Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One Hundred and One Dalmatians (or, The Great Dog Robbery)

Cruella deVil, Cruella deVil,
If she doesn't scare you, no evil thing will!
The world was such a wholesome place until
Cruella, Cruella deVil!

Most of us know the song. Most of us know the story of how a family of fifteen puppies became a family of one hundred and one dalmatians. Most of us know Pongo and Perdita, Roger and Anita, and, of course, the famous fur-worshipper, Cruella, and her two cronies, Horace and Jasper.

But before 101 Dalmatians became a popular Disney film nearly fifty years ago, it was a book called The One Hundred and One Dalmatians, or, The Great Dog Robbery, published in 1956. The story, written by Dodie Smith, also ran in serial form in Woman's Day magazine.

Pongo and Missis, a Dalmatian couple, live with their "pets", Mr. and Mrs. Dearly, in London, and become the proud parents of fifteen busy little puppies. However, someone wants those puppies! Cruella deVil, a former schoolfriend of Mrs. Dearly's, loves fur coats, fur furniture, fur everything, and she is determined to have those puppies on her back one day. One day, the puppies disappear! Pongo suspects what has happened to them, and, through the cross-England canine gossip chain, the Twilight Bark, discovers that they are held hostage at Hell Hall, Cruella deVil's house in Suffolk. So he and Missis set out on an adventure to rescue their puppies, only to discover that their rescue mission will be a little greater than they expected.

The book contains some features different from the cartoon movie, particularly in names. Roger and Anita are actually named Mr. and Mrs. Dearly. Pongo's wife's name is "Missis", while "Perdita" is another Dalmatian who acts as a foster mother for some of the puppies before they are stolen. Other characters are added, deleted, or altered in the film. However, I found the book as fun and delightful as the movie (though not so Disney-ish :-) ).

The author presents the story in such a lively way. She has the most amusing way of putting life through an imaginary dog perspective: the idea of owners being pets; of dogs communicating through different barks, thumpings of the tail, and the "Twilight Bark"; of dogs understanding human's language and trying to learn concepts such as "left" and "right"... Of course, I understand that dogs are not like humans (like we've been learning at Bible Institute: the thing that makes us different from animals is that we are made in God's image, with a mind, will, emotions, and the ability to choose between right and wrong and to have a relationship with our Creator), but the imaginary element of the story is charming nonetheless. Overall, it was a very enjoyable, 200-page book for a rainy day (or in my case, two rainy days! :-) )

Monday, September 28, 2009

Origin of Species Challenge

Here is something on Way of the Master's current project. I would love to get involved, but getting other people involved may be a challenge.... and I'm afraid I have big ideas...
But as you watch, maybe you can consider what you can do. I'd love to hear your thoughts!


video

Make sure you browse the rest of Way of the Master's resources at www.wayofthemaster.com !

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Emergency!!!

I want you right now to get up from your computer chair and walk to the nearest window. See a house? Does your neighbor live there? Perhaps you don't see a house from out that window. Try another. Does your neighbor live that way? Maybe you have no neighbors. Drive to the nearest gas station or WalMart. Did you see someone there? Not necessarily someone you know. Just anybody. Sure you did. I'm sure your region didn't just get evacuated, or if it did, you would have gone too. You saw scores of people-- so many people that just mix in one with another like colors on a tapestry. You barely notice any of them, except the one you bumped into in the food section or happened to be trying on shoes in the same aisle as you.

Sign into your Facebook. How many friends do you have on there? There all Christians, right? Uh... probably not. Think about where you work, if indeed you do have a job. You work with a lot of people, don't you? Whether they be coworkers or people in the drive-through or at the counter or whatever! I'm sure all those people who went by were Christians. Or were they? Well if they weren't, they seemed okay, didn't they? They didn't go through the drive-through yelling, "Hurry, hurry, I'm in a hurry-- I have no time to loose! I'm dying!" No, they got their sandwich or their cash, smiled, said, "Thanks; you have a nice day," and drove away in a carefree manner. But they don't realize something... do you realize it? Realize what?

LISTEN FOLKS!! THE WORLD IS UNDER CODE RED!!!! Code Red, I said! The world is in a state of impending disaster. The lost of this world are going about their days content, not knowing of the danger that is coming. The saved of this world are going about their days content, thinking that at least they are going to Heaven, they have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Listen, guys! Those people who drove out the drive-through are driving to certain death! Perhaps not a car crash, or rolling over a land mine. But they are driving to certain death.

