Wednesday, January 23, 2008

When Breaks the Dawn

When Breaks the Dawn is a book by Janette Oke which continues a series that I started earlier. Previously, the main character Elizabeth and her husband Wynn had been stationed in far Northern Alberta in an Indian village. This book expands on their struggles, from Wynn's taxing job as an RCMP to Elizabeth's inability to get pregnant, though her best friend has had four pregnancies within three years, and her newlywed sister is also due. Frequently, as Indian mothers around them get sick or die, her and Wynn take in children and raise them as their own, but eventually the mothers get better, or the father remarries and wants their children back. Through all this, Elizabeth gets frustrated with God, not only that she can't conceive but that the children he gives her to care for are taken away.

Though I really can't relate to this particular struggle, I know there have been days in my life when God has seemed so far away. However, I always return to the same conclusion that Elizabeth had: God has stayed the same. It is I who has pushed him away. Though I can't say it's the best book I've ever read, each novel in this series is such a quick read (I started it yesterday) but has an important lesson. It's also really interesting to read about the settlement of Northern Canada, and the lifestyle in every season of the year, as well as some of the Indian customs and struggles with language barriers.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Polished Like Silver

My favorite household job is polishing silver. I can't even call it a chore. First off, it's only once every 6 months, so it's hardly a chore. Second, my mom never has to remind me. She usually doesn't even ask- it's one of the only things that I notice on my own.

So after I published my last blog entry, I pulled out all the silver and cleaner and layed towels out onto the floor. I had my iTunes on repeat on Relient K.

Now, I don't even really like Relient K. I love their lyrics, because I know a different point in my life where each of their songs fits, and it's nice thinking of where I've come from. However, musically speaking, their songs all sound the same.

Never the less, I was listening to them, my 7 Relient K songs on repeat. These lyrics popped out: "And this life sentence that I'm serving, I admit that I'm every bit deserving, but the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair."

Silver tarnishes naturally. It gets a nice dark film on it, but with one nice swipe with TarniShield and an old towel, it's shiney. Beautiful. I can see my reflection. It doesn't even have to ask. It's just a really neat image for grace that I wanted to share with you guys.

I think I'll take Relient K off repeat now...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Anne's House of Dreams

Today was a beautiful and relaxing day. It snowed all morning, leaving a good 4 or 5 inches everywhere through Calgary. My first task was to face our sewing machine. When Grandma Hutch's basement flooded a couple years ago, the insurance company got her a new sewing machine, but it was a computerized one, complete with automatic needle threader that takes two pages in the instruction manual to explain. It overwhelmed her so much, that we gave her ours, but it overwhelmed me so much I hadn't used it yet. I have just been going over to Grandma Wichert's to sew. But today it was conquered. It actually has some pretty nifty stitches pre-programmed in it (see pretty flowers to the right), so I messed with that. Then all afternoon I sat listening to the Anne's House of Deams audiobook and knitting Jessica's birthday present.

Anne's House of Dreams is a continuation of after Anne of Green Gables becomes Mrs. Anne Blythe. They move to Four Winds for Gilbert's job, and once there she meets Ms. Cornelia, a woman who is convinced men are lazy pigs, Captain Jim, a good-hearted old sailor who has a knack for telling stories, and Leslie, a sad girl who has spent the last 13 years nursing a man who she just found out is not her husband (sort of complicated). In true Anne of Green Gables spirit, there is beautiful imagery throughout the entire book.

An important lesson I got from the book is reassurance of something I have been pondering over the last year. At one point, Leslie says:
" 'You know me now, Anne- the worst of me- the barriers are all down. And you still want to be my friend?'
Anne looked up through the birches, at the white paper-lantern of a half moon drifting downwards to the gulf of sunset. Her face was very sweet.
'I am your friend and you are mine, for always,' she said."
Pastor Jim used to say you can't love someone unless they know you. I don't mean to say go tell everyone everything you've done in your life, but something I've realized through making new friends and life in general is you have to let go of some of your pride and let them help you through things. It makes you feel better because the burden is now shared, and it makes the other person feel better because they were trusted into your confidence for advice. Little Carrot Tops knows that the true mark of friendship is when you know the worst, and not that you don't care or are blind to it, but that it doesn't matter.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Status: Unemployed

I'm going through a really frustrating period right now. Everywhere we hear that Calgary has a need for employees. There are help wanted signs everywhere... so why can't I get a job?

