Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Yarnalong: Jaywalkers and "The Penderwicks"

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 knitting another pair of Jaywalkers, this time for my mother.  (I wrote about my first pair of Jaywalkers here and here.)  

This pair is a belated birthday present - I only finished the first of the socks yesterday. Don't worry, my mom knows they're coming! And given our present heatwave, she's happy to wait for them. :)  (No one's wearing socks here right now for the fun of it. Blah. 90 degree heat is a sure sign of fall, right?)

The reading:
I've started reading "The Penderwicks" to my kids as our evening reading. My mom started reading this to the kids during one of our camping trips this summer. Now that I've finished our last family read-aloud (John White's "Gaal the Conquerer"), I've taking up "The Penderwicks" where Mom left off.

It's so good. It reminds me of my own childhood reads - particularly of Elizabeth Enright's books, like "The Four Story Mistake". It's a summer book, full of sibling love and country life and the world of the imagination.

One of the reasons I love this book is that my children beg for it. They want to listen to these books more than they want another episode of TV.

That's brilliant. 

I love books that teach my children to love books. And they love it because there's something there to love: there's family and joy and adventures.

Great book. Loving it.

So, what are you knitting or reading?

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.)

Friday, September 25, 2015

"Tattered and Mended", by Cynthia Ruchti

Cynthia Ruchti is more than a talented author (though she is that).

She is more than a skilled writer of flawless prose (though she is that).

She is a dear friend, a kind mentor, and a generous woman who overflows with encouraging words and the love of her Savior.

She's given of her self, her time, and her talent to me (and to so many others I know), without expecting a thing in return, and getting her latest book in the mail was a real joy.

I know this woman practices what she preaches, and that her life bears out the message of hope she shares.

Here's a bit of a blurb about this book:
In Tattered and Mended, author Cynthia Ruchti offers and invitation to think about soul-mending as a divine art form, to show us that God doesn't just heal wounded souls, he heals artfully.
Congratulations on your new release, Cynthia!  I can't wait to read it all.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

p.s. Okay, I have to add this: there's a story of mine in this book! Not "a story" like a short story, but just a little bit of my life that I shared with Cynthia. I told her about a special needlework project I did - repairing an old wedding gift for a friend - and she took that simple story and drew the most amazing meaning out of it about mending tattered souls. If you want to take a peek at that part of the book, it starts on page 96.  :)

Cynthia & me at a retreat last fall

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Weekly Links: Rejection, Pluto, Achilles, and more!

My weekly round-up of interesting links from around the Web!

"Ranks of the Rejected: Josh Vogt": I've been enjoying the Rejectomancy blog for awhile now, but I particularly liked this quotation from his interview with Josh Vogt:
[My first rejection letter] didn’t surprise me at all. It acted like a milestone in my fledgling writing career because it meant I was actually doing what I needed to do: write stories and submit them to publications.

"The Full Armor of Achilles to Withstand Odysseus (Eph. 6)":
Because as Paul wrote these ideas down in Greek, it’s very likely that the Greek classics were part of his specifically literary equipment. Lines of Homer were so pervasive in elementary education in the Greco-Roman world that children would practice their letters by writing Homeric sentences. And once you pick up on the way Homer describes warfare, you notice some particular expressions and conventions that help explain some of Ephesians 6’s peculiar phrasing.

"A Philosophy of Internet Safety":
The main line of defense against cyber bullying is not to avoid the internet, but to be in control of your identity on it.

"New, Gorgeous, Pictures of Pluto":  The title pretty much says it all!

And, finally, some exciting news from Ranee, a longtime friend of this blog: her knitting pattern "Saint Catherine of Alexandria" has just been released in "One-Skein Wonders for Babies: 101 Knitting Projects for Infants and Toddlers."

Congratulations, Ranee!  The pattern is so cute!  (You can see several pictures of it if you head over to Ranee's blog.)

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.)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Book Notes: "The Forty-Niners", by William Weber Johnson (from Time-Life's Old West series)

"The Forty-Niners", by William Weber Johnson, is part of Time-Lifer's Old West series.

I treasure this series, as I've noted before, because they're full of stories culled from letters and journal entries and other ephemera of the times. It's one thing to get a dry recitation of facts and dates, and another to hear about the flavor of the times from the people who actually lived in them.

I especially enjoyed this volume because it was full of stories of my home state, California. I love knowing more about the place where I live.

I've been to places that are mentioned in this book. I've seen what they look like almost two hundred years past the time this book chronicles.

I've been to Downieville, a beautiful little mining town up in the Sierra Nevada, and reading about how it started as a rude collection of tents and shanties, populated by men who desperately hoped to make their fortunes . . . it fires my imagination. I can picture it, I can see it.

I've been to San Francisco, and reading about how once upon a time its harbor was full of abandoned ships, their masts piercing the skies, no one to sail them home, because all the sailors had jumped ship and run to the gold fields up in the mountains . . . it put that hilly, foggy, beautiful city in a completely new light for me.

I don't know how a historian would view this series of books because I'm not a historian. But as a simple reader, I loved them. I love hearing the stories of people who lived very long ago . . . but not so far away.

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.)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

submission & Christ & wives

This is a very short thought. I'm sorry; I'm sure there should be much more to this thought. I hope I'll finish thinking it in the days to come.

(Also, I'm sure - very, very sure - that this is not an original thought. At all. But now is the time I'm thinking it, so now is the time I'm writing about it!)