Each person is one day going to be faced with death. "For it is appointed once for man to die..." And each person is one day going to be faced with eternity. "...and after this the judgment."

What judgment? The day when all those who have rebelled against God a
nd rejected Christ will stand before God and hear those awful words, "Depart from me into everlasting torment!"

I wish you guys could understand the heavy conviction that has been on my
heart the last couple days, that people are dying around me and I hardly notice. These days grow worse and worse-- Socialism, Communism, Islam, atheism-- and why? Because we are silent! Face it, we do not speak up for Christ as we should. When was the last time you witnessed to somebody? Do you have any friends that on the Judgment Day will turn to you with wide eyes and say, "You are a Christian? Why, oh why didn't you ever tell me? Why didn't you show me how I could be one?"

Read Acts. That has been my pleasure this last month and it has brought me under such conviction. In Acts 2, Peter preached to the Jews in Jerusalem at Pentecost, and 3,000 people came to Christ and remained in Him (2:41-42). Daily people were coming to
the Lord (2:47). When God healed (through Peter and John) a lame beggar, even though the apostles were imprisoned, many people came to know God through it, and the number of the men (as in, males, so, not including the ladies) came to about 5,000 (4:4). After the scenario with Ananias and Sapphira, more than ever believers were added to the Lord, both men and women (5:14). Philip preached the Gospel to great crowds (8:4-8). He took the opportunity to witness to an individual whose heart God has prepared (8:26-40). God saved the wicked persecutor, Saul (ch. 9). God reached out to the Gentiles through Peter (ch. 10). Barnabas and Paul preached to people all over Asia Minor, and many came to Christ and healthy churches were established (13:12, 44, 48; 14:1, 21; 16:5, 34; 17:4, 11-12, 34; 19:6-10, 20; 28:24, 31; and more included). In about thirty years time, Christianity had infiltrated the whole Roman empire. No wonder the Jews of Thessalonica said, "These men...have turned the world upside down!" No wonder the Pharisees, in trying to silence Jesus, cried out, "You see that you are gaining nothing! Look, the whole world has gone after Him!"

And yet every year the number of Muslims in European and American population grows drastically, while the Christian population has dropped rapidly in the last one hundred years. More and more, the threat of Socialism and Communism becomes apparent, while the Biblical principles of freedom and justice and godliness are thrown out the door. Why?

Because the Christians are silent. We are afraid of offending others by "interfer
ing with their religion". We are content to fellowship with our fellow Christians, and of course, "we must be separate from the world." We advocate an unBiblical understanding of "separation" over God's clear command to be His witnesses in "Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth." We are supposed to be salt-- salt counteracts the growth of yeast. We are supposed to be light-- and darkness is merely the absence of light, which only light can penetrate and overcome. We are supposed to be gospelizing for Christ, and the world is slipping right into hell because we have neglected that important command.

I am not trying to pull a guilt trip on you for not handing out tracts, or preaching on the street corner. But I am trying to impress you with the urgency of our mission. It is th
e reason why Jesus left us here. We live in a free country-- at least, it is free at the time that I write! We are free from our sins-- how can be content with ourselves being safe while family, friends, and neighbors are dying and going into eternity without knowing God?

Amber (a.k.a. "AStitchinGal") (not Lilly) and I have sort of ended up in a joint evangelism effort on the sewing forum we are on, sharing the Gospel with those who call themselves athiests or non-Christians. (Actually, we both spoke up individually when a conversation arose about different religions. She was the first to speak and encouraged me to do so as well. Thank you again, Amber!) I am wondering if you will join us to witness for Christ in the time that we have! And please feel free to share ideas to witness. This is an urgent mission. Death is not waiting for us to speak up. We must speak now.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Poem and Poll

Check out my poem today at Maggie Woychik's Encouraging Emerging Authors! :-D

It's been a while since I had a poll on here. If you scroll down a little on the sidebar, you will see a poll: "Whom is your favorite Jane Austen hero?" I'm sure all of us would marry one of them (or someone like one of them) if we could. ;-) I voted Henry Tilney (*sighs dreamily* ;-) ), though I also really like Edward and Colonel Brandon, and... well, all of them! Except perhaps Wentworth; he is a rather frustrating character until after Louisa falls...