I am being picky, I fully realize that, but I'm also not going to settle for a job I won't enjoy because I really don't need work right now. My weekly allowance covers everything, and I really don't spend nearly as much money as I used to. My only "social" spending is Starbucks once a week with Aneca and Justine, and I have figured out how to only spend $1.85- those glass bottle frappaccinos. I used to go to movies too much for my own good, but they're so expensive here that unless I really want to see something, I don't.

I applied at the Keg. They didn't need another expo.

I applied at Chapters. They never called back.

I applied at Traditional Pastimes Quilt shop. They didn't need help.

Neither did Watermill Bakery.

I babysat Benjamin (see previous posts) for a while, and learned a lot, but they moved in December.

Nectar is across town, so Mom doesn't want me to apply there. Understandable.

I'm trying to figure out what I'm supposed to learn through this. Patience, probably. But I feel like there's more than that. I really think my job in Texas was more than a coincidence, and I wanted to work there so badly, I remember begging mom to let me. Looking back, I find that so weird. Why would I want to hostess? It's completely out of my introverted personality. I'm going to be spending a lot of time at this new job; I bet you there's a reason He's holding out. Just like babysitting taught me a lot of important things I'll need to know later, I bet this job will too.

There's one more place I want to apply at... after that I have no idea. I'm going to head over there on Wednesday. Prayers would be appreciated.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Hills are Alive...

This afternoon I watched Sound of Music with Jessica. It's just the movie I needed to see. We bought the VHS when I was 5 (the same age as Gretl), and I watched it so much when I was little that the words are ingraved in my head. Even though the last time I saw it was probably 4 years ago, I could still sing along, and I knew a lot of the lines. The thing that makes me laugh the most when I see it is when the Reverand Mother tells Maria that she's going to be the governness of seven children, and she responds:
Maria: "Seven Children!"
Rev Mother: "Don't you like children, Maria?"
Maria: "Well yes, but seven!"

The first time I watched this movie, I was five and sitting next to my mom. I actually remember turning to her and asking, "Can someone have seven children?" I remember being astounded, that it was possible. At that age, I knew a couple families with 3 or 4, but I don't remember any bigger than that.

Before we watched the movie today, I remembered that same astounded feeling, and was expecting, I don't know... 11, 12 children. When she said seven, this time my responce was, "That's it?" I can't believe that seven children baffled me. Don't get me wrong, that is a lot, but now I know a couple families with at least 7. One family from my mom's hometown had 22 from the same parents. It's interesting how our perspectives change.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Another Resolution...

The other day, the lovely Susanna C asked me my favorite book. I pulled out a tattered edition of Redeeming Love, and tried to best summarize the wonderful novel. After her and Matthew left the next day, I picked it up and read it. All 465 pages of it in two days. It is still an amazing book- things like that don't change- but beyond reminding me of my priorities and bringing me to an amazing discovery (that I may write about one day. maybe), it rekindled my love for reading.
Then today, I was reading an article on the Young Ladies' Christian Fellowship, and Natalie's resolution to read 10 books (10 not so easy books...) in the next year. Seeing as I read over 400 pages in 2 days, I figured I could take the challenge. I have an ongoing "To-read list" as you may notice to the right, which I have updated. So, here's the plan:

I am going to read all those books, before university (September 2009).
Here's the order, with a bit of detail about why I chose them:
1) The Bible: Something I need to do first. I've never read the whole thing, and I need to. I will be doing this while reading the other books. And when I'm done, again. And again.
2) Anne's House of Dreams: Book 3 of Anne of Green Gables Series. I have already started it, so it's a bit of a priority.
3)When Breaks the Dawn & When Hope Springs New: I've read the first two books of the series, and enjoyed it. And it annoys me to not finish a series.
4) Five Little Peppers: This was on Natalie's list of reccomeded books, and the title is SO familiar, but I can't place it! I don't know if I've read it when I was younger, or if it was alluded to in something else I've read. I don't know, but I'm looking forward to finding out. From the Wikipedia summary, it sounds like a light-hearted story, like Michael O'Halloran.
5) Rest of the Chronicles of Narnia series: Matthew gave us the audio books, which will be very handy. Plus, I've already read the first two, and like I said, I need to finish a series!
6) Vanity Fair and Brother's Karamazov: Classics. As Tony Jones put it (the guy who originally made me want to read Brother's Karamazov years ago. eek) "The Brothers Karamazov is not easy to read. While it's informative... and entertaining... those reasons alone probably aren't enough to get anyone through all 920 pages. We read a book like the Brothers Karamazov because by its beauty and profundity, it changes us. We become better having read it. We better understand who we are as sinful human beings, and we better undrstand our deep need for the relationships with God," (Jones; Read, Think, Pray, Live; 19-20) [By the way, if anyone is looking for a good book for themselves, Read, Think, Pray, Live is my next favorite book after Redeeming Love.]
7) Wind in the Willows: I read it when I was little, and a nice, lighthearted novel thrown in here would be welcome!
8) The Princess and the Goblin: Haha, I love this movie. Kassi and I watched it the first night she moved in, and it's probably the reason we hit it off so well in the beginning. I didn't know it was a book, but Natalie had it on her reccomended list.
9) A Little Princess: Another princess book, and good movie!
10) Heidi: I love Shirley Temple's version. Why am I picking books off of movies???
11) Wives and Daughters: Another classic with an intreiging title.
12) The Hobbit: Similar to the Narnia series, I started reading this when I was very little, got scared, and have never opened it again. Looking forward to overcoming my reading fears and avoiding potential future mocking.
13) The Agony and the Ecstacy: Going to try it again! Hopefully after all these books, I'll be so motivated I won't notice what I'm reading. Don't get me wrong, it's an interesting book. Just long, with very tiny print...

I plan to write a bit about each one when I finish them (and with each book of the Bible, since that is actually a compilation of 66 books). Considering after a week I won't have much school for the rest of January, I should be able to finish Anne's house of Dreams and When Breaks the Dawn/When Hope Springs New. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 04, 2008


Last Sunday, our church had a period of aloud prayer. I really don't like those, because I feel it focuses on outward appearance of a personal relationship with God, rather than inward growth. I think prayer should be private, either with an individual or small group. Our pastor had mentioned all the different names of Jesus- Lamb, King of Kings, Alpha, Omega, etc. So it was interesting everything people were saying.
However, one "prayer" really got me. While someone else was praying, a little toddler called out "Da-da." At first I just tried to block it out like I usually do with toddlers squeeks in church, and stay focused, but I realized, that is God. He is my dad.
I really dislike things like "Jesus is my homeboy" shirts, because it's so disrespectful, but my Father is protective and knows what's best for me. My New Year's resolution is to spend more time with my Da-da.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Reading List

Read the Printed Word!

Have Read:
The Secret Garden (June 19, 2008)
The Silver Chair (June 24, 2008)
The Last Battle (June 24, 2008)
Dr. Jackyl and Mr. Hyde (June 29, 2008)
Here Be Dragons (August 5, 2008)
Blue Like Jazz (reread August 16, 2008)
Winnie-the-Pooh (August 24, 2008)
Me, Myself, and Bob (October 19, 2008)
Face to Face (Sammon)(November 17, 2008)
Crazy Love (December 2, 2008)
Original Sin: A Cultural History (December 17, 2008)
Alas, Babylon (reread December 30, 2008)
Romeo and Juliet (reread January 2, 2009)
Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life (January 12, 2009)
Escape (Jessop) (January 13, 2009)
Letters to a Young Mathematician (February 14, 2009)
The Mystery of Marriage (March 30, 2009)
Persuasion (Austen)(April 7, 2009)
Princeton Review's Cracking the AP World History Exam (April 14, 2009)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to World History (April 14, 2009)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to US History (April 29, 2009)
McGraw Hill's 5 Steps to a 5: US History (April 29, 2009)
Why Pro-Life? (May 10, 2009)
The Well-Trained Mind (June 9, 2009)
The Atonement Child (Rivers) (July 2009)
The Know-It-All (sometime late summer 2009)
Someone Knows My Name (Hill)(September 2009)
The Numerati (December 17, 2009)
Preface of Christmas (December 18, 2009)
The Intimate Marriage (Sproul), (December 22, 2009)
What is Reformed Theology? (Sproul)(December 23, 2009)
Lewis Carroll in Numberland (December 27, 2009)
In Code (Sarah Flannery) (January 1, 2010)
Sense and Sensibility (Austen) (January 21, 2010)
What He Must Be (Baucham) (February 23, 2010)
Passchendaele (Gross) (April 9, 2010)
The Four Loves (Lewis) (reread April 18, 2010)
The Secret Lives of Saints (Bramham) (May 7, 2010)
Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare) (reread May 25, 2010)
Emma (Austen) (June 30, 2010)
Prodigal God (July 12, 2010)
Twelve Extraordinary Women (MacArthur) (July 14, 2010)
Love and Friendship (Austen) (July 17, 2010)
The Three Sisters (Austen) (July 17, 2010)
Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) (August 26, 2010)
Columbine (Cullen) (September 2, 2010)
Julie and Julia (Powell) (September 4, 2010)
Grace Abounding (Bunyan) (September 5, 2010)
The Swiss Family Robinson (Wyss)(September 18, 2010)
Contact (Sagan) (December 26, 2010)
Christianity's Dangerous Idea (McGrath) (January 3, 2011)
City Farmer (Johnson) (January 20, 2011)
Dragon's Lair (Penman) (February 1, 2011)
The Birth House (McKay) (February 25, 2011)
The Fruit of Her Hands (Wilson) (March 6, 2011)
For a Glory and a Covering (March 27, 2011)
Reforming Marriage (Wilson)
When Sinners Say I Do (June 18, 2011)

Currently Reading:
The Bible- Exodus (reading through sequentially, NIV or ESV, depending on which I have with me)
Emma (Austen)
The Birth Partner (Simkin)

Will Read:

Pilgrim's Progress (part 2 left)
When Hope Springs New
Brother's Karamazov
Wind in the Willows
A Little Princess
My Heart is in the Lowlands
Wives and Daughters
The Hobbit
The Agony and the Ecstacy
Thorn in My Heart
Fair Is the Rose
Whence Came a Prince
Grace in Thine Eyes
Scottish Chiefs
The Wallace
The Art of Practicing
Fatal Misconception
Symposium A Severe Mercy
Jane Eyre
Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy
Lysbeth, A Tale of the Dutch
Plain Truth
Tolstoy or Dostoevsky: An Essay in the Old Criticism
Collected Poems 1943-2004 (Richard Wilbur)
Plain Secrets
Fatal Misconception (at pg. 154)

Bruce Dodd's Reading List (To Read)
The Knowledge of the Holy (Tozer)
Daws: The Story of Dawson Trotman (Skinner)
Uncle Cam: The Story of William Cameron Townsend (Hefley)
Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret (Taylor)
Escape from Reason (Schaeffer)
The God Who Is There (Schaeffer)
He Is There and He Is Not Silent (Schaeffer)
True Spirituality (Schaeffer)
Power Through Prayer (Bounds)
Humility: The Beauty of Holiness (Murray)
The Calvary Road (Hession)
Basic Theology (Ryrie)
Explore the Book (Baxter)
Methodical Bible Study (Traina)
The Strong and the Weak (Tournier)

Will Read Again
My Sister's Keeper
Queen of Camelot

Updated: March 15, 2011