Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday's Mail Memo - FUN Mail

There's been quite a bit of happy mail around here lately! I received this FUN handmade thank you card in the mail from one of my email subscribers. Of course, I love all the washi tape on the card and envelope!

The same day, Robbie came home from work with a lovely handmade card & envelope (and gift card!) that he received for boss's day.

We ordered and received new rain jackets - looking forward to wearing these on our upcoming trip (although I do hope it doesn't rain every day!).

Robbie ordered eight new three-ring binders . . . and they arrived in FOUR boxes! I'm certainly glad the shipping was free on this order!

And, finally, I received a special delivery this weekend for Sweetest Day - chocolate and strawberries - oh so sweet!

What FUN mail have you received lately?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunday Musings - When God Calls

In 2 Timothy 1:9, we learn that God has saved us and called us with a holy calling. We are first called to salvation, then He calls us to serve Him. Our calling can mean making a drastic change (like leaving our home to be a missionary in another country) or being diligent to serve in our everyday lives (like teaching our children about the Lord or being a witness in the workplace).

There are numerous examples of God calling individuals in the Bible, and the responses range from resistance to complete surrender. In 1 Samuel 9, when God first called Saul to be king, Saul responded with disbelief and questions because he was a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and ... the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin (verse 21). However, Samuel assured him that God would be with him and admonished him to do as the occasion demands (1 Samuel 10:6-7).

We see a completely different response when God asks in Isaiah 6:8 "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?" Isaiah boldly responds, "Here am I, send me!"

When God calls you, how will you respond - with unbelief and resistance or with complete surrender?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Pulitzers - Great, Good & Terrible

As I continue to make progress on my goal to read all the Pulitzer Prize winners in fiction, I've recently completed a great book, a good book, and a terrible book!


The 1986 winner, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, is 945 pages long and a fantastic story about two former Rangers, Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call, who leave Lonesome Dove, Texas, and drive a herd of cattle to Montana to establish the first cattle ranch in that territory.

The book is divided into three parts and includes lots of characters: Jake Spoon, a former Ranger with McCrae and Call who returns to Texas after accidentally killing a man in Arkansas; Lorena, the whore from Lonesome Dove who ends up on the cattle drive and endures tremendous hardships after being stolen by Blue Duck, an Indian bandit; Deets, a black scout who has been with McCrae and Call since the Ranger days; July Johnson, the sheriff from Arkansas who sets off to find Jake but ends up having to search for his wife Ellie who ran off looking for her previous lover; and Clara, Gus's old love who lives in Ogallala, Nebraska. Then there are the cowhands hired for the cattle drive, the two Irishmen the crew pick up while stealing cattle in Mexico, the cooks who keep the boys fed during the drive, the two pigs who walk all the way to Montana, and a host of other characters whose paths they cross along the way.

Of course, there are some not-so-savory parts to this story set in the 1870s - saloons & whores & drinking & killing & outlaws & hangings. Yet, the story would be unrealistic without all these components. This story draws the reader in and the characters are so well developed that it's hard not to feel a huge loss when several characters are suddenly scalped by Blue Duck mid-way through the novel. In fact, many (many!) characters die in the rough wilderness setting. The ending of the book is pretty good, although I discovered there are a couple of prequels and a couple of sequels to this story.

This book is extremely well-written, well-paced, and believable (despite the fact that everyone eventually converges at Clara's house). After I put this book in Robbie's to-read pile, we watched the four-part mini-series, which is a great adaptation of the book!

Empire Falls by Richard Russo is the 2002 winner. This is another long book (although not as long as Lonesome Dove!), however it is a good book, easy to read and well-paced. The story is set in a small town in Main and follows Miles Roby, who has run the Empire Grill for the past twenty years. He is currently getting a divorce and worries about his daughter, who he affectionately calls Tick. Along with the divorce, Miles has to deal with his dad who is a essentially a bum and eventually runs off to Florida with a senile old priest and his soon-to-be ex-wife's boyfriend who insists on hanging out at the Empire Grill every day.

The host of characters are well-developed and there are several story lines in this book, some shrouded in mystery. I did figured out quite a few of the "mysteries" early on - like who the man was that Miles' mother met at Martha's Vineyard when he was a little boy and who ran over Cindy Whiting, the crippled daughter of Francine Whiting (a rich woman who owns practically everything in the town of Empire Falls). This was a good read, although the story was not so compelling that it couldn't be put down easily.

I really don't have much to say about A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, the 1981 winner. This terrible book that's set in New Orleans is full of debauchery and stupidity and makes fun of everybody. There is not one group of people portrayed in a good light, and I can't think of a single positive thing to say about it.

Have you read any of these books? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

English Subtitles

Last year, I attended my very first Japanese movie with English subtitles when we ventured out on a Thursday evening to see Shin Godzilla at a local Cinemark. I snapped a photo of us outside the theater and used it along with our ticket printout on a layout for our 2016 chronological album.

Journaling reads: I didn't realize (although Robbie knew) that this limited release movie was all in Japanese!

I have to admit that I enjoyed the movie, although it took me a while to get in the groove of reading quickly and trying to watch the action, too!

Have you seen any movies with English subtitles recently?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Church Doors Art Journal Page

I haven't done much art journaling this year, however, I recently tore a page from a magazine because I liked the photo of a church door. We've been searching for a new church home after a couple of years of being inconsistent with our church attendance, so this image really jumped out at me.

I cut out the image & created a page in one of my art journals. I stenciled in some random numbers, then added journaling around the edge of the door image.

This was a FUN, quick page!

Have you done any art journaling lately?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Musings - Faith Can Move Mountains

Faith - a simple, five-letter word that holds so much meaning and potential in our lives. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." So, we must have hope and we must believe in things we cannot see to realize the full potential our faith!

Faith has so much power that in Matthew 17:20 Jesus says, "for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."

It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Just hope and believe the Lord for things that can't be seen. Just a little bit of faith, the size of a mustard seed will be enough to move mountains. And, yet, it's almost incomprehensible for us to imagine telling a mountain to move from one place to another.

However, we face many "mountains" in our lives, and it's faith that will help us move them! Are you facing any seemingly insurmountable mountains? Have faith - hope in the Lord and believe in the answer you cannot yet see - and watch as that mountain moves out of your way!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday's Mail Memo - Travel Planning

Airline tickets have been purchased, hotels have been books, and these exciting pocket guides showed up in the mail today!

So excited to be planning an upcoming vacation! Please share your tips and not-to-be missed attractions, eateries, and/or activities for these three locations in the comments.