Here it is:

Christ submitted to the Father. In fact, His whole mission on earth was marked by submission. It's all through the gospels.

So it seems like the call for women to submit to their husbands must be, in some way, about following in the footsteps of Christ.

Men are worse than God the Father, of course. Much, much, much worse. (As are women. But that's not the point here.)

Still, I think there's something to this insight: if Jesus - God incarnate - submitted, than submission (in and of itself) must not be a degrading call.

I need to keep thinking about it some more.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Book Notes: The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook

"The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook" (phew! what a title!) is the book we've been using for evening devotions with our kids for the past several months.

And I can't comment on the "interactive" part of the title, because we haven't used it. (Apparently you can blink at it with your smartphone and see moving versions of the illustrations? I don't know, I don't have a smartphone.)

But the content - the content is so, so good. Why? Because it very much echoes the Biblical text. If you're someone who's familiar with the text of the Bible itself, you'll hear the real words echoed here in this storybook. They seem to keep the original phrasing as often as possible - it's just edited a bit for length and clarity.

I really like that.

The other thing I really like is that at the end of each story, they take a paragraph or two to explain what each story teaches us about Christ. Really, it's just basic theology - Christ-centered theology. It's great stuff. Much like my experience in reading the "Jesus Storybook Bible", I think I ended up receiving as many insights from the clear retelling of these stories of our faith as my children did.

One caveat: I am reviewing this before I've finished the whole thing. But the reason I'm reviewing now is that we just finished reading through the whole New Testament section, one story a night, so we have completed a good chunk of it. I trust the Old Testament section (which we're going back to now) will be just as good. I wish I could remember who recommended it to me. But here I am, all the same, recommending it to you.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Monday, September 7, 2015

Recently Tried Recipes (with reviews!)

Beef and Ale Pie
beef and ale pie - loaded w/ veg, too. Yum!

"Skillet Beef and Ale Pie": Mmm, yum. This was a delicious dish.  Though, I have to admit that as I was cooking it I found the recommended seasoning just a bit lacking, so I added garlic (always add garlic!) and some extra thyme.

Next time I might add fewer tomatoes and more celery and carrots - maybe some other vegetables, too. This recipe strikes me as very versatile and I think it could easily accommodating a variety of veggie/meat/spice variations.

But beef + veggies drowned in a delicious gravy and topped with a flaky crust? Thumbs up.

"Mexican Rice": delicious the night of - even better the next day in a BRC burrito!

"Shrimp Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce": These were not only beautiful (look at the picture at the link!), but they were delicious.
The kids, however, preferred eating them in a deconstructed manner, i.e., they wanted all the insides on their own.  I liked mine all-of-a-piece.
Bonus: the pickled veg, which I made too many of, were pretty yummy on their own as a snack later.

Have you cooked anything new recently? Share it with us in the comments!

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Weekly Links: September, Stumbling, and more

My weekly round-up of good reading for (what's left of) your weekend.

"September Seasonal Plans": I myself have been falling down in my duty to write about the change from summer to fall (probably because it's still ridiculously hot here and the trees don't look like they're even thinking about dropping their leaves), but you should go over to Shirley's place and read about all the wonderful autumnal things you can now reasonably enjoy.

"When You Stumble and Fall":
On some level, I carry on all week sinning and being awful and hauling the burden of those sins around with me without too much trouble or discomfort. It’s not like I’m always sitting at my kitchen table, stricken and afflicted, because of my selfish unkindness, my bitter unforgiveness of others. But that I carry them around myself presently, doesn’t mean that it will always be so. Jesus is the judge. He is the king. If I don’t give them to him to carry now, I will have to go on carrying them forever, and then the burden will be intolerable, and I will have to tolerate it. 

"Why the Key Character in 'Inside Out' Is the One that Isn't There":
Admittedly, there's something very lonely about Inside Out if you compare its external structure and Riley's journey through her physical world to traditional kids' movies. There's no Donkey from Shrek or Abu from Aladdin or Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King cheering her up with "Hakuna Matata." This respect for the role of melancholy in the lives of kids is very Pixar, but it's particularly acute here: There are no other Incredibles, there is no EVE, there is no Dug the dog. Riley's allies and boosters in this adventure are not made or met along the way; they are summoned. They are hers — in fact, they are her. 

"I, Tertius":
For my money, the Epistle to the church in Rome–the book of Romans more commonly–is the finest, most important letter in church history. Certainly in the canon. So who wrote this tremendous piece of work? The apostle Paul, right? Actually, no. That’s a bit of a trick question. Paul is the author–it is full of his words and thoughts–but the writer is another chap we only find out about towards the end of the letter ...

"Our Reading Life":
So our reading life is reading for life; reading as the experience of the literary art which focuses and localizes a reality that is apparently too grand and overwhelming for us to give our full attention to with such immediacy. Reading great books is a chance to face reality through the prism of carefully crafted objects of art tested by time and worthy of our attention. We don’t bring fully formed faculties to the task; we open our still-forming eyes and ears to things we hadn’t previously known in their wild form. We learn reality by joining the human community that is already talking about it.

"Kim Davis: the Guts of a Convert":
We are Christians first, before we are Americans. So before we start talking about whether this is a good religious liberty case, or not, before we start distancing our educated selves from her simple faith, and before we take to the internet to show the liberal gestapo that we really are for the “rule of law” and that Kim Davis is a simpleton of a Christian who should have resigned before embarrassing us Christians—let's just step back from this fog and think with a faithful mind.