Laudable Linkage

This is my first chance in a couple of weeks to share noteworthy reads discovered around the web in that time. Enjoy!

A Case For Christian Magnanimity.

The Hero of the Story Is Always God.

Why Doesn’t Our Faith Move Mountains?

The Providence of God in History.

5 Christian Cliches That Need to Die.

When Does Old Age Arrive? I’m facing a milestone birthday next year, and I found this very encouraging.

Mothers in the Church.

Learning to Let Go. “Even though a parent’s spiritual influence is so important, I was never meant to fill the place that only God can in my daughter’s life. He is a better teacher, protector, and guide than I can ever be.”

Which Expired Foods Are Okay to Eat.

And a few concerning the holiday season:

Evangelism, the Holidays, and My Atheist Grandpa.

5 Ways to Make the Holidays More Peaceful.

Navigating Family Tensions at the Holidays.

The Problem With Our Holly Jolly Christmas Songs.

No wonder our pets get confused sometimes.🙂

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And finally, this brought a smile that I am sure my fellow Southerners will understand:

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Happy Saturday!

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Friday’s Fave Five

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It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

It’s been a super-busy week here, and I think it must be nearly everywhere. Most of the blogs I read have been fairy quiet since Thanksgiving. December ushers in some extra tasks, but they’re fun ones for the most part. Here are the favorite parts of the last week:

1. Decorating for Christmas. My little grandson’s family has an artificial tree, so they came along with us so he could have the experience of shopping for a live one. Then they brought over apple cider and donuts and made lunch while we decorated. Timothy had a lot of fun opening boxes of ornaments and decorations and helping set them out.

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“This looks like a good one!”

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Tall uncles help us reach the high places.🙂

2. Cyber shopping. We got the great bulk of the the Christmas shopping done between Black Friday and Cyber Monday online, and I think I got most of the rest of it done in town today. I think it is fun to get out in stores a little bit, but I really love shopping online. Came across some good deals, too!

3. Another eBay auction win. While looking at the linens I mentioned last week that go along with my Pfaltzgraf Tea Rose dishes, I saw a couple of casserole dishes listed as well. I kept an eye on them til the auction was due to close this week and got them for about $8 each! And now I am staying away from eBay for a while….

4. Rain. This area has been so abnormally dry for months now, and we got a little rain last week, but one day this week we got 6″ in one day. There have been so many fires in the area, the most recent being in the Gatlinburg area, as I am sure many of you have heard. We need more good, soaking rains.

5. A printer at church that folds and staples. I compile a ladies’ booklet once a month for church, and I used to have to go in after it was printed to staple and fold them. We don’t live close to our church, and sometimes it was a nice excursion out alone, but sometimes when life was busy it put a crunch in the schedule. A few months ago the church got a new printer that assembles and staples them all, and I haven’t thought to mention it til now. At first I still felt like I should go over and make sure they all came out all right, but I resisted. With a busy week like this one, it was really nice not to have to.

I hope your first few days of December and your Christmas preparations are going well!

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What’s On Your Nightstand: November 2016

What's On Your NightstandThe folks at 5 Minutes For Books host What’s On Your Nightstand? the last Tuesday of each month in which we can share about the books we have been reading and/or plan to read.

For WOYN purposes, I always like when the last Tuesday of the month ends up actually near the end of it. November has been an extremely fast-moving month, but I got to dip into some reading here and there.

Since last time I have completed:

I’m Still Here: A New Philosophy of Alzheimer’s Care by John Zeisel, reviewed here. I especially liked the tone in this book.

Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World by Carolyn McCulley, reviewed here. Excellent and eye-opening.

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner, reviewed here. Two timelines intersect: A modern reporter interviews a reclusive artist and hears a story about two girls making their way into London on the day the Blitz began. A real page-turner!

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin, reviewed here. Excellent modern-day prodigal son story.

The Silver Suitcase by Terrie Todd, reviewed here. A woman in the midst of myriad problems is given her grandmother’s silver suitcase, containing her diaries. She finds her sweet, faith-filled grandmother had actually hated God at one point, and discovers what changed her. A bit of wonky angelology, but the story was good.

The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson, reviewed here. A 15th century Germany retelling of the Frog Prince.

I’m currently reading:

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell

The Voice of Experience: Stories About Health Care and the Elderly by Samuel and Jane K. Brody

From Heaven: A 28-Day Advent Devotional by A. W. Tozer

A Sandy’s Seashell Shop Christmas by Lisa Wingate

And a reread, The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs

Up Next:

Finding Father Christmas/Engaging Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn

A Patchwork Christmas Collection by Judith Miller, Nancy Moser, and Stephanie Grace Whitson

The Christmas Violin by Buffy Andrews

If I get done with those, I still have plenty of books stacked up on my shelves ans well as in my Kindle app. Happy reading!

