Monday, February 23, 2009

A Time To Dance

I normally avoid 'Christian fiction'. My experiences have led me to conclude that reading the genre will ultimately lead to disappointment. I enjoy most of Frank Peretti's stuff, and some of Ted Dekker's and that's about it.

I have concluded that most Christian fiction is published with one or more of these thoughts in mind:
'S/He's doing it for Jesus.' (with the understanding that the effort itself excuses mediocrity or lousy writing.)
'Listen to her/his heart for Jesus.' (with the understanding that the theme excuses mediocrity or lousy writing.)
'What a message!' (with the understanding that the message excuses defective or mediocre writing.)
'People will eat this up!' (with the understanding that offering mediocre writing to the undiscerning masses to make money is okay.)

I'm sorry if I'm stepping on your toes. Really. I am.
But at the same time I'd like to understand why we as Christians continue to accept defective art/books/music as the 'best he/she can do'.
In Leviticus, Moses gives us laws about the kind of offerings God accepts. Perfect, spotless, holy. God looks at the heart and knows what we are offering, but I'm embarrassed when a non-believer picks up a 'Christian' work of fiction and recognizes it for the junk it really is...
Recently, I picked up a 'Christian' book and was shocked at how GOOD it was. Not just good enough for the Christian market, but good enough to stand in the cutthroat world of mass publishing. Karen Kingsbury's book A Time To Dance is excellent. She tells an interesting story; Her characters are compelling, full-bodied and believable. The tension rises appropriately, her writing soars.

From the inside cover:
John and Abby Reynolds were the perfect couple, sharing a love born of childhood friendship and deep family ties. They are envied by their friends, cherished by their children, admired by their peeers. But John and Abby are about to lose it all. On the verge of having an affair, John is no more the man Abby married than she is the long-ago girl of his dreams. They are strangers whose days of dancing seem gone forever.
They gather their three children to announce their plans, but before they can speak, their daughter makes an announcement of her own: she's getting married in the summer.
Abby and John determine not to ruin their daughter's season of happiness, but as the wedding nears they are haunted by questions. Is the decision they've made irreversible? Are there times when marriage- even the marriage between two people of faith- is truly beyond repair? And is it possible, alone in the moonlight on an old wooden pier, to once more find... a time to dance?

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Gidget is my mom's cat. (Although my mom will definitely deny that one) She has adopted my mom completely against my mom's will. She wants to sleep with my mom and she sits at my mom's feet at night. Kinda cute when you realize my mom almost made Beth take this cat to the pound.
Anyway, Gidget has been VERY sick. For a while we thought we were gonna lose her. She got kinda sick to her tummy, didn't want to eat, and then started going into something called fatty liver disease. Her body was eating her fat, which made her feel sick, which made her not eat, which made her body eat her fat... A vicious circle. We've been force feeding her this special (expensive) food from the vet, and she seems to be coming out of it- Thank God!
Gidget also has adopted Deborah and will follow Deborah around and let her pet her, and we knew Deborah wasn't ready to deal with her death.
So, glad to report, Gidget will be around to terrorize the other cats, at least for a while.


This is my kitty's favorite place to be- on the back of the couch.

Her second favorite place to be is trailing me... If I'm on the computer, she's either on the floor under my chair or trying to squirm into my lap. If I'm watching tv or beading, she's up behind me on the back of the couch. If I'm in bed, she's in bed next to me. If I'm making dinner, she's tripping me and walking in between my feet...

Sweet, but annoying sometimes. I think her favorite song is this old Vineyard tune, "I just want to be where you are, dwelling daily in your presence..." Most of the time, I'm okay with her need to be right with me, sometimes I'm not. Especially since she's one of those cats who wants her face right in mine.

