31 March 2015

Among the Dreaming Spires

There is no weather so good as English weather. Nay, in a real sense there is no weather at all anywhere but in England.
- G.K. Chesterton

Good Afternoon, from Oxford!
I am among the dreaming spires again, and my heart is floating. Perhaps it might float away in the wind, for this day is downright windswept! 

The first photo is the view I have from my room, in Lincoln College. That is the steeple of the Lincoln College Library. Not a bad view. I've made myself at home, hanging up my clothes, and setting things around the room. I have a large room, twice the size as I expected.

Chesterton is correct: the weather sure does change! 

During breakfast this morning in the dining hall, I sat at a table with a group of Physics students who were there competing for the spots on the English team for a worldwide competition. The head of the group (a professor, I imagine) sat across from me and was quite chatty, asking about me, what I was doing, and where I was from, etc. That's when he told me about the conference they were having, so I asked more about that. Basically, I was sitting at a table of about eight geniuses! While he was jealous that I was from Florida, I said that I like it here because there are seasons. The weather has changes, and Florida is just mostly tropical. "Yes," he agreed, "England has four seasons in one day. And you think -what is going on here?"

I laughed. That is pretty much the perfect description. So, I'm off to explore and be out there amidst the four seasons of Oxford!

(Note: after sleeping for almost 12 hours last night (I got no sleep on my flight over), I had two of the biggest cups of tea I could this morning in the dining hall. Each cup was delicious. That ritual will be on repeat every morning)

27 March 2015

On the Heights : An Oxford Tale

She stood on the brink of a slightly curving slope of a lush, green hill looking down toward the endless rise and fall of the earth as far as her eyes could see. Her hair glowed red in the sunlight. As she stood on the edge she paused for a moment looking at the waves of the hills meeting the blue stretches of sky, mingling somewhere in the middle and contrasting one another with boldness that inspires awe.

She knew these moments were precious and that so much change was just around the corner. These were her last few days before she would be off to classes at Oxford. A vibrant spirit of youth was alive inside of her and the excitement rose inside her more each day. In a few minutes, she would be sitting under a tree at the bottom of the hill with her book resting open on her lap where her mind would become engrossed in the Austen novel in her hand. She also loved being outside among the natural beauty with the accompaniment of the written word. She would run her hands along the tree bark and walk barefoot through the fresh dewy grass in the morning before breakfast, with a hardback marbled books from the late 1800's tucked on her arm. Her mind waking up with the landscape. Sun rising over the fog. Gentle golden rays of sun touching blooms.

Before breaking into a run down the hill she took a deep breath and held her poise for a moment and let out her breath as she tipped over the edge and let the momentum carry her, thinking about what her future would hold and how she raced toward it. She thought about being in class studying literature and writing papers all evening and the thoughts thrilled her. It actually enhanced her run down the hill and inspired her to run faster.


Walking back through the garden, she caught a scent of fresh earth. Her mum must have been digging up some vegetables for supper that night. Sure enough, a basket of carrots was sitting at the top of the steps leading to the back door near the kitchen. As the afternoon grew deeper, the light grew weary and a chill rent through the breeze that shuffled her hair. She picked up the basket and entered the house, immediately greeted with the sound of the kettle steaming with hot water for tea.

She took the basket to the sink and washed the carrots, and her mum came up next to her and kissed her cheek.

"The kettle is boiling for tea, dear," she said soothingly, "would you mind setting out the tea things?"

A collection of the prettiest teacups and saucers took up residence in a lovely wooden china cabinet. The collection was lovingly used, as they should be, and she picked out her two favourites, along with the tea strainer, a teapot, and creamer. She carefully placed everything on the rustic wooden table that was near a large set of windows that looked out toward the valley and the rolling hills. The plates and spoons were already resting on the table, so she arranged everything neatly and orderly. Her mum always taught her how to set up a proper tea, how to make a bed without creases, how to air out the laundry, how to make Yorkshire pudding, and how to knit, among a great many other things.