 

 

 

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Book Review: The Princess Spy

In most versions of The Frog Prince, the princess is proud, spoiled, and condescending. The frog recovers a lost ball for her, and in return asks to be taken to her house, eat from her plate, and sleep on her bed. In the version I listened to last year, she got disgusted and threw him against a wall, after which he transformed into a prince. In other versions she tolerates him until he transforms, and then, of course, they fall in love and live happily ever after.

princess-spyIn this retelling, The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson, set in 15th century Germany, 18-year-old Margaretha is the oldest daughter of a duke. She isn’t spoiled, but she tends to talk a lot, especially when she’s nervous. A number of suitors have come and left her home, but none seemed right to her. Currently Lord Claybrook has been visiting, and she thinks he wears weird hats and talks about things she’s not interested in, but she’s trying to get to know him better and give him the benefit of the doubt.

Meanwhile a severely injured young man has been found and taken to the healer. He only speaks English, and Margaret can understand and converse in it well enough, so she serves as translator for him. When he carries on about needing to speak to the duke, but can’t say why or reveal who he is, she thinks his ravings are coming from his injury. When he finally convinces her to do a bit of eavesdropping for him, she finds that he’s right about the danger her family and town are in. But her father and brother are away, and together she and the stranger escape to find and warn them.

Since these are realistic stories, I wondered how the author was going to portray the frog prince himself without any magic changing of form. That ended up being humorous, but I won’t spill the secret here.

In many ways, this is a fairly typical fairly tale romance, except that Margaretha is pluckier than many heroines in this genre, even to the point of bashing guards in the head with a candlestick in her escape, and the addition of an orphan boy rescued along the way. I’ve enjoyed many of Melanie’s books in the past, and this was a nice, clean read, but it just seemed – almost a little cliche for me. I saw on Amazon that it was listed as a teen/young adult novel, which I hadn’t realized before, and that may be one reason the writing just seemed a little “younger” to me than usual. I didn’t get that vibe from the others, though.

I hadn’t realized at first that some of the characters had appeared in previous stories. It had been a while since I had read them, but as I looked at descriptions of them at the end of the book, they came back to me.

One aspect I especially liked was Margaretha’s learning the difference between panic praying and actively trusting while praying.

All in all, not an unpleasant read, but not one that blew me away, either.

Genre: Christian fiction
Potential objectionable elements: None
My rating: 7 out of 10

(Sharing at Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books)

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Friday’s Fave Five

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It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

It’s officially the Christmas season! At least, I count the day after Thanksgiving as the beginning, though I’ve cheated a little bit by listening to some Christmas music already. And though winter isn’t officially proclaimed for a few weeks yet, winter weather has arrived here with several nights down in the 20s. But as I write this, it’s warm and cozy inside and I’m ready to think over highlights of the past week.

1. Making and giving ornaments to Timothy, discussed with more pictures here. His parents put his own little Christmas tree up and asked me to make some ornaments for it. I think he likes them.🙂

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2. Rain. We’re still way behind the amount of rain we need, but we did get some this week with more forecast for next week.

3. Winning eBay auctions. I don’t do a whole lot with eBay, but somehow I came across a sale of some hand towels and hot pads that match my Pfaltzgraf Tea Rose pattern dishes. Some of the dishes and accessories can be found thee pretty easily, but linens are rare. I was watching the countdown of each bid and even got into a bidding war on one item – but I won them all. It was rather exciting! Thankfully they were all from one seller, so she combined them with a lower shipping price than stated.

4. Shelves. My husband put up shelves in Jason and Mittu’s garage and had a couple left. He asked me if I wanted them in the laundry room. At first I didn’t think so, but the more I thought about it, the better the idea sounded. I was so pleased with them! All that stuff was either on top of the dryer or on a counter. Much neater now!

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5. Thanksgiving. I so enjoyed the emphasis on remembering our blessings and thanking God for them, the time with family, and the delicious food we had been looking forward to for weeks!

Last week I mentioned being thankful that the big tree our neighbors were having cut down didn’t fall on the fence, or, worse yet, the house. I didn’t have a picture then, but here it is now. As you can tell, it came awfully close!

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Hope you’ve had a great week! Happy Friday!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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More Than a Day

As Thanksgiving Day rolls around,
It brings up some facts, quite profound.
We may think that we’re poor,
Feel like bums, insecure,
But in truth, our riches astound.

We have friends and family we love;
We have guidance from heaven above.
We have so much more
Than they sell in a store,
We’re wealthy, when push comes to shove.

So add up your blessings, I say;
Make Thanksgiving last more than a day.
Enjoy what you’ve got;
Realize it’s a lot,
And you’ll make all your cares go away.

By Karl Fuchs

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To give thanks is not the same as “feeling thankful.” To give thanks in the midst of pain and problems is to take a step of faith based on the command of 1 Thessalonians 5:18: God tells us to give thanks in all circumstances (not just those we can handle or feel on top of). For what things can you give thanks, even while you’re hurting? ~ Joni Eareckson Tada

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(This leaf is among free printables at Blooming Homestead. The first and third pictures are from crosscards.com.)

