrandir as almost able to gush forth with laughter. Shouldn't we all be like that?  We live in a world where evil is able to roam freely, where battles show up on our doorsteps, but we hold onto a hope in Christ that should always keep us on the brink of bursting with joy and laughter. We know the ultimate end will defray all evil. It is not going to endure, but it is going to be crushed.

That is how Mithrandir can stand there calmly, peacefully, quietly, watching the storm grow closer by the minute. While the evil still brews outside the city, just beyond his sight, he knows it is coming and yet he knows more goodness lies within the hearts of many. There is a light on the other side, and it speckles through sometimes. They just have to get through the unknown to get there.

12 January 2015

Coffee Shop Buzz

The coffee shop buzz. The noise of different conversations mixed with the espresso machine and orders being taken. The constant inflow and outflow of patrons. The baristas calling orders out. I order a flat white, which is a new offering at Starbucks. Why not? I really like a flat white, and will give it a try.

A group of young guys just left, and I think they were praying together before they got up to leave. I smile when I see those kinds of things occurring. The morning is chilly and I am actually glad to leave my very chilly home and sit at the coffee shop just a minute down the road. I like this Starbucks because it is an old gas station remade into something so useful and it still holds a little bit of a story.

It is kind of funny though because each time I come into this Starbucks, the decor and furniture seems to change. They get upgraded furniture often, so it seems, but it isn't very often that I come in here. I think I should come more frequently, at least until the new coffee shop opens across the street from me. I eagerly await that to happen.

I know I have mentioned before how well I can concentrate in a coffee shop. When I need to write, it is one of the best environments for me, and there have been studies done on that. I think it has something to do with the ambient sounds that muffle and mingle together, offering not a distraction, but a white noise for a background. Focus can then take place and being creative leaps forward. I always write well when sitting in a coffee shop. Are you the same way? And when not in a coffee shop, I can play the sounds of a coffee shop at Coffitivity.

09 January 2015


Today, my Winter apparel got to see the light of a cold day here. It was wonderful! I smile, almost by default, as I get ready to head outside, adding a scarf and a coat and a hat. I cannot help myself. There is something about the cold weather that causes an instant inner cheerfulness. Even if the wind was howling last night, keeping me awake because the tree kept hitting my a/c unit making a clanking noise. Even if life at the office was completely lonely and dull as my boss is in Wisconsin freezing in the negative degrees (but I got a lot done!), Even if, as I sit here now typing, I am cold, and my mug of tea is growing cold very quickly.

I think I am kind of English, though, in my disliking of turning on the heat, but instead, I am more likely to add a layer of clothes or a blanket. I heard or read somewhere that is what the English do. I let the heat run for a few minutes, then I turn it off and grab a blanket. 

Thank you January! You have at last brought the Winter into my life and I will savor every moment. I am most grateful. Except, we are missing some snow. 

08 January 2015

Word Feathers

When I take down the Christmas decor, my place seems a little bare, which is nice and somehow refreshing, but a little something new feels necessary. Simple projects are what I like, and I mean simple. Cutting and hanging paper garland is something I think I can handle. 

So on the hottest day we've had in months (it was in the mid-80s- yikes! I was melting! But now the weather has suddenly turned very cold!), what should I do but make some word feathers to hang up to look so lovely?

I headed to the library to pick out a $0.25 book (that I don't think anybody would want to read, I promise) to cut the pages into feathers, and cut fringes. Then I simply taped them onto some yarn and spaced them evenly.

So simple, and so darling.

07 January 2015

Jolly Old Grammar Book

I found this old English handbook book from 1939 and started reading though the sage advice on how to write paragraphs and how to write with style. I am getting a kick out of it. 

I love under the "Maturity" section it says - "If you naturally express your thoughts in childish language it is true you cannot grow up overnight."

What person is going to read that and think "Oh yes, I do express my thoughts in a childish manner"?

One thing I actually do love is how the first reference book listed as a resource in section 77 for checking your use of words is Owen Barfield's History in English Words. Barfield is so good, and I long to read more of his books. He is most certainly a master of words. He was in the Inklings with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, of course.

From the section on "Faulty Expressions", I loved these (for they made me chuckle):

Alright - The correct form is all right. There are no such forms as all-right, allright, or alright. Used in the sense of satisfactory, or certainly or very well, the expression should be avoided in formal writing.

Boughten - Dialectal for bought.

Drownded - The correct form is drowned.

Funny - Colloquial for strange, queer, odd.

Gent - Vulgar for gentleman.

Mad - Mad means insane. It is colloquial for angry.

Might of - Illiterate for might have.

Swell - Colloquial for stylish, fashionable, smartly clothed. Slang for excellent, very good, interesting, enjoyable, and a host of other words expressing approval or commendation. 

Alright gents, it sure has been swell reading this grammar book. It is funny how I have boughten it when I might not of.
(Oh, it hurts me to write sentences like this)

06 January 2015

On New Creation

In my recent meanderings through books, interests, blogs, lectures, and other learning, I have seen the recurring theme popping up like a flag that captures my attention and grabs my heart. As time has gone on, this theme has latched onto my creativity. It is the doctrine of New Creation. The more that I am learning about this doctrine the more I am seeing how New Creation encompasses everything we know today in our present story and also what is to come. But open your imagination, because this requires much of it.

This isn't a radical new idea to me, for I think this has brewed and stirred in my heart all along with my love for story and creating, and how important I have always felt those things to be. Turns out, there is a lot of truth to that, and that knowledge brings me a great rush of joy.

If you take seriously the glorious promise that God created us to live forever, then what we do here and now matters far more than if this life were all.....
- Madeleine L'Engle

The aspect of New Creation I had never thought of before was that it is going on already.
It has already begun.

It started with Jesus.
With His sacrifice of the mortal kind, He conquered death. With His risen body, He became the first resurrection of New Creation.
If you are like me, you might have neglected a very big part of the story: the risen Jesus. The live body that walked around and mingled with the disciples, though different from you and me, meaning He could show up inside a locked room. Meaning, He was of New Creation. Which means that you and I are part of this New Creation as well.

I am so thankful that all my reading and learning for awhile has pointed me toward a better understanding of New Creation, because it is a seldom preached on topic. Also, it requires a great deal of imagination, which is exactly why I was so engaged by it and wanted to continue learning more.

It is exciting, to me, to have something to dig into theologically that will require story and imagination. I turn to two of my favourite books for the inspired reading that I read and re-read.
The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis and Lilith by George MacDonald. These books make my heart soar on the images of New Creation. They stir my soul. They free my mind to think and expand way beyond the walls of my home and the confines of this world as it is now, imperfect. One day, this earth will be made as it was meant to be, but we cannot see it perfected yet; just hints and glimpses of it.

"God's kingdom" in the preaching of Jesus refers not to postmortem destiny, not to our escape from this world into another one, but to God's sovereign rule coming "on earth as it is in heaven."

- N.T. Wright

This probably causes you to reshape your thinking. Do we really think about God's kingdom as being on earth as it is in heaven? Or do we think of God's kingdom as some other realm to which we must arise into?

At the end of the Narnia Chronicles, Aslan brings the children to a door, where they stand and watch Narnia die. They see the stars fall. They see the great giant Time awaken and squeeze the sun in his fist, and Aslan closes the door. But what lay before them is a marvelous land that seems so delightful and somehow familiar.

Aslan tells them all to "come further up and further in" and as they all cross the land with hearts full of joy they realize they knew the mountains and waterfalls. They were all the Narnian landscapes they loved, but somehow they were more real. More like the real thing.

When Aslan said you could never go back to Narnia, he meant that Narnia you were thinking of. But that was not the real Narnia. That had a beginning and an end. It was only a shadow or copy of the real Narnia, which has always been here and always will be here; just as our own world, England and all, is only a shadow or copy of something in Aslan's real world....And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking is from a dream. (The Last Battle)
They realized there was no need for them to mourn the old Narnia because the new Narnia was the perfection of Narnia and the country they were made for. These passages in The Last Battle have helped me imagine the utter joy of being in a perfected country in which the Creator delights and where it all comes together with no mistakes.
Yet at the same time they were somehow different - deeper, more wonderful, more like places in a story; in a story you have never heard but very much want to know. The difference between the old Narnia and the new Narnia was like that. The new one was a deeper country: every rock and flower and blade of grass looked as if it meant more. I can't describe it any better than that: if you ever get there, you will know what I mean. (The Last Battle)
The feelings these finals chapters in Narnia provoke in me is hope and extinguishment of all fear. It is the promise of God fulfilled, and before I had read Narnia I had never heard it described as such. It was always a place up there somewhere where you dwell among the white clouds in a constant state of angelic singing. We will not be spirits floating up to a heavenly realm to strum instruments, we will be bodies among others in a perfected joined heaven and earth.
Heaven, in the Bible, is not a future destiny but the other, hidden, dimension of our ordinary life - God's dimension, if you like. God made heaven and earth; at the last he will remake both and join them together forever. And when we come to the picture of the actual end in Revelation 21-22, we find not ransomed souls making their way to a disembodied heaven, but rather the new Jerusalem coming dorm from heaven to earth, uniting the two in a lasting embrace. (Surprised by Hope)

It is when I began to see this ordinary life as something much more than ordinary, in fact it is hiding bits of heaven, I began to see how much everything matters here and now.

That is why what we create is so important. The words we write. The words we speak. The business we run. The art we create. The music. The peace we keep. The kindness we show. That is why we should care about the earth, its resources, its people. The suffering, the broken, the hurting.