Her mind started to wander off with the air of excitement for the great next step she was taking by going to Oxford. The last time she was there to visit, she stayed with a close friend of her mum's, Eleanor, who lives on Holywell Street, in the heart of Oxford. She lives in an old, stone building reminiscent of much of Oxford, which has been there for centuries, and it always smelled of fresh flowers every time she walked inside. That is probably because Eleanor would walk to the covered market two days a week to buy the freshest blooms from the local vendors there. She knew this, of course, because after breakfast and coffee they walked together to the covered market for flowers, and for an almond croissant from the French Bakery. Then they took the more scenic way down medieval Brasenose Lane to Radcliffe Square, and the grand circular neo-classical Radcliffe Camera (the reading room- just one building of the Bodleian Library) would greet them cordially but dominantly.

They would pause here in the square, because her heart would soar at the sight, every time, and Eleanor knew it. They would each take bites of their almond croissants and watch the city grow busier as the morning folk would make their way through the square, perhaps using it as a cut-through to High Street.

After gazing at the RadCam dreamily for a bit, they would make their way back to Holywell Street passing by the grand square Bodleian Library building on their left, with dreaming spires pointing toward the ever-changing English sky, and then the Bridge of Sighs on the right, which was an ornate walkway connecting two buildings of Hertford college. A shortcut over the road.

It grew misty on their walk back, with a few raindrops starting to fall. The rain doesn't hinder anyone around them, for they are well accustomed to the fickle weather since it could change completely in five minutes. The British way is to keep on going about their business, rain or shine.

Turning right onto Holywell, they soon approached the home and got their coats off inside as the rain suddenly fell heavier. Tea was prepared and enjoyed, and soon the table was cleared and the garden out back drew her attention. Curled up in a cosy nook window-seat, she had a book of poetry in her hands, as it was her current read. The windows were open and as the rain fell the cool temperature reached them inside. The birds chirped outside amidst the sounds of droplets and the sweet, clean scent of dew enveloped them.......


The clang of the teapot brought her out of her daydream.
They sat down and poured the steaming tea as they resumed their Jane Austen debate from breakfast, about the character of Fanny Price in Mansfield Park

25 March 2015


While it might technically be early Spring, it already feels like Summer here, much to my chagrin. Though the flowering hibiscus tree in my yard is quite lovely. I come down my stairs each morning and glance that way with an appreciative smile. The purple blooms are bright and scattered in the tree. The sun shines bright and hot, and they look as pretty as ever.

But lo! Today the air was lighter. Not being weighed down with humidity, there was a taste of Spring rather than the depth of Summer in the air. It was a pleasant shift and I am satisfied. However, I must confess I am dwelling in this place while dreaming of another.

The promise of multiple months of warmth sounds much more appealing when you still are grabbing your jacket on the way out each day. It is not so appealing when you are already shedding clothes as you step outside. A long Summer would then ensue. Longer than usual.

I am dreaming about a place across the ocean. A place where weather dwells in seasons. Where the moody fog rolls in from the hills just beyond the city. Where the buds of daffodils and almond trees are bursting open and loving the chill that is still clinging to the air.

From one to another. The dream of what is not at the moment able to be touched. But being blessed in the ability to make that crossing every so often.

24 March 2015


Momentary afflictions.
We are not doomed to forever darkness. Unless we choose it.

Like this ice cream (okay- frozen yogurt) on these hot Spring days, life is forever changing. While looking into the future our path may look too nebulous. We would rather see a clear picture of what is to come. Our faith in God's plan for us should be the impervious stronghold that we do not let go of. We should not let any of that darkness leak in.

Sometimes I watch the lives of others around me change and move forward, while my own life seems to be stagnant. Sitting still in the quiet holds of anticipation. While my patient nature keeps me mellow and reflective through it, I sometimes ask myself if I am doing something wrong. It is not that I invite change, but if I start to compare myself to someone else, I can always find ways that I am somehow behind. Who ever said there is a time table everyone must follow? It's all rubbish, but it is the trap we can all fall into if we let ourselves.

What I have to remind myself is that nothing good comes from comparing myself to others. While our world encourages competition, the things that matter eternally do not. The first shall be last. The meek shall inherit the earth. We are told to love others as much as we love ourselves. 