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We have so much to be thankful for!
Hope you have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving Day!

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Book Review: Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World

radical-womanhoodI got Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World by Carolyn McCulley some years ago when I caught it on sale – both because it was on sale and because I have enjoyed some of Carolyn’s writing in the past. It’s been on my TBR shelf ever since, and every now and then when I’ve noticed it, I’ve wondered why I keep getting books on this topic when I’ve already studied it out in Scripture and read several books on it and pretty much have nailed down my views. I guess because it’s one of my main interests. But I was compelled to pick it up recently (maybe due to guilt for its having been there so long) – and I was extremely glad I did.

Carolyn comes at the topic from a different angle than I have read in the past, and that makes for a refreshing viewpoint. She grew up as an unbeliever and a full-blown feminist. Her world changed completely when she became a Christian at 29, and attending church was a major culture shock. Over time and through her own study of the Bible and the preaching and teaching of it by her church, she came to different conclusions about womanhood than she had been raised with. She wrote this book partly because she wished her 30 year old self had had something like it to help her navigate through the conflicting viewpoints, but also because she discovered in her speaking engagements that a lot of women didn’t know what the Bible said plus didn’t know how our feminist-influenced culture got where it is today.

The eight chapters are divided by topic, with a history of feminism related to that topic, a Biblical perspective, and a testimony from different women about living out that particular aspect of Biblical femininity.

She points out that feminism did address some serious needs and inequalities, but then went too far. “There’s a difference between restoring God-given rights to women and setting women above both men and God. The history of the feminist movement shows that one led to another–and much earlier than the 1960s” (p. 32).

Abigail Adams wrote to her husband in 1776 concerning the fact that women were not equal in legal status to men and urging him to “remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power in the hands of husbands…Men of sense in all ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your sex; regard us then as being placed by Providence under your protection, and in imitation of the Supreme Being make use of that power only for our happiness” (p. 32). She “was not suggesting that women should throw off every aspect of feminine existence, trashing the roles of wives and mothers. She simply wanted laws that recognized women as fully legal, adult entities in this new nation” (p. 33). She predicted that failure would “foment a rebellion” in which women would “not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation” (p. 32). Unfortunately, though they had a “close and loving marriage,” he “did not take her seriously on this point” (p. 33).

Her prediction proved true, though. By 1848 the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention met and compiled a “Declaration of Sentiments” including a list of their grievances.

These grievances led to needed reforms in education, marriage, suffrage, and employment for women. But mixed in with those needed social reforms was a challenge to Christianity–its church governance, biblical teaching, and community service…eventually [leading] to the destruction of biblically defined concepts of God, sin, gender differences, marriage, and more (p. 36).

Carolyn deftly details the history of feminism from there, comparing it to what the Scripture actually teaches, and providing some background information on some of its activists. I was surprised to learn–though I shouldn’t have been–that some of feminism’s most strident voices had distinctly anti-Christian views at the core of their philosophies.

I have many more places marked than I can quote here, but here are just a few quotes that stood out to me:

All my previous feminist philosophies resulted in merely kicking at the darkness, expecting it would bleed daylight. But Scripture says it is by God’s light that we see light (Psalm 36:9) (p. 26).

The irony of Stanton’s claims is that when the Bible is actually properly taught, history shows that women’s status improves (p. 38).

Spiritual battles are won or lost in the day-to-day thoughts we harbor. Ideas matter! (p. 59).

Every one of us is prone to agree with Satan’s character assassination of God. We often chafe at the good boundaries God has given us. We are easily tempted to think the worst of God. And we doubt that what God has provided is anywhere near as good as what He has restricted. In some ways, we may have more in common with self-proclaimed feminists than we may realize (p. 60).

Back to my beginning thoughts about why I should read a book like this when I’ve already studied it out, Carolyn had this to say:

If you are a longtime Christian, I pray you will be refreshed in your commitment to these godly principles. Biblical womanhood is not a one-size-fits-all mold. It’s not about certain dress styles, Jane Austen movies, tea parties, quiet voices, and exploding floral patterns…or whatever stereotype you are picturing right now. To live according to biblical principals today requires women to be bold enough to stand against philosophies and strongholds that seek to undermine God’s Word and His authority (p. 29).

This was quite an eye-opening book for me. Though every chapter was interesting and filled with information, most interesting to me was the one on the home and it’s history from home-based businesses producing goods to consuming goods, and the fact that my beloved major, home economics, was originally an outgrowth of Social Darwinism!

I wouldn’t agree with just every little thing taught by every Christian leader Carolyn quotes, but I don’t recall coming across anything I would consider a glaring error in the book.

I feel like I have only shared the tip of the iceberg and haven’t done this book justice. Let’s just say I highly recommend it.

Genre: Christian non-fiction
My rating: 10 out of 10.

(Sharing with Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books)

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