And no, I didn't include Henry Crawford, John Willoughby, George Wickham, or any of those dishonorable fellows. :-P

Anyway! Feel free to share whom you voted for in the comments! ;-)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thoughts on Government

I decided to start my Government for this year, even though I am not finished with Economics. It is definitely feeding my interest that I have in Government/American history (though present politics can stress me if I let it. ;-) ) I am always intrigued when I read about the Christian foundations of America, and my heart goes out to those people who have suffered under the governments that have forsaken God. How terrible it is that our nation is heading in the same direction as many of those other nations which were so swiftly, so suddenly overtaken by the monsters of Socialism and Communism. Allow me to share a couple random thoughts from my Government (American Government in Christian Perspective, Second Edition; A Beka Book).


"Victor Hugo has left to us a bit of interesting history concerning Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo. On the morning of the battle, the little dictator stood gazing upon the field of battle as he described to his commanding officer his strategy for that day's campaign:
'We will put the infantry here, the cavalry there, the artillery there. At the end of the day, England will be at the feet of France and Wellington
will be prisoner of Napoleon.'
After a pause, the commanding officer said, 'But we must not forget that man propose
s but God disposes.'
With arrogant pride the little dictator stretched his body to full height and replied, 'I want you to understand, sir, that Napoleon proposes and Napoleon disposes.'
Hugo went on to write,
'From that moment Waterloo was lost, for God sent rain and hail so that th
e troops of Napoleon could not maneuver as he had planned, and on the night of battle it was Napoleon who was prisoner of Wellington, and France was at the feet of England.'" (-Lehman Strauss, page 16)



"The appeal of socialism is to human weakness-- the desire to avoid responsibility and the craving for material gain. It offers security as a substitute for opportunity, and the price is freedom." (-Charles B. Shuman, page 22)



"Is there hope for the future? Because of the satanic character of Communism, there is ultimately no help or hope in merely human resources. Communism is an ideology, a religion, a philosophy of life. It is useless to oppose Communism with something as nebulous as 'Americanism' or 'the free enterprise system'. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn has eloquently a
nd forcefully said, Communism arose because 'men have forgotten God.' The battle against Communism is basically spiritual and will be won only by spiritual resources-- belief in the reality of God and the Christian perspective of life. The antidote for world Communism is world evangelism. It is to take our Lord's words seriously when He commissioned His followers to disciple the nations. Only a life of vigorous, vital, vibrant Christianity in the life of a nation can overcome Communism from within and without." (page 33)

Friday, September 18, 2009

To God be the Glory!

Remember the poetry contest I had mentioned in this post?

Wayl....

I won first place in my division!!! Woohoo!
Encouraging Emerging Authors will be posting my poem on Tuesday! So if you have time, please check it out!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I was just awarded the Honest Scrap award from my dear, sweet, Minnesotan friend, sister-in-Christ, and pen pal, Leah! Thanks, Leah! :-)


The Rules:

I need to...

1. Say thanks and link to the person who gave you the award.

2. Share ten "honest" things about myself (in some of these cases, I have discovered that the word "honest" is synonymous with "embarrassing.")

3. Award this to seven people who's blog design/content I admire or who have encouraged me, and inform them of their win and of the rules of this award.


Now for my ten honest [random] things. :-)

1. The Lord rescued me off of the road of rebellion when I was 13 years old!
2. I wrote (and finished!) a spin-off book of "Star Wars" (about 10 chapters) when I was seven
3. My least favorite subject this year is Economics! *shudders*
4. The reason why I'm scared of dogs is because the earliest dog in my memory was our neighbor's SCARY rottweiler that really would kill you if he could!
5. I would like to make screenplays for "Four Girls at Chautauqua" and "Mansfield Park", as well as a docudrama screenplay about Ann Judson.
6. I am on chapter 10 in editing "Airborne".
7. I daydream maybe 3 1/2 out of the 4 hours I spend in the car each Sunday.
8. I hate crowds, anyplace where I don't know people.
9. I dream strange dreams about visiting places I knew in my childhood-- our old church, the Erie house, and other very random things. It's kind of strange.
10. I want, want, want so much to work with little kids!

I award the "Honest Scrap" award to:

Amanda because she is the best big sister I could ever wish for.
Bethany because she is the best younger sister I could ever wish for, and because her awesome photography deserves a reward!
and I'm not sure who else to award because not everybody wants to do tags and awards and because I have to leave some for Amanda and Beth to do! :-P But I would give each of you as individuals a reward because I love you all!! :-)


2 Timothy 2:1-13

Please forgive me for my lack of posts lately! I haven't really known what to write about. This morning I decided to share with you some verses that have meant a lot of me this week. I have written in bold the thoughts that particularly stood out to me.