The knowledge that the darkness will not last is where I rest when I feel the darkness surrounding me. The impermanence in my life is a reminder of the permanence of God. When my day is golden, God is good. When my day is a disaster, God is still good. His goodness never changes like my days do. He maintains all His goodness, omniscience, power, majesty, and might no matter what. And He can use whatever circumstance are present to draw me closer, to bring about goodness, and to remind me of His never-ending love.

23 March 2015

The English Class That Changed Me

Somewhere along the way the realization hit me. How had I not seen the obvious signs? Were they tucked away, hidden in the depths of my soul? Confined to stay in the dark? I must have thought that one cannot embrace both sides of the brain: creativity and logic. I must have assumed that both cannot be embraced and that the one side of analyzing and studying business skills was the one that would get the job and get the career.

In college, I had to take two English classes as part of the liberal arts requirements, and I secretly loved them. While everyone else I knew used their AP credits to get out of taking English in college, I was glad I didn't. I loved analyzing poems in class and figuring out what the author was saying by way of words that I was attracted to, for some reason. I was like the other end of the magnet and I felt drawn to them.

It was my senior year that I finally realized there was perhaps something more to be discovered in my fondness of English literature. I started to wonder why I felt creatively dry when all I did was crunch numbers and balance sheets all day, and study accounting concepts. All the business jargon that was jumbling in my mind was not fulfilling my deep desire for story, words, thinking deeply about life, observing. That is why I signed up for the Tolkien class. I took it on a pass/fail basis because I didn't think I had the skills to write essays with the creative imagination and depth that the other students would have, and I didn't want to get a low grade at the end of my college life before graduation. Turns out, I think I would have gotten a low A, but what did I know?

Everyone else in class was an English, Art, or Music major. I was the only Accounting nerd, and my professor joked with me on the first day saying that his wandering around from topic to topic might drive my organized Accounting mind crazy, but his class was the change of pace and giant dive into the imagination that I'd been longing for.

It was in that class that I began to see that I could read the more difficult of Tolkien's works, The Silmarillion, and understand the story and enjoy it. I felt as it these kinds of stories were unreachable for me before. As if I didn't have the skills to read them, or something. I was encouraged that my essays received pretty good grades, and while my analyzing skills were not exemplary, I began to recognize the underlying themes and meanings of stories and characters. Before this class I did not think I had any talent in writing or reading. I knew that I had always liked it, but here is where I learned how to read more deeply and to see the connection of things in stories.

The grammar and general good English skills I always had helped me in reading and writing, and also in deciphering some of the tougher passages of Tolkien, with help from the professor. We even dabbled in Old English, and as the professor read some lines of Old English we had to try to translate it ourselves.

I would say that I have always had the passion for reading, words, literature, story, and imagination, but it was re-born when I took the Tolkien class because I realized that I could read all I wanted on my own, and still be the business nerd who wrote out all the accounting equations and notes by hand to study, because that is how I learn best. I realized I could co-mingle the two sides of my brain, melding the business sense with imagination, and that is what I have done evermore.

Perhaps it is to my advantage now that I focused so much attention on the business side so that I gained the skills and knowledge that aided me in my jobs, but I have found that my English skills/grammar/imagination/love of words has set me apart from others in that I take great care in how I write, which can be both professional and sometimes creative, because it is something I love.

20 March 2015

Nothing Stands Still

Bemusing with the sense and knowledge that this is not home. There is more that we were made for. Nothing stands still.

Our journey is part of the realization of that. To dare to break free of the shackles that hold us down, that we must turn away from and turn to something seemingly more dangerous; the Christian life. More dangerous and yet, more secure.

Down to the water. Down to the death of our previous selves. Let it go in the streams, to gain true life. Living water. Only learned by way of our journey, passing through the darkness and moving forward.

Never will you be done with journeying and leaning. Further up and further in. No stagnation. The Christian life is an invitation to adventure and the journey is that essential portion.

Gain the joy that flows in that river of life and know that the further in we go, the bigger and better it gets.

