Saturday, July 08, 2006 began as a response and evolved into a post...

Very thought-provoking discussions on the blogosphere this week!

"Does literature teach us to empathize with other people, or does it merely teach us to empathize with fictional people, who are infinitely less likely to inconvenience us than are real ones?" - Wittingshire - (read the whole article - it's worth it!!)

Kim writes " All I've got to say is, "If loving literature is wrong, I don't want to be right." Go over to Hiraeth and read some riveting responses!

And here's my 2 cents worth...

Reading is not a substitute for action but rather a challenge to action. Anytime I read, I learn - when I learn, I am challenged - when I am challenged, I become uncomfortable - when I am uncomfortable, I move.

Overindulgence in reading, especially certain types of literature, can be unhealthy when it is used primarily as an escape. (like when my son went through a fantasy lit. stage and became disillusioned when the world didn't pan out that way)

But when I enter someone else's world through literature, I can experience different cultures, different viewpoints, different historical eras, different stages of life or even gender. Somehow, in a work of fiction, we enter the lives of the characters - we come to know them - we identify with them - we care about them. When that work of fiction actually reflects the plight of real people, then we can no longer ignore those situations.

Not to say that reading about something is the same as experiencing it in real life, but a vicarious experience through literature (or the movies or photography for that matter) can be a powerful tool - a sword. It can have a compelling emotional effect that non-fiction sometimes lacks. Think of Uncle Tom's Cabin - all the emancipation speeches did not do what this one "novel" did. Consider President Lincoln statement to Harriet Beecher Stowe - ”So you're the little girl that started this big war."

That particular novel is one example of the power of literature to affect change – to alter the course of history and nations.

Now to provoke some thought/discussion/rumbling...

Think of Dan Brown... he certainly had an effect - albeit temporary.

Where is the Christian writer who can break out of the ghetto and write a novel that will speak to Everyman's longing today - the longing that is part of our being because we are made in the image of God and, as Augustine says, our hearts will be restless until we rest in Him?

I believe that he, or she, is out there and I am praying that the Lord will inspire him, or her, to begin that book.

'nuff said... :)

This is the totally unbiased opinion of a English major, Language Arts teacher and librarian.

books and honey - - sweet!!

Friday, July 07, 2006

listen to your mother...

My mother was a beach lover - every single sunny day of the summer she packed a picnic cooler and we headed off to one of the many beaches here on PEI. And she always carried her beach bag with her - even on rainy days because "You never know - the sun might come out..."

I headed to town the other day - it was a rainy afternoon - the sky was grey and leaden. I brought my laptop looking forward to a cozy afternoon on high speed in at Timothy's coffee house (not to be mistaken for Tim Horton's - both good experiences but not to be compared...).

Around 4pm I noticed bright sunlight streaming in the windows. All of a sudden my childhood training (indoctrination?) kicked in gear.

sunny summer afternoon = beach

oops - no beachbag - no towel - no swimsuit.

Why would that make me feel vaguely guilty?

the power of Moms...

We went up anyway, sans beachbag, to walk on the sand, enjoy the salt air, the sound of the waves and the joy of being alive on a beautiful summer evening on the beach.


The beach is never crowded in the evening - usually the tourists head back to their campsites or cottages and the Islanders take over. They don't like the crowds or the National Park entrance fee. It's free after 4pm.

The water is unusually warm this year.

This little guy was having so much fun!

A favourite pastime - walking along the shore...

(I'm heading to town today - my beachbag is in the backseat - OK Mom?)

and thanks for the lovely day and pictures Rinda Dean :)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Enjoying summer

Monday, July 03, 2006

For TBFs only....

Sue just passed her 100th post and that got me thinking about how many posts I've written - apparently 127!! I missed my 100th milestone.

oh well...

In honour of my 127th post I will write 127 things . (sorry I only made it 106 - actually I'm sure you're quite relieved...) Don't feel obliged to read them... although I'm sure you will be totally engrossed, fascinated, enthralled...ok, maybe mildly interested :)


1. I am the youngest of 5 children - 3 girls and 2 boys.

2. My older brother drowned the year before I was born. He was 3.

3. This death influenced our family both for good, and for not so good.

4. My mother made sure we all were good swimmers.

5. My oldest sister, Pat, was 10 years older than I and she was like a mother to me.

6. I started piano when I was 8 and took lessons for 6 years.

7. I love to play although I don't play as well as I should.

8. I love, love, love to read.

9. When I was a child I used to take 14 or more books from the library every week. My love for books sometimes got me into

10. I grew up in a little town where large maples and oaks hung over
Main Street and everyone knew your name and your parents and your grandparents.

11. On every Christmas list I asked for a horse, a saddle and a years worth of feed - then I would write other things.

12. I never received a horse - or a saddle - or the feed - but I did get the next thing on those lists.

13. We hung up our stockings every Christmas Eve and were not allowed to get out of bed until
7 am
on Christmas morning.

14. I played outside ALL the time - summer and winter - the only time my friends and I were allowed in to play was on rainy days.

15. I didn't watch much TV because we only had 1 station.

16. My favourite treat growing up was a fudgesicle and a MacIntosh toffee bar.

17. I wonder why I have a lot of fillings in my teeth.... :)

18. My mother took us swimming on every sunny day in the summer and on a few rainy days too.

19. YES!! The water surrounding
PEI is lovely for swimming. The Gulf stream and the shallow shelf surrounding the Island's shore warm the saltwater to a nice 70-80 degrees.

20. I love L M Montgomery's writing including Anne although as a child, I loved Emily better.

21. I love where I live - I am an Islander born and bred.

22. Islanders feel 'strange" when they are off the
Island - a little uncomfortable - because on an island you know where you are - you have clearly delineated borders - the sea - but on the mainland, where are you?? There are no borders. This is a strange concept that islanders find hard to explain and non-islanders find hard to understand.

23. Everyone who is born on the
is "from here".

24. Everyone else is "from away".

25. Islanders love new people to adopt the
Island as their homeland - case in point "Anne of Green Gables" who was born in Nova Scotia and adopted the Island as her home. LM Montgomery was born here but it is interesting that her most famous character was not.

26. When I was growing up there were 35 children in my neighbourhood - no shortage of playmates!

27. We played countless games of Annie Over, Hide and Go Seek, Frozen Tag, TV Tag, British Bulldog, Kick the Can, Touch Football, Baseball, Street Hockey, Red Rover, Capture The Flag and

28. Also the game "Shoot" - a homemade game where one player “shot" the others and a panel of judges picked the one who died the most dramatic death - a mite violent but lots of fun!

29. Another home-made game - "
Pine-needle Town" played every fall in our neighbour's yard. They had many huge pine trees and we would rake the needles and make outlines of houses and stores. We made paper money and had businesses. I remember selling chestnut pipes and renting out stick horses. The rules were very strict - you could only have $50.00 paper money and you had to earn the rest. We had to support the businesses - I remember buying imaginary dresses :) The game would go on for about 3 weeks.

30. And then our neighbour's father would organize a huge raking day. All the kids of the neighbourhood would rake the lawn and we would load the pine-needles into the back of a ton truck. Then we would ride down to their cottage, have a bon-fire, hotdogs and fireworks. It was one of the high points of every year!

31. I had my tonsils out when I was 11 - one of my friends brought me a Crunchie bar. She knew it was my favourite but of course, I was only allowed to eat Jell-O and ice-cream. I told her I couldn't eat it, so she ate it right in front of me! I never forgot that!

32. I dealt with my boredom by sneaking out of my bed and going down to visit the babies and toddlers in the nursery. The nurses weren't happy with me...

33. I went to see the movies every Sat. afternoon at a theatre we called "The Show-hall". We watched westerns, Ma and Pa Kettle, The Three Stooges and Elvis Presley.

34. My mother became sick with MS when I was 11.

35. She was in the hospital for a year but made a good recovery and lived until she was 70 years of age.

36. I loved to play with dolls - for a long time.

37. I was hospitalized when I was 13 for pneumonia.

38. When I was over the worst of the pneumonia, but still in the hospital, my mom wanted to bring my dolls so that I wouldn't be bored, but I was too embarrassed to be seen playing with them.

39. I was 13 when I became a Christian - at a camp. I have always been very thankful for the timing of my conversion because when I was also 13,

40. my dad, a recovered alcoholic who had been sober for 15 years, started to drink again. not good.

41.I became a lifeguard at age 15.

42. We camped every summer when I was little - my dad didn't really like it but he was very cheery about it. He slept on a cot, my mom on an air mattress and the rest of us slept in sleeping bags on the tent floor.

43. We got together with my father's family several times each summer. My grandmother, great aunts, great uncles, aunts, uncles, first, second and third cousins. The family reunions had all kinds of people that I never even knew and my aunt would take me around the parlour and introduce me to each one of the older relatives saying "This is Peter's youngest." It was so boring - I had to be so polite. I could hardly wait to get outside to run around with my cousins.

45. My mother's family were scattered all over
Canada so we didn't get together with them as often. But every year my Aunt Mary (for whom I was named) would send me money at Christmas time.

46. My brother and I had a paper route - we rode double on a bike - I sat on the seat and held the bundles of papers while he pedalled, standing up.

47. We ate hot oatmeal porridge every morning, winter and summer, for breakfast.

48. One summer, while we were camping, my mother didn't bring the porridge pot because she wanted a break from washing it every day. My brother and I cried because we wanted our porridge. She went out and bought a pot.

49. My dad worked for the Federal Dept. of Fisheries so we ate a lot of lobster - If I saw that there was lobster for supper, I would moan "Not lobster again!" Times have changed... :)

50. I was 9 years old when my best friend's mother died very suddenly. When I heard the news, I ran into the bathroom, locked the door and wouldn't come out.

51. When I was 11, my second oldest sister, Deb, brought home a little dog named Cami. I taught her to do all kinds of tricks like jump into my arms, sit up, lay down, stay, shake. She slept in my bed every night. She lived until I was 21.

52. When I was little, my chores were cleaning the bathroom, dusting, vacuuming, ironing my father's handkerchiefs and pillowcases and when I was around 12, my mom taught me how to bake cookies and desserts.

53. I received my two favourite Christmas gifts in the same year. A sweet little baby doll and a pair of home-made crutches.

54. Why would I want a pair of crutches? A little boy in my Grade 1 class broke his leg and we all loved to borrow his crutchers (our name for them). At home I was always hopping around on yardsticks. So my Dad made me a pair. I was the envy of the neighbourhood.

55. I had my first job when I was 15 - teaching swimming lessons.

56. I was an active member of a group called Allied Youth - and attended my first International Conference in Buck Hill Falls, PA, when I was 15 .

57. I joined a singing group called The New Christian Singers when I was 16. I played keyboard.

58. I met one of my best friends in that group and her brother....who became my husband.

59. My Dad died when I was 18.

59. I went to Philadelphia College of Bible after I graduated from High School. A small town girl in a huge city. I lasted for one year.

60. I transferred to
Winnipeg Bible College (now called Providence College) in Manitoba.

61. My husband and I were married
Dec. 30th, 1976
while we were home on Christmas break from college. I was only 19 - a babe... he was the ripe old age of 22.

62. We graduated from college and came home to
. We attended UPEI - he majored in history and I majored in English and Education.

63. We travelled to L'Abri in
and attended school there for several months.

64. After L'Abri - which we loved - we travelled from
Greece to Florence to Venice to Folkstone to London to Glasgow to Skye to Raasay in Scotland
. An unforgettable experience.

65. Our first baby, a son, was born in 1980 and followed by three more brothers and a sister.

66. We moved to Mass to attend Gordon Conwell Seminary - for 3 years.

67. Then we were off to
Ontario, living near the border of Quebec, where my husband attended McGill in Montreal
for a year in order to meet the Presbyterian Church of Canada ordination requirements.

68. Our first church was a little Presbyterian church in
Lancaster, Ontario
and another smaller church in Martintown.

69.We received a call to St. John's Presbyterian Church, Belfast, PEI in 1987 and we have been here ever since.

70. Dear me...this is getting hard... boring...are you still with me or could I just type in a bunch of nonsense and no one would even know the difference??

71. My mom died from her final MS attack 9 mos. after our daughter was born - she was so thrilled to see her.

71. I was diagnosed with Wolfe Parkinson White syndrome in 1983 and ended up having open heart surgery in 1992 - 9 mos after my Mom died.

72. It was a long recovery with 5 children ages 18 mos old to 11 years and I was unable to lift anything. I still wonder how I did it...

73. My husband slept on the floor beside me so that if I needed anything he would be right there. I will never, ever forget that.

74. Our church family brought us meals every day for over a month.

75. My mother in law - who is a saint - came and lived with us for a few weeks - doing all my housework, baking and keeping me in bed - no easy task... :)

76. In May,1994 I was diagnosed with clinical depression -
a difficult 3 years and 7 mos.

77. The Lord rescued me in Dec. 1997. Psalm 40:1 - "He lifted me out of the horrible, slimy pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock."

78. I love to sing - play piano, guitar and now...I'm learning
Celtic harp :)

79. Have I mentioned how much I love to read?? Especially children's books? here is a
list of my favourites (and yours)

80. I teach information literacy to 200 students grades 1-9 and also manage the school library. I am also the webmaster of my school site

81. I play keyboard and sing on my worship team every Sunday.

82. I am the proud mama of the
Chucky Danger Band

83. I love to kayak - winter and summer

84. My favourite

85. I am running out of things to say... unless I get started on prayer and revival - oh my! I'd be good for another 100 things maybe even 1000... we have been praying for revival here on
PEI for a long time. We will keep on praying until it comes.

86. I am convinced that prayer is the answer. I want to go deeper and deeper in prayer. It's my life goal.

87. do you guys so this 100 thing anyway?? I love babies - oh there's a good topic!!

88. I was the happiest ever when I was pregnant - it's true I never was sick even 1 day...I felt wonderful. I prayed for my babies from before they were conceived.

89. Nursing my babies was a very close second in happiness and satisfaction. I miss those sweet baby hands reaching up to touch my cheek.

90. I tried to teach my first newborn baby to read...poor child...he was the unfortunate and fortunate trial baby in so many ways... (does anyone else remember that book - teach Your Baby To Read? and did it work for you? and why did we care???

91. My boys had an adventurous streak- the neighbours would drive by and peer into our yard to see what "Those MacPhee boys" were up to next!!

92. Like the time they decided to hook up a rope slide from the top of huge spruce tree using an old rope and tricycle handlebars - it was fast - the problem was landing...

93. or the time they decided to slide down the stairs inside a sleeping bag - it worked until they decided to go down double - another trip to the doctor.

94. countless years of hockey games were great outlets for their boundless energy

95. and music - piano lessons, trumpet lessons,
drum lessons, high school band drumming and guitar lessons.

96. Their little sister was not far behind them although she showed a very definite feminine streak - she loves her dolls and babies and can hardly wait to have her own little one.

97. Am I allowed to write about my husband here? I'll tie it into me ok? He loves to fly-fish - I don't. He loves to hunt - I don't. He loves to go to Tim Horton's - I do too. Tim's is the social gathering place on
PEI. We both love where we live - and the people we live with - and each other!! 30 years of marriage will be celebrated this Dec. 30th.

98. I love to walk along the beach - and in the woods.

99. I love to watch the sun set over the water - and rise over the trees outside my kitchen windows.

100. I was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy a few years ago - a genetic heart muscle problem. It makes me tired.

101. My sister died of this disease 4 years ago - my other sister and my brother also have it. bad genes...

102. I have a prayer partner, photographer guru, kayaking buddy, beach pal and general encourager all rolled up in one best friend - aren't I blessed!!

103. It's fun to blog in a coffee shop - that's where I am now - Timothy's.

104. Bother ...think... think.... think ... oh that reminds me - I love Winnie the Pooh.

105. Hmmm - oh dear...the sun has come out - I don't think I'm going to make it to 127...

106. Phew...did I really say I would write 127?? I must have been crazy - I like to blog - but the sun is shining and this list has taken so much longer than I thought....

Did you really read it all?? are my TBF - True Blogging Friend

*update* -

I just have to give an award to all you lovely TBFs... :)

TBF Trophy