"Thou therefore, my son,
be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses,
the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life;
that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
And if a man also strive for masteries,
yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David
was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds;
but the word of God is not bound.
Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes,
that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
It is a faithful saying:
For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him:
if we deny him, he also will deny us:
If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself."


Go in the strength of the Lord today! :-)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rain!

Today the "wind is in the east" but it is very pleasant. I put on my blue Regency dress and ran in the sprinkling rain for a couple minutes. It was delectable!

So that was random! :-)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Some Random Thoughts From a Tired Brain

Forgive me for my serious lack of posts this week. I haven't felt very literary, and though the Lord has been teaching me things, it's been harder to put them into words.

I decided to share a quote that sums up some of what I've been learning. This is, again, from Jim Elliot. Can you tell what book I've been reading lately? ;-)

"One does not surrender a life in an instant-- that which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime."

Also along this line God has been showing me that it is the same with grace. We don't get grace all of a sudden and have it for every situation. God gives new grace for each situation that comes down our path, according to the need of the moment.

This is helpful to me as I work through some of the events that have happened this year or the inward struggles I face as I interact with God and others. I must, instead of relying on my own strength, daily be relying on His grace to help me through. He is faithful, and He is always there to help me.

Here is a verse that has particular meaning for me:

"Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee,
when my heart is overwhelmed:
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For thou has been a shelter for me,
and a strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Thy tabernacle forever:
I will trust in the covert of thy wings."
(Psalm 61:1-4)

Well, it's late and I'm tired, so I'll tell you all good night. :-)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

"We Win!"

Mrs. B, Mommy, and we three girls all sat around the living room, chatting about this and that. Above us was the sound of Mrs. B's little boys banging around upstairs doing whatever little boys do! Then we heard feet on the stairs, and seven-year-old Carlton entered the room with a Bible in his hands and a puzzled look on his face. "Mom?" he said a little fretfully, approaching his mom. "Mom, do you remember how Dad said on Sunday that in Revelation, it says 'we win'?" (Carlton's dad, Mr. B, is a pastor at a Freewill Baptist church in Conneaut.)

"Yes," Mrs. B replied.

"Well, I've been looking all over Revelation and I can't find it! I can't find where it says 'We win'!"

For years I have chuckled as I remember Carlton's very sincere worry that he couldn't find the exact wording in the text, and Mrs. B's trying to explain to a little boy that the pastor meant that the idea of Revelation is that Christ and His servants will conquer over evil in the end.

I thought of that scenario quite frequently this past month as I once again read through my favorite Old Testament book: Isaiah. Each time I have read it, and this time more than ever, it has filled me with such unspeakable joy and inexpressible thrill as chapter after chapter reveals God's goodness, His holiness, His greatness, His faithfulness, and, most of all, His promise that He will conquer in the end.

We live in a scary day. Economics rise and plunge inexplicably. Politics create fear in the hearts of sensible human beings. Health care threatens the freedom of individuals and families. Technology that could help us instead seems to close in on us. Wicked men are honored, evil is promoted, the truth is twisted, God is ignored. We are reminded of the days in which Israel rebelled against God and was taken captive by Babylon and Assyria.

And yet God speaks to us, to not fear what the people fear, but to honor the LORD as holy, and to fear Him. He reminds us of His unmatchable character-- His creative power, His goodness, His faithfulness to His promises, His deity. He gives us eight oracles (chapters 14-23) to assure us that, no matter how wicked this world gets and how powerful evil seems to be, HE ALONE will conquer and reign in the end. He promises us that He will be our strength and our shelter from the storm, to keep in perfect peace the one whose mind is stayed on Him. He offers hope: "In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." He fills us with courage as He reminds us that He has orchestrated all the events of life, whether it be on the national scale or in the individual lives of "unimportant" people like me, all for His glory.

Isaiah is the book which holds many of my favorite verses and passages: 1:18; 9:6,7; 25:4, 8, 9; 26:3,4; 30:15, 18, 19, 21; 40 (whole chapter!!); 41:10,13; 43:1-3, 25; 44:21-22; 49:13-17; 50:10; 51:12-13; 52:7; 54:1-10; 55 (favoritest chapter ever!); 61:1-4, 10; 62:11-12; 63:7; 66:1-2. It is a book full of hope, of promise, of forgiveness, of majesty. While reading it, I often wondered whether I was actually reading Revelation and it was just somehow stuck in the wrong place in my Bible. Several times I wanted to climb to the top of a high mountain, throw my arms open to the wind, and yell, "YAAAAAAAHOOOOOOOO! My God reigns!!!!!!!!!"