Soundtrack for the day:

18 March 2015

Study at His Feet

I'm asking God for one thing,
only one thing:
To live with him in his house
my whole life long.
I'll contemplate his beauty,
I'll study at his feet.

That's the only quiet, secure place
in  noisy world,
The perfect getaway,
far from the buzz of traffic.

-Psalm 27.4-6

I thought you might need this reminder. This Psalm. I could sense it.
This week might be good, but busy. It might be full of hardship and stress. You might be feeling behind in everything as the hours fly by too quickly each day.

It might be a day of celebration. It might be a day that has too many things to get done.
No matter what kind of day or week it is, it is the perfect time to rest in the Lord in a quiet place. Quiet in the heart and mind. Restful in His love. 

If you cannot seem to find any peace or rest from the blur that becomes our days, perhaps you need to sit at the Lord's feet and study His ways. Carving out the time won't be easy, you may have to say no to something that seems important, but the best things are worth all the difficulty. And time with the Lord is the best use of our time.

I can sense you need this reminder, because I do too.

17 March 2015

Pieces of the Past

I find that I am sometimes reluctant to share things that I create, be it writings or photographs. Sometimes I feel like I have nothing to say that hasn't already been said. That the person who might be reading this solely because there is nothing on television, it's pouring rain outside, nobody is home, and they happened to stumble upon this tiny space who, in the midst of reading, rolls his or her eyes because what I am saying is already known. It is just another way of saying something that has probably been said by many others. Surely, there must be a thousand thousand others who have mused about the Oxford English Dictionary or the beauty of Oxford.

But isn't that part of art and creation? Don't all the movies and television shows say the same things over and over, but in different ways? Aren't all the best artists working off of their master's foundations? Copying and mixing it up and add their own zest? Isn't the base something taken from that which is greater than us?

Years ago, when I first finished reading Phantastes by George MacDonald, I was aching for another book just like it because it drew me into my imagination in the best of ways and the best kind of creative books do that. I searched for more of his books that would be just like that. If you fast-forward in time to the twentieth century C.S. Lewis wrote with hints of one of his favourites, George MacDonald, in his tales. I catch many glimpses of MacDonald's imagery and fantastical descriptions in Lewis's writings, which echo what MacDonald did in his tales of journeys including sorrow, learning, and joy.

This is just one example in books, but it is evident everywhere in art, movies, music, and television. Those who create have a mentor-figure. One (or many) that they look up to and seek to build off of, and there is something in it.

It means there are pieces of the ancient beauty in things that are newly created because the past is respected and seen as valuable. We always start from somewhere when we create. Some image or scene. A shade of colour. A feeling. A few words spoken or thought of. And things that left a lasting impressions from those who came before you.

This is why I feel so deeply about creating sentences and thoughts that I write and share because it does matter. All things that we create out of love and caring has a place in God's kingdom, which has already begun. We are living in it already. It can be creating a home, creating a meal, making others feel welcome and loved, creating art, creating music. So, it is important to do what you love, and to share it and work at it with humble patience and love. Even when I am unsure of my pieces, I need to remember that nothing I create is perfect, but one day, it will be perfected as it was meant to be.

16 March 2015

Wider Field of Vision

I slowed down this weekend by going away. By going out of town, it forced me to do nothing but be with family. To observe. To talk. To sit together in the spacious home in Gainesville. I read Dante in the car (and maybe a little bit of Winnie the Pooh with Elliott). I relaxed on Saturday afternoon talking for several hours as the clouds built outside but only left humidity. I stayed up too late watching The Hunger Games  (Jason stayed up late with me) because I had read the book, but had never seen the movie. and we all ate at one of my favourite spots for lunch after church, Bento.

Sometimes it takes stepping away from all the narrowness of my daily life to see the light. What I normally see each day might get swept up in monotonous patterns. It doesn't always, but sometimes I catch myself in the rounds of it. Even if it is relaxing to be at home, I also need that landscape opened up to widen my field of vision. It is when my field is narrowed for awhile that I feel the tension building inside of me. My creativity runs dry.

It's not because anything in my life is bad or neglected. It is more that I get stuck in certain ways or trapped in the melancholy of a stressful day. And when I analyse myself I realize that it is almost always me putting stress on myself. It is not someone else doing that.

When I take a step back from the narrow field in which I might be struggling, I see the beauty of the bigger picture. I see the light and the goodness that is ever-shining into my life. It is not just out there somewhere where I cannot reach it. Even if I have several rough days (last week had a few of those), the overall picture is full of God's goodness and I cannot deny His presence in my life. And when I get that feeling back, I feel the softness of His presence, and it comforts me and sets me at ease.

His softness shows itself to me in the light from the morning sunrise. In the laugh and cuteness of my niece. In the talks with my brothers and sisters-in-law. In the meals shared together. In the simpleness of just being with each other, lounging on the sofas eating homemade ice cream. And in the good feeling of coming home and starting a new week.

13 March 2015

Ultimate Paradox

Lenten Thoughts:

Fully God and fully human.

The Author of all things went through agony and doubt.
The Creator of the world we have grown to know so well also knows how we feel when we suffer and hurt.

How can we imagine such contradiction?
Can we assimilate it in our minds and hearts?

The world tells us that there are other easier gods to follow. Easier methods and roads to take. The world tells us we can pick and choose our religion cafeteria style. Selecting the pieces we think are important and we want to live by, and passing by the others things that don't sound too appealing. 
It's all or nothing. Don't be half-hearted creatures (to borrow C.S. Lewis's phrase). 

There is no other God that will put himself into such a contradiction with suffering and death.
This is the only One I want to follow.

He was here, down this road of suffering.
He came to us. He didn't require that we have to find a way to climb up the ladder to Him.
Up is down. Big is small. Last is first.

Christ turned the world upside down. Rightside up.

Make me less so He is more.

12 March 2015

One Thousand

One thousand posts.
That's one kilo-blog posts

That's 1 x 10^3

If each one of my posts was a page in a book, I would have a 1,000 page book!
In this age of technology we are able to share our thoughts and photographs in an instant, and that is pretty astounding. While I am an old-fashioned girl at heart, I do really enjoy writing and sharing on this little itty bitty space out here in web-land.

I am truly amazed that anyone even reads my words, much less finds them to be helpful or insightful or interesting! I am so glad you are reading along. This is really my space for sharing what I learn, what I read, and things I muse about.

I wasn't really sure what to do for my one thousandth post. I thought I would share a few photos I've taken recently and haven't posted, just because. I like to take photos of scenes I think are beautiful or earth-toned, and convey a sense of calm, everyday, simple things.

Also in way of celebration, all I can think to do is recognize that I would not be able to do any of this (writing, thinking, taking photos, travelling) without God. I give all glory and thanks to Him, for without Him I am nothing. He is the one who made me who I am. I do not deserve anything, and yet I have much. Thanks be to God!

11 March 2015


The point is not that this world is too sad to love or too glad not to love; the point is that when you do love a thing, its gladness is a reason for loving it, and its sadness a reason for loving it more.
- G.K. Chesterton

Ahhh, Chesterton. He is the bright and sharp intellect that perfectly awakens one's mind on a chilly, grey morning. His words are the solutions to any drowsiness of the day.

He has a way of stating concisely, the beauty of Christian paradoxes that may confuse you at first (as you wonder where he is going in his tale) but leaves you spellbound by his wit and intellect and deep understanding of the human mind. He most certainly had the gift of writing, and writing toward anyone to is willing to read. That includes those who may be agnostic or one like me, who is still astounded by the wisdom even though I am a Christian. He doesn't have to convince me, and yet I am convinced. He shreds reason to bits and inserts the only real answer that everything point to in the end.

