Thursday, April 20, 2017

Look Where You Want to Go: Bible-reading and Mountain-Biking


My dad is a big mountain-biker. And because he was into mountain-biking, when we were kids, my sister and brother and I got into mountain-biking. Because we wanted to spend time with our dad.

And there’s something I learned during those years of biking: You Go Where You Look.

Sometimes Dad would take us on trails that were kinda scary: narrow-singletrack stuff with sharp drops on one or both sides of the trail. You’d think that you’d want to be hyper-aware of the dangerous part, that you’d want to really concentrate on the sharp cliffs, so that you could avoid them. But it turned out that the opposite was true: If you looked down the drop…that’s where you’d go.

You wanted to look straight ahead. You wanted to keep your eyes on the trail. Because it’s just this automatic thing: where your eyes look? That’s where you’d steer the bike.

So, reading the Bible is about looking at the trail. It’s looking where you want to go.


Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell




p.s.: RE: the picture. Yeah, I know about the rock song. I think the picture's funny anyway.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Joy Grows: an Easter post at The Lent Project


Today, I'm over at Biola University's Lent Project, writing about Jesus meeting Mary Magdalene in a garden:

Even when we did find our way into gardens, and were refreshed by the common graces of sunlight and rain, we dragged with us our cloud of pollution, dimming the light and poisoning the ground. 
There was light, but it did not purify. Fruit, but it did not assuage our bottomless hunger. Water, but it could not quench our endless thirst. 
Then the Son of God became Man. 
He was light, and no pollution could abide in His brightness. 
He became the food that could truly feed us, and He Himself was the living water—the water that could flow over the dead lands and call life out of them once more. 
He took our sin upon Himself, and burned it all away.


Please head on over to The Lent Project to read the rest.


And if you're interested in reading more about how to celebrate Easter (and the rest of the church year) in your home, consider picking up Let Us Keep the Feast!



Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell






This post contains Amazon affiliate links; 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.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mini Reviews: The Books I Read in March 2017

--I'm catching up on my book notes, taking them a month at a time. Since I'm behind, I'm only allowing myself a line or two on each book. I hope they still give you an idea of whether or not these would be books you'd enjoy picking up yourself!--



-"What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: And Two Other Short Guides to Achieving More at Work and at Home," by Laura Vanderkam. This is a compilation of three short e-books. I don't share Vanderkam's optimism about how many things can be accomplished in one short weekend or morning, but I still appreciate her novel and hopeful way of looking at the number of hours we are all given in our days and weeks.



-"Eleanor and Park," by Rainbow Rowell. I listened to this one on audiobook. Beautifully and compellingly written, as Rowell's work always is. But I didn't enjoy it, mostly because the heroine's home life is so (legitimately, realistically) bleak and depressing. I also wouldn't pass it on to a teenager, b/c of the level of (probably also legitimate and realistic) sensuality. But beautifully done, all the same.



-"The Masqueraders," by Georgette Heyer. This was my favorite Heyer for a long, long time. ("Sylvester, Or, The Wicked Uncle" has since supplanted it from the top spot, but just barely.)

This romance, full of adventure and derring-do, disguise and weariness of disguise, a slow-burning friendship turned into passion, and one of the happiest and most harmonious sibling relationships I've ever seen in fiction, remains one of my very favorite stories. Prudence and her "mountain" win me over every time.



-"How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind: Dealing with Your House's Dirty Little Secrets," by Dana K. White. Lots of housekeeping books say they're for people who aren't naturally good at housekeeping.

This one actually is.




-"The Hobbit," by J. R. R. Tolkien. Just finished listening through this with Adam and the kids. Delightful, as always.



-"Busman's Honeymoon," by Dorothy L. Sayers. It was my first time making it through this--which is shocking, given my love for "Gaudy Night"!  But l always stalled after the delightful exchange of letters at the beginning of the book. Still, I'm glad I've read it now, and next time I can revisit it with pleasure, knowing that while it might be a bit uneven, it has all the charm and interest and deep feeling I've come to expect from Sayers' accounts of Lord Peter and Harriet.

(Also





--SPOILER ALERT--




the ghosts! Why did I never know about the ghosts???)




Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell





This post contains Amazon affiliate links; 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, April 10, 2017

Weekly Links - Holy Week edition

~ LINKS TO SOME INTERESTING READING, too late for the weekend, but perfect for a monday ~



-"Thoughts on the 'Benedict Option' - a Lament": Dr. Peters' point? Don't write a book about the Benedictines and get the monasticism wrong. 


-"10 Things You Should Know About the Trinity": This whole thing is good, but I especially appreciate point #8.


-"The Death of the Levite's Concubine":
Once having choked it down, you’re left wondering, as with the whole rest of Judges, who exactly the good guy is. 


-"Three Myths of Cohabitation": interview with a sociologist who just completed a very interesting study. A snippet:

Generally speaking, the least educated married families in Europe enjoy more stability than the most educated cohabiting families. That’s not what I would have guessed.


-"Stop Hating on Christian Popular Culture": now here's a challenge for our modern age!