Beth took this photo of me while napping. Right after my back surgery, I was napping every 2 or 3 hours. I had been gone for almost a week in Anchorage and Luna was pretty pathetic about following me around. Anyway, there Luna is, right in my face. I should probably be embarrassed and not sharing it with the world....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

- Gall Bladder

Jake is home! Yay!
He's pretty pathetic, and pale. The sores in & one his mouth are better and his skin looks better.
He's minus one nasty gall bladder, though, and we're expecting that to eventually make a HUGE difference. Right now he's in a lot of pain, so it's hard to say...
He's sleeping a lot, and his jeans are falling off him 'cuz he lost so much weight. He's still on a liquid diet, but that should change today or tomorrow.
lol. He looks like one of the gangster wanna-be's, with his jeans hanging down to his knees. (I'm so ready for that look to not be popular! At our school we had to require the kids to keep their underwear covered up or it would quickly become their outerwear.)
The girls are so happy their daddy is home! And so am I.

Daily give-away blog

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Jake in surgery

The tests have finally let us know what's going on!

I got a call this morning that they are removing his gall bladder. I hope that's all he's got wrong. They were talking some nasty auto-immune deficiency disease as well... Which would be hard to deal with since doctors still know so little about the immune system.
Anyway, I'm going to the hospital to wait to know more.
Please pray he's better.

He's lost twenty lbs since last Monday, and they haven't let him eat anything since last Sunday. He's got nasty sores on his tongue, horrible headaches, and his belly hurts constantly.

I want him to feel better!!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Third Day's Revelation

Third Day recently released this song, Revelation, as part of their last cd. Many Christian songs leave me cold- they're too 'Churchy', too full of words, too full of themselves. Seems many of them are manipulative, and frankly, many are just lousy.
This song got me. I relate to the lyricist... I have been in this place for too long. I'm tired of not knowing exactly what I'm doing, or if I'm really where God wants me to be right now.
sung by Third Day

My life has led me down the road that’s so uncertain
And now I am left alone and I am broken,
Tryin’ to find my way, tryin’ to find the faith that’s gone
This time, I know that you are holding all the answers
I’m tired of losing hope and taking chances,
On roads that never seem,
To be the ones that bring me home

Give me a revelation,
Show me what to do
Cause I’ve been tryin’ to find my way,
I haven’t got a clue
Tell me should I stay here,
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I’ve got nothing without You
I’ve got nothing without You

My life has led me down this path that’s ever winding
Through every twist and turn I’m always finding,
That I am lost again (I am lost again)
Tell me when this road will ever end

Give me a revelation,
Show me what to do
Cause I’ve been tryin’ to find my way,
I haven’t got a clue
Tell me should I stay here,
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I’ve got nothing without You
I’ve got nothing without

I don’t know where I can turn
Tell me when will I learn
Won’t You show me where I need to go
Oh oh
Let me follow Your lead,
I know that it’s the only way that I can get back home

Give me a revelation,
Show me what to do
Cause I’ve been trying to find my way,
I haven’t got a clue
Tell me should I stay here,
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I’ve got nothing without You
I’ve got nothing without You
Oh, give me a revelation
I’ve got nothing without You
I’ve got nothing without You

Friday, February 13, 2009

Apocalyptic Health Week

Okay, so apocalyptic is probably stretching it a bit, but Jake says he feels like he's dying, so there you go.
Here's the overview:
Jake's ended up in the ER twice this week, with us trying to figure out what's going on. We thought he had flu. We thought he had some weird allergic reaction. We thought maybe he ate something bad... Turns out his gall bladder has probably stopped functioning, and he might have some weird immune system non-viral hepatitis... He hurts all the time, and he's lost 10 lbs this week. He's had some tummy problems for a while, and his doctor thought it was GERD, but turns out this is way more complicated. They were talking about removing his gall bladder, but you can't just remove a liver without killing someone. We're waiting til next Tuesday to hear what's gonna happen.
And I am having weird bladder/endo pain. I have been for a couple weeks. Thought I might have a urinary tract infection. Turns out it's more complicated, too. I saw a doctor Monday, and one yesterday. Today I had a fun ultrasound. (not) And, bonus! I saw the OB/GYN in town who specializes in ultrasounds. That's all he does, and all he's done for quite some time. And I perplexed him. He'd never seen anything like what was going on inside me. I had 'shiny bright dots', 'tubular shapes', myomas, endomas, cysts, the works. So I'm probably looking at surgery, too. Good thing I'm pretty much recovered from the one I had 7 weeks ago. Hah!
I sure hope we don't end up in the hospital having surgery at the same time...
Deborah has recovered from her eye scratch. Thank God! And Abigail's doing well. So, two Sirevaag's down, two to go.

