Thanks for stopping by, whether you got here by a link or hitting "next blog" -- I am glad you are here. I've also done some writing on homeschooling, and what I learned thinking I was teaching.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer Reading Thus Far

I fell off the pink weather cloud. It was bound to happen.  As the weather warmed, tornados arrived. The gut-wrenching images from Granbury, TX were a foretaste of worse ones sweeping across Moore, Oklahoma – where the tornado was among the strongest. (Deadliest Tornados in USA) When the pictures of the storms’ paths revealed their power to lift houses from their slabs, crush school buildings and toss pick-ups, I wondered at our hope of huddling in an interior powder room, that such a shelter could keep us.

Providentially, I recently had finished reading a biography of Anne Bradstreet. She enjoyed, and lost various shelters that I recognized – an education, prosperity, adventure, marriage and children. And she suffered terrible losses through “storms” – fomented by religious and political upheaval, long separations from loved ones, physical afflictions, disasters, fire, and death.  And she committed her thoughts and prayers to paper, wrestling with God  – in verse – as forcefully as Jacob wrestled with that angel, laying bare her faith, frustration and fears.  (Genesis 32:22-32)

Finally, she left her children a biographical account of how she came to be who she was. She was candid about her character defects; dispassionate, describing her afflictions, and crisp in connecting all the points in biography so that even a child understands and can apply her words – rejoicing in faith, and walking through doubts and disappointments. Reading her poetry is time well spent, set in the context of her biography.

Another book that offered some shelter was one I finished almost in one reading: Sober Mercies – A Memoir – How Love Caught Up With a Christian Drunk. The author, Heather Kopp, is also a writer, and like Anne Bradstreet, a Christian – and is as candid about her troubles as Anne Bradstreet – but in prose. It is a quick read -- Well-written and no-whining – Her autobiography is composed with enough hindsight to be winsome, and enough courage to be oh so helpful to one who is also recovering, or thinking about putting the bottle down.

And she tackles prayer – pointing out that maybe coming to believe in God, as we understand Him – might be more honestly confessed as trusting a God we don’t really understand. Her growing understanding of prayer, God, and trust shone a light into cobwebs that are plugging up my own prayers.

Finally, I just finished The Whole Five Feet: What the Great Books Taught Me About Life, Death, and Pretty Much Everything Else.  I came to this lovely book serendipitously; I bought Whatever Happened to Sophie Wilder? (Recommended by Marvin Olasky in WORLD magazine) And I was looking at other books by Christopher Beha.

The author celebrates learning, living and love – in the midst of tears, and simple pleasures. Describing what he thought about some of the writers in this collection is artfully woven into vignettes he describes of his family, health, and writing.  His recollections of a year devoted to reading through the Harvard Classics reminded me how much I missed in university! He left me with an impression of being on a “grand tour” of all that has been wonderful in western civilization with a gentle soul and friend. He made me reconsider why I keep writing, and that learning is never over as long as we are willing to read and think about what politicians, philosophers, poets, explorers and dreamers have written.

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