The danger was not in man's environment, but in man. (Orthodoxy)

I have listened to scientific men...saying that if we give the poor healthier conditions vice and wrong will disappear. I have listened to them with a horrible attention, with a hideous fascination. For it was like watching a man energetically sawing from the tree the branch he is sitting on. (Orthodoxy)

He makes it so blatant that it is not the circumstances of man, whether it be poverty or wealth (also known as the way that the world puts value on each of us), or jobs, or family, or friends but it is the heart of the man that is the issue. You cannot solve the world's problem by placing a band-aid over it. If you ignore the heart of it, you are headed for disaster. It will only open a new host of problems. Instead, it is a matter of the heart of each man. If you don't address that, you are missing the target. And the answer, says Chesterton, is Christianity. It is the only answer to everything, and skirting around that (as in everything besides Christianity) by trying to insert some earthly solution is like sitting out on a limb hastily sawing away, not realizing that you are about to plunge yourself down by your own methods.

10 March 2015

Lovely Spring Days

It's a lovely day to make some tea.

I say that everyday.
These past couple of days have been cool to the touch with a sweet scent in the air. It is short-lived, I know, and so I try to drink in the cool days and hold them close.

When the light comes in my home, I am drawn to the natural softness or glow (depending on the time of day). I love natural light, which is why I only have white, sheer curtains in my home. Why would I turn on lights when the sun gives us all we need during the day? Even on cloudy days there is plenty of light in here.

Creating a little brunch (or what Tolkien would have a Hobbit say, "elevensies") is enjoyable when family stops by, especially when using fancy dishes. I use these all the time, except not usually this many at one time. The only bad part is washing them all, but they do look pretty when in a clean pile.

My niece plays my piano with gusto, but with precise gusto, hitting particular keys with her pointer fingers. But always with a bright smile on her face, for she loves music.

The Jacaranda tree (or whatever it is that is blooming pretty purple flowers) across the alley is quite lovely, and catches my eyes every time I step out my door. I only wish it wouldn't rain down all the pollen on my car, but it is Spring and that is what Spring does.

My books are overflowing. I would say I need another bookshelf, but there is no space in my tiny home for another bookshelf. I may just have to start stacking the books in clever spots, or dare I say it, sort through some. eep!

05 March 2015

Reading Notes

The true aim of literary studies is to lift the student out of his provincialism by making him "the spectator", if not of all, yet of much, "time and existence."
- C.S. Lewis

I am trying to be a better reader. Whether in stories or in non-fiction, I am aiming to look deeper, beyond the surface-level words. I am asking myself- what is the author saying?

Lately I have been noticing a lot as I read Scripture - that many times what is being written is just the surface of what God is really saying. There is something much deeper. Even when God is angry I am starting to see less of the anger and more of the love. As I read through Ezekiel, for example, one could get bogged down in the angry passages, with the Lord saying in every chapter how He is going to let the people come to ruin because they turned away from Him. But beneath all that anger I see the deep love of God for us, so much so that He would even bother over His much-beloved created beings turn away from Him and His deep love for us. If he was indifferent toward us, He wouldn't be so angry when we purposefully turn away.

I think my continual fascination with words has helped me notice more. As I read more about words and meanings and etymology, I pay attention even more than I used to. To look more carefully and think more deeply. I find myself asking why the author chose the words, and why they are telling specific details about something.

What I realized is if something is worth reading, it is worth being attentive.

To be attentive to my reading means to slow down. To take in the words and pray for understanding, if it is a challenging book. To take time to let it sink in. I will admit, this is a bit of a challenge for me because I know there is a surfeit of books that are waiting for me to read them, and I cannot possibly get to half of them, but I can try. And that means I tend to read fast, in general, because I have so many books I want to read. But you know what I realized? I actually enjoy reading on a deeper level when I take my time. It's a better experience and I retain what I read much better.

Something I have always loved about reading is how it takes our gaze from the mirror. It refocuses us and takes our selfish thoughts off ourselves while we let the author speak through words. With new ideas, it is our job to seek to understand and ask questions. To take those ideas for a test drive to find out if there is truth in it.

Reading will stir up a habit of curiosity, which leads to stretching the imagination to discover new and wonderful things.

The gold behind the paper currency is to be found, almost exclusively, in literature. In it lies deliverance from the tyranny of generalizations and catchwords.
- C.S. Lewis

04 March 2015

My Every Need

On my mind lately has been the simple reminder that God meets my every need. No matter what is going on, I am taken care of, and I have nothing to complain about. God knows what I need in my days, and He provides it. Even little things I desire but do not necessarily need. 

