Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Paid for with Blood

My brother Zach, at Marine Basic Training Graduation, is second from the back.
Someone has paid for me with blood.  How the knowledge lifts my sights beyond the moment's hot desires!
~Elizabeth Elliot~

Just as we should not scorn our soldiers' sacrifices, neither should we forget the death Christ died for our sins.  If I remembered, I would be less likely to rush into selfishness.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Book Review - Coming Day

Coming Day - by Rachel Starr Thomson

The Final Battle

Treachery and division are tearing apart the Seventh World.  Evil factions right and left are seeking to capture the Gifted and steal their powers, wipe out those dear to them, and destroy all freedom and hope and mention of the long-absent King.  

The evil Morning Star is coming, bringing all the hordes of Blackness with him. 

The last straggling bands of Gypsies and the few brave farmer rebels of Pravik prepare for the final battle. But only the King can save them.  So Virginia the blind seer sets out on a fool's errand to find him.

What follows is a race to find the King and unite the Gifted to usher in his coming.  And that coming is something they never could have expected.  

"...all ends here are only beginnings."

Last night I stayed up till about 4 a.m. to finish reading Coming Day.  Sobbing.  Laughing.  Closing the book, turning out the light, and seeing from my pillow the clouds sail past black branches and a lone bright planet in the sky.  

Crying with joy in the dark.  

It was so good, I hardly dare write about it, for fear I'll get it wrong.  Yet I must - for myself, for Rachel, for my blog readers, for anyone else who might enjoy this epic tale of good against evil. 

As far as the plot goes, I confess it went by in a bit of a blur.  Captures followed by wild escapes, battles, wounds,  friends dying.  Walking in darkness to find a fabled King, when instinct says to run and help imperiled friends.  Seeing the world ending... and then beginning afresh.  

I don't think I've been this spiritually encouraged by a book in a long time.  I felt that I turned a corner in the last few chapters, and found that the story which began in a strange land, a land vaguely similar to my own but the stuff of legend, had ended up all the way in my own room at 4 p.m.

It was not a startling jolt from a world of wonder back into my own dull life.  Rather, it was like waking from a glorious dream to find that the best parts have been true all along.  The King tapped me on the shoulder, and his eyes are laughing still.

I closed the book with a thrilling, aching joy.  And the prayer of Rehtse, "both prophecy and petition," echoes through me:

Your kingdom come, we pray.
Come soon.

Book 1 - Worlds Unseen  | Book 2 - Burning Light

Friday, January 14, 2011

What I did with my Friday

Today I got to stay at home mostly - yay!  I confess, I was a bit lazy.  Here's some of what I did: 
  • reading
  • blogging about my book
  • cleaning kitchen
  • more reading, reading, reading...
  • making dough for challah and cinnamon rolls
  • having a splendid time seeing Tangled with my lovely mother
  • coming home to bake my breads
  • eating cinnamon roll
  • next up - more reading!
Tangled was fun.  Aside from a possible jab at stay-at-home daughters, or rather, "horrid over-protective mothers who repress them and keep them from following their dreams"... sigh.  Poor girls like Rapunzel don't get to do anything but clean kitchens and make cinnamon rolls and read and blog...


Yes. Anyways.  I don't want to make a huge deal of that, since the repressive "mother" was a actually a witch, and not Rapunzel's mother at all.  And real stay-at-home daughters are rarely locked inside their houses!  Home is base of operations, not a pretty prison like poor Rapunzel had. But Rapunzel thought she was running away from home, from her mother, and even though she clearly felt wrong about it some of the time, it might need more discussion with little kids. 

Otherwise I liked it very much.  Aside from the above possible problematic interpretation, it's a classic story of a girl who longs to see the beautiful, wonderful things in the world, has adventures, falls in love, and eventually discovers she's a princess and has a family much better than her vain, fake, lying kidnapper.

I suppose it's a bit like we Christians, when we find we're royalty and children of God.  How can we go on living the same way once that's clear, and continue to submit to our old tyrants of safety and comfort and sin?  And perhaps even non-Christians suspect there's more to life than meets the eye, that greater powers are at work "outside the tower," beyond what they can see and touch.

If only we could get out and see the flying lanterns!  They can't be just stars.  We have a feeling they mean something.

Alright, enough rambling.  Good review here.  Have a lovely Saturday!

P.S. The horse was tremendous.  

P.P.S. I really shouldn't do two posts in one day, especially when I have such trouble doing even semi-weekly posts.  This is not a regular thing.  End of public service announcement. 

Seeking the King

I am getting very drawn into this story, particularly what will happen with the Highland Seer Virginia, and the Darkworld priestess Rehtse.