Monday, February 09, 2009


I have to share this blog I found!
I spent about 3 hours laughing my head off the other night- in fact, it was 4 am before I realized I should be in bed instead of staring at my computer screen...
The Blog is Cake Wrecks, and the blogger showcases professional cake tragedies. I must share a few: Oh! The hilarity! I got all the way back to her cakes from last Halloween before discovering the time... The tragic ghosts are hysterical, and I've never seen so many funny looking turkeys (Thanksgiving) in all my life...
The ones that made me just about cry were the wedding comparisons... She shows you a picture of what the bride asked for, and then shows what she got (most of which, I HOPE, were not paid for...) My cake was done by a dear friend, and was spectacularly beautiful. I cannot imagine paying money, and a LOT of money, for one of these cake monstrosities...
Anyway, for more fun cakes, check her out at

Had to share this one for my drama friends. Spiderman's got Jazz Hands!!!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth

I visited the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth as often as possible.
It required enough money and a car, neither of which were come by easily during those years. I don't remember when I went the first time, but I think it was for a class... Or maybe for a friend's class? I think I went with my roommate the first time...
Anyway, I discovered a couple of my favorite paintings there:
This is 'Country Road by a House'
by Geffredo Wals.
I don't know why I like it... I think it reminds me a bit of the chalk drawings in Mary Poppins- that feeling of being able to pop in the painting any minute and explore the world behind the trees and buildings.
Also, I'm a road trip person. Even before I traveled to perform, I loved to travel. And experienced a LOT of it. My family lived in Southern Oregon during most of my childhood, and we'd drive up to Albany (about an hour & 1/2 south of Portland) to visit my grandparents regularly. It was 168 miles from our driveway to theirs.
During the year my Grammy was dying of cancer, we drove up to their house almost every weekend. We'd pile in the car Friday after school, drive up and stay until late Sunday night.
I have so many memories of driving places... Driving across Texas. Driving across Oregon. Driving across California. Driving from Fairbanks to Washington. Driving from Fairbanks to Fort Worth. Driving from Fort Worth to New England. Driving from Fort Worth to Washington.
Somehow this painting taps into my love for the road, and the possibilities just around the bend.
Another of my favorite paintings:

Interior of the Buurkerk
by Pieter Jansz Saenredam
I love the sense of open space in this painting. It reminds me a bit of the fantasy in M.C. Escher's painting, but far more beautiful... Almost a spiritual openness.
The funny part is that it is such a SMALL painting... Not at all what I'd think from the feeling it creates.
During the year my sister lived with me we got to see an exhibit of Monet's less famous work at the Kimbell. I love Monet. I'm probably an impressionist at heart... ;) I'm less fond of his more well known works- water lilies, for example. I had to choose a painting to copy in my painting class and did a HORRIBLE version of one of his water paintings. I will not assault anyone with a picture of my Monet copy!
Indian statues
Here's another odd memory of the Kimbell:
The Kimbell hosts traveling exhibits from different museums. One time my sister and I went together they were hosting an exhibit of Indian statues/idols... Shiva, Brahma, Lakshmi, Kali, Ganesa, Vishnu... Most of the statues were images of the Indian gods and goddesses. And most of them were beautiful.
You need to know that I'm not a freaky weird person here, 'cuz what I'm about to say is kind of freaky weird...
Over two of those statues, we felt demonic presences.
We looked at each other, didn't say a word, and were like 'let's go on upstairs NOW and see the rest of what in the museum'... And when we talked about it in the car afterwards we both knew exactly which statues it was. And they didn't look any weirder than the rest. In fact one of 'em was downright unimpressive.
I don't know what those specific statues had been used for- Sacrifices. Demon worship. Evil. (Yes, I know I sound weird here...)
But there were demons in the room hanging out around those two statues, and we didn't even get to see the rest of the exhibit 'cuz we both got kind of freaked out.
We're not talking haunted house freaked out, either.
They didn't do anything. They didn't start throwing things around, or spinning in circles, or falling off their pedestals.
They just felt evil. And like they rejoiced in evil. And like they'd love to see more evil. And like they were threatened by the presence of Jesus with-in us...
Don't get me wrong. Jesus is way more powerful than any demon. And he's going to win the fight. But I did not need to be jumping into demonic warfare over a statue that had been used for evil in the way back past...
And seminary students are under way more spiritual attack than you'd dream was even possible.
So. The Kimbell Art Museum. Pretty cool. I love the air and space and windows. I love the different galleries, and how they set up materials from their own collection. They get good traveling exhibits in, and have a good membership rate.

