Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Yarnalong: Rocio Cardigan and "Mudhouse Sabbath"

I'm linking up with Ginny, over at Small Things, who says, "Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading . . . I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?"

The knitting: I'm still knitting the Rocio Cardigan, and I've made a lot of progress. I finished the lace panel and now I'm knitting the body. 
The book: I'm reading "Mudhouse Sabbath", by Lauren Winner. It's really interesting: she discusses Jewish traditions and spiritual practices in the light of her conversion to Christianity. I especially appreciate the way she describes the Jewish traditions regarding mourning, and how they have an understanding of the time grief takes and the way the person mourning needs to be in community. I feel like I'm learning a lot - and having a pleasant time at it, too, because Winner has such light, easy prose.

What are you reading and making?

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link; if you purchase a book from this link, I receive a small percentage of the purchase price.  (See full disclosure on sidebar of my blog.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

new books!

One of the best parts of my new job is this:

Getting new books in the mail!

It's a nice little mix of books from Doulos Resources, our parent publisher, and Kalos Press, the imprint I work on.

The first one is "God in the Sink: Essays from Toad Hall", by Margie Haack.  This was the first title I got to work on when I joined Kalos last fall, and it was almost ready to go to print when I first saw it.  Margie's a lovely writer, and it was a joy to have such a good book be my introduction to the job of a general editor!

Margie's one of those writers who can write about ordinary life and you see the beauty shining through it. She's also got a disarming candor that draws you in and makes you feel like you're no longer alone, but in good company. She's also been in ministry for so many years, that she has some un-ordinary stories, too!

The second one is "Naked and Unashamed: Exploring the Way the Good News of Jesus Transforms Intimacy", by Rob Toornstra.  I've just started this one, and I'm already encouraged by his approach, which is to focus on what is good about sex, and not just about the "thou shalt not's".  He promises describe a positive theology of sexuality and I?  I am intrigued.

The last one is "One Enduring Story: A Basic Guide to Safely Navigating the Biblical Terrain", by Christopher M. Morgan.  I haven't started this one yet, but I love books consider together the messages of the Old and New Testament, so I'm looking forward to reading Morgan's take on the message of the whole Bible.

Peace of Christ,
Jessica Snell

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link; if you purchase a book from this link, I receive a small percentage of the purchase price.  (See full disclosure on sidebar of my blog.)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Book Notes: "The Cherokee Trail", by Louis L'Amour

I've admired Louis L'Amour for awhile on merits of his work ethic alone: the man wrote a lot of books and he really did his research.

But the truth is that I hadn't read his work. Though there are Westerns I've enjoyed (I'm looking at you, Tombstone), I thought that, in general, I "didn't like Westerns".

I was wrong. Westerns are great. And L'Amour is amazing.

The Cherokee Trail is about a woman - a widow with a young daughter - who travels to Colorado to take up the job promised to her deceased husband. She has no other choice, and she has to make this work.

I loved it.  I loved watching her learn about the land and the people. I loved watching her use what she'd learned in her previous life and adapt those skills to the new life she'd taken out of necessity.  I loved the hint of romance and the overwhelming heroism of her and the other good people on the frontier.

It was just a good book.  What gets me is just how compulsively readable this book was.  This is what good fiction does: it makes it easy to turn the page.

Recommended to anyone looking to pass a few hours with a good story, well-told.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. (See full disclosure on sidebar of my blog.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Weekly Links: Rainbow Recipes, Horror vs. Terror, and more!

Some good reading for your weekend:

"27 Rainbow Recipes that Will Bring Joy to Your Life": So pretty.

"Why the Shift from Horror to Terror on 'CSI' Is a Problem":
There is a fine line between accurate storytelling—wherein a crime show might show some violence to tell an honest story about the consequences of wrongdoing—and gratuitous depiction, in which violence is portrayed not for the sake of the story but for the spectacle of it. 
"Fittest Type of All Disciples: Bartholomew/Nathanael":
Because of the way Nathanael is brought to Jesus, commentator Rudolf Stier calls Nathanel "the fittest type of all disciples." God has already been at work on him in multiples ways; he is summoned by the witness of another disciple; and he is introduced directly to Jesus, converted by his word. Nathanael's faith is the occasion of Jesus first "truly, truly I say to you" statement.
"Mincemeat: on Writing":
As a writer and a mother of two children, I thought I didn't have any spare time. And then we added twins to our family, and I wondered what I used to do with all that spare time. 
"The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think":
. . . human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It's how we get our satisfaction. If we can't connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find -- the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about 'addiction' altogether, and instead call it 'bonding.' A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn't bond as fully with anything else. 
So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.
"Am I Empty?":
Empty.  It needs to be said.  Infertility and miscarriage leave one empty.  There is pain.  There is loss. Someone is missing. That needs to be acknowledged. Years later, there are scars.  I felt it then; I feel them now.  I contemplated the starkness of the word, the label.  My label.  My label?