God gives me just enough craziness through other people in my life that I am quite content when I can go home and have some wild adventures through my books, though a real adventure is sometimes necessary to shake things up a bit.

But unlike so many fellow Christian brothers and sisters around the globe, I am truly comfortable in life. I don't have to worry about food or shelter or clothing. I am not in danger for being a Christian. While those dangerous areas across the oceans seem a world away, I can keep them in prayer because as I think about them and raise them up to God, I am juxtaposing my life to that, and it reveals so much. I have no reason to ever complain about a rough day. I don't even know what a rough day is, in comparison.

The Lord provides all I need. His grace is sufficient. I don't need anything else, and I am blessed in the life I have been given. I have the time and ability to pursue things that I love. And I am surrounded by people who care for me.

So, I am storing these verses in my memory banks for when I feel like I am having a 'rough' day.

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

03 March 2015


Though we can't think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion?
- John Wesley

It's raining again. It's still
 chilly, so I snuggle with my blanket to keep warm in the extreme dampness. What better way to spend a rainy afternoon then to finish reading Revival by Adam Hamilton? This short book is on the life and faith of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. It is the book selected for a church-wide reading, so I thought I would jump in as well.

With my cup of Yorkshire Tea in my thrifted York mug (York is such a quaint medieval town in northeast England) I read about John Wesley and his time at Oxford (living at Christ Church College and then becoming a fellow of Lincoln College in the late 1720s), where he and a few close Christian friends would meet regularly (like a small group) and started the Methodist movement, which of course seemed extreme at the time. He gave sermons at St. Mary's University Church in Oxford and his talks were so full of passion and challenges that many church goers did not like him. At the time in English history, the morals and virtues were skewed and needed a revival. Slave trade was the norm and it seemed that the spirit of the church was lukewarm, which is a dangerous place to be. John brought the hammer down hard on the congregations, and they didn't always like that.

But John wasn't perfect, himself, and many years were required for him to grow in wisdom and spiritual maturity. As it is for all of us. But being challenged is good, and we need the encouragement to change for the better. To bring all aspects of our lives to God's purpose. In everything we do, it should be to the glory of God. This is an aspect of truth that John focused on a lot. He travelled all over the UK, more than 240,000 miles! John also brought Methodism over to America via Savannah. 

John also focused on how it is by the grace of God that we are redeemed, not by works. But it is vitally important to get out there in the world to help others who are poor and needy. He recognized it is because of Christ, not anything we do or can do, that we are made whole. He saw a gap between earth and heaven, where sometimes the basic needs of people (like food and clothing) was lacking, and we as Christians should be helping to fill that gap.

The book also had some travel notes at the end of each chapter, detailing the places to see in England that have bits of Wesley history, like Christ Church College, where I spent time last year, and saw the plaque on the ground of Christ Church Cathedral, where I attended Evensong many evenings.

02 March 2015

Grey Skies Don't Get Me Down

I know. I get it. Most of you cannot stand the grey, overcast, rainy days again and again. But I don't mind. The grey skies really don't get me down.

Several days as of late have been full of that gloomy, misty kind of dreariness that gets many people sad and weary of it. But I never get that feeling, for some reason. I get the feeling of taking walks and then finding a good spot to become immersed in a good book. I like the soft light and the coolness in the air. Add a cup of tea to that equation and it is a perfectly lovely day. 

But I know I am the odd one of the bunch. Most people need the sunshine to cheer their hearts and warm their skin.

Here was my chance to celebrate the greyness on Saturday. But don't fret, Sunday the skies cleared and it was hot and bright.

But on Saturday, I began my day very early (even earlier than I get up for work) to help during a 5k that my church was holding to raise money for children to go to summer camp. I ran this 5k two years ago, but haven't kept up with my running since then, so I was a simple crossroad guardian for the runners, stopping and letting traffic through as needed. I even wore a bright yellow vest. It was official. It was chilly enough to wear a little jacket and a beanie, and I delighted in it.