Saturday, May 06, 2006

Shining stories...

Update on May 4/06 post "Get Caught Reading".

In the comment section of that post I wrote about
Mitali Perkins, a wonderful Young Adult (YA) author who has garnered many awards for her book Monsoon Summer.

As a teacher-librarian, I can attest that "wonderful" YA authors are a rare breed. Often the literature geared to that age group is dark, depressing and explicit. This novel shines like a light among the choices held out to that audience - it is brimming with life. When I read it I felt that the author must be a Christian. I was right - and today I discovered her faith story...

"...One afternoon, we were scheduled for a tour of the Hermitage, a beautiful museum in St. Petersburg. The regular English-speaking guide was sick, but a higher-up museum official was assigned to take us from room to room. Once again, most of the paintings were of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. I didn't really listen to the tour, but stood at the edge of the group, questions racing through my mind.

... Just before we were about to leave, the Russian official pulled me aside. "You are struggling with something, aren't you?" he asked in a low voice. "What are you thinking about?"

I was surprised into telling the truth. "About God," I told him. "And about suffering."

"You are at an intersection of choice," he said. "There is no turning back. Either you decide Jesus is the Son of God, or you turn your back on him forever. You must choose for yourself."

I felt a shiver that had nothing to do with the icy Russian winter. Somebody was pursuing me. Some-body was reaching out to love me, someone who was more than a system of beliefs, a credo, or a philosophy. Slowly, it was dawning on me that I was being courted by a person, not a religion. I was seeking truth, and Truth himself was seeking me...

Read the whole article here.

And then grab yourself a copy of Monsoon Summer. Read it with your daughter - or a friend's daughter! This book is a jewel!!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Birds in flight...

The beach was beautiful today with
the tang of salt in the air
and the
waves lapping quietly
along the shoreline.

The seagulls were a noisy crew, screeching and flapping,
making a lot of commotion. I like to watch them dive down, snatch a clam or mussel and then soar up high to drop them on the rocks, breaking the shells open. Then the fight begins!

Close to shore, a flock of sandpipers performed their amazing aerial feats.
They move so fast, almost as one, twisting and turning, their backs flashing brown, their bottom sides white, swooping in synchronized flight just inches above the waves. I wish I could get a picture of them in action!

My friend and I like to walk through the woods by this beach. There is a bald eagle's nest along the trail. Eagle's nests are very large and heavy, made of sticks and vegetation and lined with feathers and grass. This one was
built in the fork of a tall, old white pine tree.We approached cautiously, keeping our distance, but there didn't seem to be any activity. My friend drew a little closer and, all of a sudden, a huge bald eagle swooped down off a nearby branch. We were startled, to say the least, and left so that we wouldn't disturb the nesting pair. There are only about 25 eagles' nests on PEI. They were endangered here in the 1960's but have made a good comeback.

A farmer made a commotion here a few weeks ago by cutting down a tree that housed an eagle's nest. It is against the law to cut it down while the eagles are nesting but this farmer waited until they had migrated for the winter. Despite the public outrage, he was unrepentant. He said "there's other trees on the Island the eagle can sit in..."

Oh dear....did you know that P.E. Islanders are noted to be "stubborn offshoots of a stubborn breed..."?

Chronicles of Avonlea Ch.1

Photo Credit:
Gulls - Dwaine Oakley
Eagle -
Gerald MacDougall

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I want to catch you...

reading that is...

May is Get Caught Reading Month and as a teacher-librarian I can't ignore that!!

I promised you a while back that I would start an "adult" reading list - but I have to admit that I have a hard time to find really good - clean - compelling - fiction for adults. So many times I start a book and I have to put it down because I'm not interested in reading about their bedroom life...

So I need your help - let's compile a list together. Share with me your favourite fiction adult books. We have a plethora of good non-fiction books in the Christian writing circles but not so much fiction.

And I don't want you to restrict yourself to "Christian" fiction - what is that anyway??? I'm always amused at the Christian fiction stickers that are on the book spines at our public library - I often wonder who is responsible for the designation!!

I'm hoping you will include classics - like Tolstoy - newer authors like Jan Karon. Don't forget your favourite Dickens book. Mine is Bleak House. Of course LM Montgomery - I wouldn't classify her solely as a children's author. Christy by Catherine Marshall is a heart-warmer. And if you want a gentle read - the kind of book that you can read before bedtime without worrying about getting so caught up that you are awake until 2, then try Miss Read's books - a series about a teacher in a small English village. If you are in a more adventurous mood try PD James mysteries or Martha Grimes - a mystery series with a Dicken's flair.

It's storytime for the big kids - what books are on your list?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A perfect evening on Prince Edward Island

Clamming with friends...

Rinse clams

Soak them overnight in some water and a handful of oatmeal (helps to get rid of the sand)

Steam for a few minutes and then eat with melted garlic butter....

A perfect ending to a perfect evening...

Photo credits - Rinda Dean

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


For those of you who are wondering about the sound of the Celtic harp listen to this lovely recording by harpist Dennis Doyle

Humbly We Adore Thee

Be Thou My Vision

Wild Mountain Thyme

It's inspiring me to dust off my Irish whistles too! It really is "peaceful, quiet, serene, gentle music that will get you through the day..."

Photo Credit - Rinda Dean

Monday, May 01, 2006


My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.

Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples. Ps. 57:7-9

Last Saturday, I was at the Pinch Penny Fair at our local library and a Celtic harpist was playing the most beautiful music. I was enthralled. I sat and just closed my eyes to listen as she played. I love music - I play piano and guitar - I sing - I write music - and I am on the worship team at our church.For many years, I have had a little dream tucked way down deep - to play the Celtic harp.

But the obstacles seemed like huge boulders blocking a pathway -
  • money for lessons and rental
  • after three months rental the harp has to be purchased
  • time to practice
  • an even deeper fear...what if I'm not good??
My dear friend - prayer partner - encourager - and kayaking buddy - gave me a little push to go up and introduce myself to the harpist. As I talked with her about the possibilities of learning the harp, I was unsure, almost diffident, but she looked straight in my eyes and said "Just get a harp in your hands."

Just do it - start - try - let the picture unfold - without knowing all the details.

It feels like a leap of faith - only a little one, but still, I am dependent on Him. I will never know all He may have in mind, if I don't take this first step and "get a harp in my hands".

I have another dream...this one has been nurtured for a very long time.

Someday, Lord willing, I would like to go to Africa to work with orphaned children. There are many obstacles to this dream too, but I am giving it into the Lord's hands, knowing that He can accomplish all things. I do not know all the details - how the Lord will work it out - but I am praying that when the time is right, He will make a way.

I believe that when we delight in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart.

But even more than that, I believe that He creates our desires - He plants them and waters them - He causes them to blossom and come to fruition at just the right season. If we have a deep desire, a longing that will not go away, I believe that we have a responsibility before God to examine it in the light of His presence - asking Him to sift through the longing and purify it for His glory.

Have you ever nurtured a secret dream - a yearning deep inside? Maybe you have never spoken about it to anyone. Maybe the obstacles have seemed too large, too impossible, to overcome. Maybe the thought of actually trying to accomplish your dream feels too intimidating - you're afraid of failure or afraid that reality won't match the dream. Perhaps you have stored your dream on a shelf like a precious heirloom that you are afraid to use in case it gets broken or damaged.

I am getting a Celtic harp in my hands this week...

What dreams are tucked away in your heart?