If you get a chance to visit Fort Worth, don't miss out on this little museum.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

January Reads

Finally, I got to go to the library! I had to wait until I could carry my books. LOL! The one thing about having back surgery is that I haven't been able to lift much- I felt pretty silly. For a while I couldn't even set the table, 'cuz 4 large dinner plates were too heavey, and forget grocery shopping...
Anyway, I finally got to go to the library and I found so many wonderful books this time.
Moon Flights by Elizabeth Moon A+
Lots of short stories by Moon- Loved this book- Read it in two days.
Only one bad one in the entire bunch, and I think if I was into World War II alternative history stuff, I’d love that one. I’m not, and I read a couple of pages and skipped it. I just don’t know enough about the Navy, warships, and WWII to appreciate an alternative version. I enjoy Emoon’s stories so much- her characters are full-bodied and believable, and her situations are genuinely interesting.

Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce A+
From the jacket: Four years have passed since Evvy left the streets of Chammur to begin her training as a stone mage. At fourteen, she’s unhappy to be on a new journey with her mentor, prickly green mage Rosethorn, who has been called to the Battle Islands to determine why the plants and animals there are dying. Evvy’s job is to listen and learn, but she can’t just keep quiet and do nothing. With the help of Luvo, the living stone heart of a mountain, Evvy uncovers an important clue. Now, with the island on the brink of disaster, it’s up to Evvy to halt sheer destruction.
Superb YA fantasy. This is a followup for her Circle of Magic books. Evvy was found by Briar, one of the original four and then her magical training is entrusted to Rosethorn. Loved this Coming-of-Age story. Evvy is such a bristly, stubborn character- I think I relate to her too much... One of my favorite Pierce novels and that’s saying a lot since I love her characters, worlds, and take on life.
The Sharing Knife: Passage by Lois McMaster Bujold A+
Book 3 in The Sharing Knife saga. The continuing story of Fawn and Dag as they attempt to blend their two completely different worlds (he's a magical Lakewalker & she's a 'mundane' farmer). I love her characters, and she has created a truly fascinating & believable world. There's a touch of romance, but the focus is the adventure. One of those delightful books where you are completely satisfied at the end, but wish it didn’t end...
Foundation by Mercedes Lackey A+
YAY! Book one of a new Valdemar series- The Collegium Chronicles! Takes the Valdemar story back to when the Collegia schools are first founded, and explores how that took place... Intriguing characters, an interesting mystery, delightful magic and classic fantasy.

The Nobodies by N.E. Bode A+
A section of the forward:
This book promises weird surprises! Multiple jujitsu-like plot twists! A girl whose braids turn into snakes!
Light YA fantasy. The second in the Anybody Series. Very fun and Silly. A blend of The Wizard of Oz books and Harry Potter. A mystery to solve and magic galore.
The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines A+
From the back:
You know how all those old fairy tales take you through lots of scary adventures till you finally reach that inevitable line: "And they lived happily ever after.." Guess what? It’s not true. Life in never-never land isn’t all sweetness and light. Cinderella- whose real name is Danielle Whiteshore (nee Danielle de Glas)- does marry Prince Armand. And (if you can ignore the pigeon incident) their wedding is a dream-come-true.
But not long after the "happily ever after," Danielle is attacked by her stepsister Charlotte, who suddenly has all sorts of magic to call upon. And though Talia- otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty- comes to the rescue (she’s a martial arts master, and all those fairy blessing make her almost unbeatable), Charlotte gets away.
That’s when Danielle discovers a number of disturbing facts: Armand has been kidnapped and taken to the realm of the fairies; Danielle is pregnant with his child; and the Queen has her own very Secret Service that consists of Talia and Snow (White, of course). Snow is an expert at mirror magic and heavy-duty flirting.
Can the three princesses track down Armand and extract both the prince and themselves from the clutches of some of fantasyland’s most nefarious villains?
LOVED this. A light & dark tale... Has very fun characters and situations, but touches on some very evil things. Turns the fairy-tale conventions upside down. Good humor, but some serious themes... Interesting, believable and strong characters.
The Time Garden by Edward Eager A
Excellent YA. Fun light fantasy. 4 children embark on a variety of time adventures aided by a garden of magic thyme. A delightful story, in the vein of Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
The Sisters Grimm: The Fairytale Detectives by Michael Buckley A
From the back:
For Sabrina & Daphne Grimm, life hasn’t been a fairy tale. After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, the sisters are sent to live with their grandmother- a woman they believed was dead! Granny Relda reveals that the girls have two famous ancestors, the Brothers Grimm, whose classic book of fairy tales is actually a collection of case files of magical mischief. Now the girls must take on the family responsibility of being fairy-tale detectives. Their first case? A roller-coaster ride of an adventure to stop a giant from destroying their new hometown.
Very Fun YA. Another one of the Battle of the Books books, which I didn’t know until I went to check it out... Fractured fairy-tale mystery and mayhem.

Speaks the Nightbird by Robert McCammon A
From the cover:
Robert McCammon, author of the best-sellers Boy's Life and Gone South, returns to the forefront of American fiction with Speaks the Nightbird.
Is there a witch in Carolina in 1699? The people of the town of Fount Royal think so. Her name is Rachel; she's foreign, beautiful, and brave--no wonder so many people hate her.
Comes a traveling magistrate to hold a witch trial, and his clerk, Matthew. The evidence spells doom for Rachel: witch's tools are found in her home, she will not speak the Lord's Prayer, and witnesses swear they've seen her commit unspeakable acts with the Devil himself.
But Matthew hears the call of the nightbird. He wonders--is there any such thing as witchcraft? If Rachel can fly through the night on wings of evil, why hasn't she escaped from the town gaol?
And the town itself--who murdered Rachel's husband? How did the ratcatcher learn to hypnotize his prey? Who stands to gain if the witch is burned?
God and Satan are indeed at war in Fount Royal, and even the innocent are not safe.
An early colonial America tale of passion and witchcraft. Loved this convoluted mystery. A heavy story, but the ending is satisfying and the journey is intriguing.

Shakespeare’s Trollop by Charlaine Harris A
The next Lily Bard mystery. Follows cleaning lady Lily’s discovery of yet another body and her determination to discover what happened. Fun mystery.

Last Look by Mariah Stewart A
From the cover:
News that the body of a recently murdered prostitute has been identified as Shannon Randall stuns the FBI, particularly special agent Dorsey Collins. Twenty-four years ago, nineteen-year-old Eric Louis Beale was convicted and later executed for Shannon’s murder- and the agent in charge of the case was Dorsey’s father. Now Dorsey is determined to find out where her father’s investigation went wrong, what part he played in the death of an innocent man, and where Shannon has been all this time.
Excellent mystery. Compelling characters. Although I’d figured out some parts, I had no idea exactly what had happened, and was surprised.
Last Words by Mariah Stewart A
Another excellent mystery. Murder, mayhem plus FBI agents.
Blood Brothers, The Hollow, and The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts B+
The sign of 7 trilogy. Re-read the first two so that I could remember everything for the last one. I’m glad I know what happened, I’m glad they defeated the evil demon thing, and I’m glad the trilogy is over. The last book starts out much more slowly than the other two, but clicks in about half-way through. Not her best trilogy.
Warrior Princesses edited by Elizabeth Scarborough B
Short stories. Some good, some bad...
Help! I’m drowning In Debt by Dr. Bill Maier C
I wanted an easy answer! :) I guess that’s not possible. Lots of facts, and straightforward help. Quick read.