Imminent danger is suddenly and surprisingly gone, and the two girls just climbed up a hill after tumbling down a rocky slope.  In what felt like one of Tolkien's little eucatastrophies, the unexpected escape was followed by laughter.

The world is silent but for the wind and trees, alive and sleepy and peaceful.  The next stage of their journey to find the King beckons.

They have no map.  One is blind, the other has lived below ground all her life. 


Virginia cleared her throat. "Rehtse?  Are we lost?"

"Shh," Rehtse said. "I am waiting."

A moment later, Rehtse lowered her hands, gathered her skirts in one hand, and tucked her other hand into Virginia's elbow. "Come," she said.

"Do you know where we are?" Virginia asked.

"No," Rehtse answered. 

"Did the King answer you?" Virginia asked.

Rehtse hesitated. "Not - that I could hear."

"Then where are we going?" Virginia asked.

Rehtse smiled. "All paths in this world belong to the King.  If he can use the Blackness to deliver us from wicked men, then he can turn even wrong steps into right ones.  We are seeking him, so we will trust the road to lead us to him.  But he cannot guide us if we don't move."

by Rachel Starr Thomson

Find the book at Amazon here, or visit the series website, No, Rachel's not paying me to talk about her book. I just think it's that amazing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thankful Thursday 201-220

Today I am starting to I do my "Thankful Thursday" posts regularly again!  (my variation of Multitude Monday

201. Yesterday I was sitting inside with my Bible and morning coffee when I heard a cry of joy from outside.  It was my mom.  Looking at me through the window, she held up to view our chickens' very first egg! It was a little thing, but exciting.  The chickens got a nice breakfast of leftovers. :-)  We found a second egg this morning, huzzah!

202. Being able to comfort others with the comfort with which we have been comforted

203. Anticipation of a trip to visit my friends at the Triple L Ranch

204. Late night coffee and chocolate

205. Coming Day, the third and final book of Rachel Starr Thomas' Seventh World Trilogy.  I look forward to the pleasure of reviewing it on my blog soon.

206. The deliciousness of a warm building that only biting, bitter cold makes you appreciate

207.  Old verses I learned in Sparks that still come back to me.

208.  Candlelight

209.  Chris Rice

210.  Friends who are passionate about good theology

211.  Cozy wool sweaters

212.  The scent of lavender

213.  Getting to see my little brother play basketball. (They have lots of out-of-town games, so this doesn't happen too often.)

214.  A friend's excitement about her fabric design that's making her money here.

215.  The AWANA council time message, given by one of the elders, about little things that make a huge difference.  A seed.  A word.  A cup of water.

216.  Fountain pens with nice, flowey blue ink

217.  A pretty blue-and-brown journal, a Christmas gift from a dear friend

218.  Opportunity to share about journaling

219.  A friend who  just announced she's pregnant!  :-D

220.  Another dear friend and her husband who have wanted children for a while.  It's hard to be in that place, waiting for something so good, while trusting God's perfect timing.

"And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward."

~Matthew 10:42~

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Books Read in 2010

I haven't posted anything on my poor blog in ages, and it's time I put out something to anyone who might still want to read it. 

I've been slowing down lately, in the quiet of the new year, and today I thought to myself, "Self, what did you read this year?" One of my few well-kept habits is to record books I read.  Here they are. Some were re-reads of favorites, some were ho-hum, some were wonderful surprises, and some I even got around to reviewing. 

2010 -  Books Read by Rael 

Worlds Unseen - Rachel Starr Thomson
Burning Light  - Rachel Starr Thomson
Humility -  Andrew Murray
Passion and Purity - Elizabeth Elliot
Flatland - Edwin A. Abbitt
Till We Have Faces -  C. S. Lewis
Glaen - Fred Lybrand
The Last Thing I Remember - Andrew Klavan
The Long Way Home - Andrew Klavan
The Great Divorce -  C. S. Lewis
The Heavenly Man - Brother Yun with Paul Hattaway
The Final Quest - Rick Joyner
Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones
Dug Down Deep -  Joshua Harris
The Vanishing Sculptor - Donita K. Paul
Safely Home - Randy Alcorn
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness - Andrew Peterson
The Four Loves - C. S. Lewis
Calm My Anxious Heart - Linda Dillow
The Little Lame Prince - Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
North! Or Be Eaten -  Andrew Peterson
Dombey and Son - Charles Dickens
The Ordinary Princess - M. M. Kaye
The Truth of the Matter - Andrew Klavan

Hopefully more soon!  I really have missed blogging.  What sort of posts would you like to see here in the future?  (And what really good book should I read this year?)