This is why the disciples and Paul staked their lives on this and were in danger everyday. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that he would not have risked his neck everyday if he did not truly believe in the hope of resurrection and the promise of God. He did not act heroically because he wanted to look good. He did all that he did because of his complete faith in the resurrection. That is what drove him to keep on in the light amidst so much danger and darkness.
There is a nice symmetry in this: Death initially came by a man, and resurrection from death came by a man. Everybody dies in Adam; everybody comes alive in Christ. But we have to wait our turn: Christ is first, then those with him at his Coming, the grand consummation when, after crushing the opposition, he hands over his kingdom to God the Father. (1 Corinthians 15.21-23)
Paul writes that if we do not believe in resurrection, everything we know is just smoke and mirrors. It is all just a nice story of a good man and teacher, but has no actual meaning. We would be walking around in the darkness, without real hope. But because Jesus has been raised and broke the hold of death, the greatest hope of all is available to us.

The darkness of the night is the preparation for the dawn of New Creation, waiting patiently for His coming.

In Lilith, the sleeping aspect prepares one to dream, as in Mr. Vane's case, which requires one to pass through a darkness. Dream mixes with the real and leaves me in a state of imagination where you travel into this other dimension with Mr. Vane and the possibility suddenly becomes the eventual clarity of a new dawn breaking and is more real than anything ever experienced.

See every little flower straighten its stalk, lift up its neck, and with outstretched head stand expectant: something more than the sun, greater than the light is coming, is coming - none the less surely coming that it is long upon the road! What matters today, or tomorrow, or ten thousand years to Life himself, to Love himself! He is coming, is coming, and the necks of all humanity are stretched out to see him come! (Lilith) 
The River grew lovelier and lovelier, until I knew that never before had I seen real water. Nothing in this world is more than LIKE it. (Lilith)
For now, we have images and story that expand our imaginations about what is to come. Until the day arrives, we shall lift our heads and wait with patient expectancy, know that what is coming is even more wonderful than what our most imaginative authors put in books.

For a few more musings on this topic, click below:
The Unknown, Remembered Gate
Come Further In, Come Further Up!


1 Corinthians 15
The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

Lilith by George MacDonald
Surprised By Hope by N.T. Wright

05 January 2015

The Final Hobbit

It was a happy time; it was a sad time. The viewing of the last Hobbit movie with my brother Ryan. Ryan and I have the tradition of going to see the Tolkien movies in the theatre (and it's usually one of my only movie theatre visits I have each year), ever since the Fellowship of the Ring, the first of the Lord of the Rings movies came out. We didn't mean for it to become a tradition back in 2001 (before I graduated high school!) when we first decided to check out the Lord of the Rings movie, which we knew nothing about. We came out of the first movie with gaping mouths and widening minds to envelope the world of Middle-earth. We knew that story was a good one; one that was deeper and more wonderful than we had imagined. That is when I turned to the books and fell in love.

I rarely go to movies these days, but as I sat through the previews I was reminded how terrible the movies are now, and very few are worth going to. Even though this Hobbit movie does not capture all the essence of reading J.R.R. Tolkien's delightful story, and mostly captures action scenes and battles, I would rather have The Hobbit movies be wildly popular to the masses then some of these other movies that look so immoral and just plain bad.

As C.S. Lewis said, the world doesn't need more Christian books, it needs more writers who are Christian. And that goes for movies too. I would much rather books by Tolkien and Lewis be made into movies, even if the storytellers add their own flare and add a character or expand a battle. That means people who are not Christians are going to see movies that have deep Christian undertones and themes, and might think or talk about what certain things mean later. And then, who knows? They might even read the book (books are always better).

02 January 2015

January - My Favourite Month

Pardon me if you do not agree, but January is the best month of the year. I will confess, part of that viewpoint stems from it being my birthday month, but there are many other reasons why this is the best month.

For example, it is the beginning of a new year, so it is like a fresh page in a journal, and there is much hope in looking forward to the new year.

In Florida, it is the month where the season of Winter emerges the most, which is my favourite time of year here. I actually get to wear my jackets and scarves often and it's a delight. Since there is no option of snow here, my dreams are constantly filled with images of fat, falling snow on a still day, and at least in this month, the weather is cold enough to indulge me a bit.

There aren't too many things cluttering up the month, in general. It is a perfect month to get organized and feel recharged after several weeks of holidays and seeing family and friends.

Since I tend to get several books for Christmas and then more for my birthday, I get to read a lot of good books in January! Believe me, that is super exciting - and I always feel like a kid in a candy store. Just ignore what the zipper bag above (from Ryan and Sam) says about fondness of books.

A few fun facts:
-the birth stone is the garnet, which represents constancy
-the birth flower is the carnation

Happy January!