Read the book of Isaiah. Here is hope. Here is forgiveness. Here is strength. Here is the promise: "We win!"

Friday, September 4, 2009

Treasure Island

For years my only knowledge of the famous book Treasure Island was the infamous "Muppet's Treasure Island"! I remembered the "big blue wet thing" and Benjamina/Miss Piggy.... but really didn't know the actual story, only that it existed! Then some young friends who are helping me with The Marquis' Daughter suggested that I read this classic novel for help with the pirates and ship themes. So I brought home their copy, deciding to see what was so famous about this book that I had heard of and never read.

Treasure Island is a swashbuckling sea adventure of an island of the same name as the book title. The book is told from the perspective of a young boy named Jim Hawkins, living in the mid-1700s. His story begins when a loud, harsh, mysterious, weather-beaten sailor moves into the Hawkins's inn by the sea. This man carries with him the key to the grand adventure-- a map to a remote island on which lies buried seven hundred thousand pounds worth of treasure. The map is discovered after the sailor's death, and Jim, Squire Trelawney, and Dr. Livesey set out on a mission to find the island and acquire the treasure. However, half of the the ship's crew organized for the mission are pirates who had traveled with the famous Captain Flint, the lead pirate who buried the treasure. At the head of the buccaneers is the famous pirate: clever and treacherous Long John Silver. The expedition soon becomes a case of mutiny and murder, turncoats and treachery as the two parties seek for mastery and treasure.

Not much can be said for a book that is already so well-known. I am more used to reading thought-provoking "deep reads" and closer-to-real-life tales, and would probably not put Treasure Island on my "Top Ten Favorite Books" list. However, I did enjoy the story overall, and enjoyed following Jim's exciting adventures. The fast-paced action, heart-pounding scenes, and interesting characters make for a fun, a-musing boy's adventure book, at any rate. Perhaps some time you might pull it off the shelf and read through it. It might not be "a book you'll never forget" but it will be an entertaining read while you're at it!

P.S. When you do, bear in mind that this is a totally different story from "Muppet's Treasure Island" and you might as well forget about Benjamina Gunn! :-P

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

News on our Flora Relatives

Today I got another letter from my "cousin" in Flora, IN; Megan (she is actually my mom's sister's husband's cousin's daughter... I think that's right...?? ... but we call each other cousins); and she had news about Leah and the kids' family.

Uncle Brian (Leah's husband) has finally bought a house in Flora which Aunt Erma (Leah's mom) is decorating (since home decorating is her specialty :-) ).
Before Aunt Leah died, she and Aunt Erma planted a huge garden and made all kinds of plans for canning and freezing come harvest time. I remember Aunt Erma telling us about it when we were out there for the funeral, and saying that she didn't really have the heart for it anymore. Lately she has been freezing and canning the produce; I can't help but tear up when I think of how they had made plans to do it together, and now she is doing it alone.

So please continue to keep them in your prayers as each day surely brings back old memories and new challenges.

Please pray for the other extended family too. Many of Uncle John's relatives are German Baptist (Leah and Brian, Kenneth and Erma aren't), and recently there was a split in the German Baptist Church because the leaders of the denomination were basically demanding that all members agreed to a long list of regulations that were not Bible-based at all. (Kind of reminds me of the Pharisees of Jesus' day...) Anyway, various members of the family have chosen different paths over this; some have stayed in the GB church, submitting to it's regulations; others have joined the off-branch of the GB church; and others are still searching for a church that really teaches the truth of the Word and such. So please pray for them all to know how to make the right decisions and to honor God through this all.

Thanks so much! :-) Have a wonderful day!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Something to Really Think About....

In our interactions with lost people in the world, it is easy to focus on "reforming" them-- trying to get someone to stop smoking, picketing some place to help stop abortion, etc.-- and miss giving them the answer to their real need-- Jesus. Pastor Chris Anderson has some good thoughts on this topic over at his blog.

Be sure to check out his other good articles while you're there. He has written or quoted some very thought-provoking words on the Christian life, evangelism, and modern trends in "Christianity".