"Measles Is Horrible":
Before the vaccine, the United States saw approximately 4 million cases of measles each year and 400 to 500 deaths. These are the stats that vaccine-deniers tend to emphasize—a relatively low number of deaths compared with the number of infections. However, those statistics alone leave out a big part of measles infections. Prevaccine, almost 48,000 people were also hospitalized each year because of measles and measles complications. One in 20 of those infected developed pneumonia. More rarely but more seriously, each year 1,000 became chronically disabled due to measles encephalitis
Measles is not a benign disease.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Luke 10: Passive Questions and Active Questions in the story of the Good Samaritan

Jacopo Bassano, The Good Samaritan, via Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

In Luke 10, we read the story of the Good Samaritan. And though I've heard this story over and over again in my life, this last time I went through it, I noticed something new.

I noticed that the question the lawyer asks Jesus ("Who is my neighbor?") is not quite the same question that Jesus asks back at the end of the parable ("Who was a neighbor?", or, "which of these . . . proved to be a neighbor . . .?")

The Lawyer's Question
The lawyer asks a question that requires no action on his part, if that makes sense. He's not asking who he is, he's asking who other people are to him.

Jesus' Question
But - and I'd never quite noticed this before - Jesus doesn't answer his question. Not exactly. Jesus doesn't tell him, exactly, who his neighbor is.

Jesus tells him about a man choosing to be a neighbor.

In other words, the lawyer asks, "How do I know which people are my neighbors?"

And Jesus says, "By what fruit is a  neighbor known?"

The Command, and it's not just for the lawyer, but also for us . . .
And then, of course, "Go thou, and do likewise."

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Friday, January 16, 2015

Recently-tried Recipes

Cooking is one of those things that just has to happen in order for life to go on (and it can't always be as simple as the cheese, crackers, and grapes pictured above), but I've found I enjoy the necessity a lot more when I try new things. So, in that spirit, here are some recipes I've tried recently, along with a short review of each:

"Chicken, Bacon, and Corn Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette":  This was sooooo good. And I prepared most of it separately so the kids could pick and choose what they wanted and what they didn't, and so it worked pretty well as a family dinner, too.

"Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad": This one I made for a Sunday potluck at church. It was great! I kept everything separate until right before we served up, and that worked really well.

"Crab and Corn Chowder, with Bacon and Jalapeno": This is one I made just for me - my family is not such a big fan of seafood. But I thought this was AMAZING. So yummy.  I didn't mind not sharing. :)

"Warm, Spiced Sangria": I made this for Thanksgiving, and it was so good, and so well-received, that I made it for Christmas too.  Highly recommended. (But perhaps to0 delicious and wonderful for anything but a feast!)

"Over-the-top Creamed Brussels Sprouts Gratin": this really is over-the-top.  Another Thanksgiving recipe: it was perfect for a feast, but too much for every day. (It starts with frying bacon IN butter - how could it be anything BUT a feast recipe?)

"Garlic Noodles": this, on the other hand, is a lovely work-a-day sort of a recipe. The kids loved it.  Add some veggies & leftover chicken, and you've got a perfect weekday lunch.

Have you tried any new recipes recently?

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Thursday, January 15, 2015

More on God's Judgment

I've been thinking more about God’s judgment. I’ve been noticing a lot in my Bible readings lately, that the evil “withhold judgment” (esp. from the poor, the widow, the orphaned), and the righteous “judge justly”, and that the epitome of the “righteous judge” is the Lord Himself.  Judgment is not a bad thing in the Bible, it's a good thing. It's what the people of God long for. It's what the psalmists beg for over and over.

And yet “I am afraid of your judgments”. Because it’s wise to be so.

The righteous long for the just judgment of God, but that just judgment is also the reason that they greatly fear Him.

As they should.

And this is all good. This is all so good. Amen, come soon, Lord Jesus.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell