Monday, September 27, 2010

The House at Riverton

By Kate Morton

This is an excellent book and I enjoyed every minute spent within its pages. Morton does a masterful job taking the reader into the world of the rich and the servants who are devoted to them. 98-year-old Grace reminisces over her life, focusing on the years between 1914 and 1924, when she was in service as a lady's maid at a wealthy estate. Boundaries overlap between the "upstairs" and "downstairs" and tragic secrets are revealed.

It's hard for me to believe The House at Riverton is a debut book and I look forward to reading more by Ms. Morton. Here are her other two books:

You Alone Can Rescue

You Alone Can Rescue
By Matt Redman

You Alone Can Rescue was recently introduced into our worship service and is now my new favorite worship song. I'll just let the words and music speak for themselves . . .

Who, oh Lord, could save themselves
Their own soul could heal?
Our shame was deeper than the sea
Your grace is deeper still

You alone can rescue, You alone can save
You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us, led us out of death
To You alone belongs the highest praise

Monday, August 23, 2010

"The Preacher's Daughter" is the first book in the Annie's People series by Beverly Lewis. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Beverly's writing and look forward to continuing this series, which definitely needs to be read in order.

Amish beliefs differ from mine, yet I enjoy many writers in this genre. Maybe it's the draw of the simple life, uncluttered by all the technologies which consume our time today. Or maybe it's their faith, commitment to family, respect for those in authority over them, or the way they honor and take care of the elderly.

I like that Beverly doesn't write "simplistic" Amish fiction, but brings out conflict and shows that being baptized into the church isn't necessarily an easy decision. And I didn't realize until reading "The Preacher's Daughter" that claiming to have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ is considered by the Amish to be prideful and therefore a punishable offence. I am eager to see how Beverly developes several interesting themes in this series.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Holiday Called Holiday

I'm late in posting this, but I just came across this article by Christian author Terri Blackstock, and it was too good not to share.

A Holiday Called Holiday, by Terri Blackstock

It’s Christmas Eve 2009, and as I work in the kitchen, I’ve had the TV on. I can’t help being amused and a little irritated at the efforts by the media to keep from saying the word “Christmas.” A few days ago I heard a morning talk show host talking about “the spirit of the Holiday,” and I thought, what holiday? Columbus Day? Labor Day? I’m sometimes a little dense, but I need her to be more specific. I didn’t know a season of days could actually have a spirit.

Then today, as I’m watching HGTV, I see a man decorating a house for “The Holiday.” He puts up the tree, decorates the tables, and hangs things on the wall, very carefully avoiding the word Christmas. And he shows us how he painted big letters to hang on the wall, spelling out the word “H-o-l-i-d-a-y.” Really? Are we really celebrating a holiday called Holiday?

It makes me wonder what people who are allergic to the word Christmas say to each other on that day. Do they show up at their families’ homes with their arms loaded with Holiday gifts (wrapped in Holiday paper), and say, “Merry Holiday”? Do they stand around their Holiday tree and sing Holiday carols and eat a Holiday meal? Does no one ever say, “But what holiday?”

We’re not afraid to utter the name of any other holiday. We’re very brazen about saying Happy New Year, Happy Halloween, Happy Labor Day, Happy Columbus Day, Happy July 4th. But to say--gasp!--Merry Christmas is just the height of rudeness? Millions of people around the world are celebrating it with traditions that go back 2000 years, yet we Americans are not allowed to say the word?

You just have to laugh. Those poor people are working so hard to remove the obvious from their … ahem … holiday, that they miss the joy of celebrating Christmas. Yes, I said it. Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas! I love Christmas, and I love the spirit of Christmas, and I love the joy of Christmas. And most of all I love that it all centers around the Christ child “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:6) I guess that’s what they’re really trying to avoid.

I hope you all celebrate Christmas boldly and passionately, and never be afraid to say the name of Christ. We’re not celebrating a holiday called Holiday.