-"Celebrating the Feast of the Anunnciation": I'm a few weeks late on this one, but I really appreciate this piece, and I think it's a good meditation for Holy Week:
This year I had several friends who faced the death of a loved one right at Christmas time.  They had no choice but to grieve and celebrate in the same breath. These sorts of emotional juxtapositions always be gut retchingly difficult. Yet living year by year through the liturgical seasons we are offered a foretaste of the multi-dimensional nature of our emotional life.  In following the seasons we are encouraged to explore the depths of our own souls in both joy and sorrow, to bring our hearts before God, and to align ourselves with the life of the church. When triumph is followed by disaster we have a sense of the path to take, we have walked it and we know where to fix our eyes. In the darkness of the tomb we wait for the light of resurrection.



-"Sushi Saturdays": My eldest daughter and I are the only people in the house who love sushi, and we're determined that this experiment is the perfect activity for Bright Week this year.


-"Researchers Have Transformed a Spinach Leaf into Working Heart Tissue": wow!


-"The Impossible Novel that Became IMPOSSIBLE SAINTS"I follow Clarissa Harwood on Twitter, and enjoyed reading this long version of her first novel sale, especially her honesty when she said:
In hindsight I can see that I was far too close to Novel #2 to see it clearly enough to revise it. I invested too much of myself in it, but that’s also why it was such a joy to write. It was everything a first draft should be: too long, repetitive, self-indulgent, and confusing. In other words, what was an utter delight to write was a complete nightmare to read.




I hope you have a good and blessed Holy Week!

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell














Friday, April 7, 2017

Mini Reviews: The Books I Read in February 2017

--I'm catching up on my book notes, taking them a month at a time. Since I'm behind, I'm only allowing myself a line or two on each book. I hope they still give you an idea of whether or not these would be books you'd enjoy picking up yourself!--



-"The Zoo Job (Leverage #2)," by Keith R. A. Candido. I didn't enjoy this as much as the first Leverage novel, but it was still a fun read. No need for any explicit content warnings that I recall, but just the kind of normal language and such you might expect on a network drama.



-"Unf*ck Your Habitat: You're Better Than Your Mess," by Rachel Hoffman. This one clearly deserves a language warning! If that doesn't bug you, though, there's some good stuff here, especially for people dealing with mental or physical disabilities, who still want to live in a decent home. The author clearly comes from a different philosophical/political/theological viewpoint that I do, but her practical suggestions are brilliantly helpful, and I love her down-to-earth version of advice-giving.



-"The Corinthian," by Georgette Heyer. This was such a fun reread, because I was a lot younger last time I read this. When I read it through this time, I picked up on so much subtle humor that totally went over my head before. Heyer has so much fun in this one. She never tells you what the hero is thinking, not explicitly, but she doesn't have to, because it's all there in the action and dialogue.

Heyer is just so good.


Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell



This post contains Amazon affiliate links; 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, April 3, 2017

Mini Reviews: The Books I Read in January 2017

--I'm catching up on my book notes, taking them a month at a time. Since I'm behind, I'm only allowing myself a line or two on each book. I hope they still give you an idea of whether or not these would be books you'd enjoy picking up yourself!--



-"Have His Carcase," by Dorothy L. Sayers. In which our hero and heroine alternately romance each other and get cranky at each other. Featuring a lovely coastline walk I'd love to take, minus the murder. Delightful, as always. (Lord Peter and Harriet Vane 4Ever.)



-"Murder Must Advertise," by Dorothy L. Sayers. Of the Lord Peter Wimsey books which do NOT feature Harriet Vane, I'd put this or "The Nine Tailors" at the top of the heap. Seeing Lord Peter go undercover in not just one, but two! roles...it's a thing of beauty. Please read this. It's marvelous.




-"The Con Job (Leverage #1)," by Matt Forbeck. Great fun if you're a fan of the show. The "Con" of the title is Comic Con in San Diego, making this a con pulled at a con--a happy thought that justifies the book's entire existence. The author has so much fun with the combination of these characters in that setting, and I had a great time reading it. Cautions for the sort of language and situations you'd expect to find on a network television drama.



-"Gaudy Night," by Dorothy L. Sayers. The best of novels. What else can I say?  Well, this, I guess: after reading it through this time around, I found myself telling my sister-in-law, "Every time I read this, I copy out more quotations from it. Eventually I'm going to have retyped this book word-for-word onto a document on my computer."



-"Christmas at Thompson Hall and Other Christmas Stories," by Anthony Trollope. Not my favorite of Trollope's work, but I enjoyed dipping into this bit of Victorian fiction over the holidays. The story set in the United States during the Civil War was especially interesting. (It's always interesting to read treatments of America by foreign visitors.)


Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell


This post contains Amazon affiliate links; 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.)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Weekly Links!

(not really)


~ LINKS TO SOME INTERESTING READING AND WATCHING, FOR WHAT'S LEFT OF YOUR WEEKEND ~



-"Why Pray for the Dead?": On the difference between praying for and with the saints, vs. praying to the saints.


-"9 Ways to Pastor Those Longing for Marriage": so much better than most things I read on this subject, honestly.


(Quick sidebar: If you're talking about singleness in the Christian life, and you're not taking into account the fact that we're all following a Man who never married during His earthly life, you're really not talking about it properly.)



-"The Hollywood Executive and the Hand Transplant That Changed His Life": if you like reading about fascinating medical stories (I do!), you'll love this.




-Finally, this is all good, but I really appreciated the second half, where they get into the difference between "How does the reality of the Trinity have an impact on your prayer life?" and "How does your awareness/knowledge of the Trinity have an impact on your prayer life?"

God is very gracious to us, meeting with us and listening to us, despite our (fathomless) ignorance.







I hope you have a lovely Sunday, full of worship and rest!

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell