Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You may be a bookaholic ... (#13)

... if, at yard sales, you visit the book table first.

To see all my bookaholic posts, click here:  You may be a bookaholic

Monday, January 30, 2012

A month of letters

Reading Jan's blog last week, I found a challenge to write real letters, as in snail mail.  A month's worth of letters, that is, not counting Sundays and holidays, when the Post Office is closed:
Last September, I took a month off from the internet.  During my vacation, I told people that they could correspond with me by paper letter.  Some people did.  Some people still are.  Every letter delights me.

When I write back, I find that I slow down and write differently than I do with an email.  Email is all about the now.  Letters are different, because whatever I write needs to be something that will be relevant a week later to the person to whom I am writing.  In some ways it forces me to think about time more because postal mail is slower.  “By the time you get this…”  It is relaxing.  It is intimate.  It is both lasting and ephemeral.

How so?  I find that I will often read the letters that I receive twice.  Once when I get them and again as I write back.  So, that makes it more lasting.  It is more ephemeral because I don’t have copies of the letters that I write and I am the only one who has copies of the letters that my correspondents write.  So, more ephemeral.

When was the last time you got a letter in the mail?  December sees a lot of mail, and you remember that sense of delight when the first card arrives.  You can have that more often.

I have a simple challenge for you.

1. In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs.  Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch.

2, Write back to everyone who writes to you.  This can count as one of your mailed items.

All you are committing to is to mail 24 items.  Why 24?  There are four Sundays and one US holiday.  In fact, you might send more than 24 items.  You might develop a correspondence that extends beyond the month.  You might enjoy going to the mail box again.

Feeling intimidated?  It’s fewer words than NaNoWriMo, and I know how many of you do that.  Join me in The Month of Letters Challenge.

Sincerely yours,
Mary Robinette Kowal
If I do this, what will I write?  Who will I send it to?  I put together this much of a post, then stopped.  For four days, I forgot about the challenge altogether.  Then today on Facebook, my friend Madge, who found this through another blogger, said she was going to do it.  Having never met face to face, though we've been book buddies since 1996, Madge and I exchanged addresses and I'm committed.

If you want a letter from me, send your snail mail address to me at emerging(DOT)paradigm(AT)yahoo(DOT)com.  I'll try to write to the first 24 on my list.  I guess I should start with Jan, who wrote the post which alerted me to the challenge, then Madge, who convinced me to do it.  Who else?


I've been blogging for five years now:
2007 ... My first post was about Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake.
2008 ... I missed my "end of January" blogiversary by a day.
2009 ... I completely missed the day because I was sick enough to require open-heart surgery.
2010 ... I nailed the day with a blogiversary post.
2011 ... I went to church and remembered to post about my blogiversary.
2012 ... I now know how to schedule this to post at "1:30 AM" to match the 1-30 date.
Is this progress?  I think so.  Now let's look ahead at what's best, according to you, the readers of this blog.  Which (if any) of these interest you?  By clicking on the links, you can look over the various features I've tried, listed in alphabetical order.
  1. Book Beginnings
  2. Bookaholic
  3. Bookstore Booty
  4. Book Review
  5. BTT -- Booking Through Thursday
  6. Caturday
  7. Friday Five
  8. Kid Konnection
  9. Library Loot
  10. Saturday Snapshot
  11. Sunday Salon
  12. Talk Back
  13. Teaser
  14. Write It Right
Leave a comment with the NUMBER of the ones you like, unless you prefer to write it out. You may put the numbers in order, listing the features you like best before the less liked ones.  What would you like more of?  For you dedicated readers, tell me what you like about a feature — or about the blog in general.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Salon ~ chickens and books

First, the books

I have a stack of library books still to read, but I may set them aside to read one of the books Donna has put in my hands.  Yesterday, she handed me Room by Emma Donoghue (2010), which I could call library loot, since I picked it up for her the other day when I was at the library getting my own books.
To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world.  It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn.  At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.  Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held for seven years.  Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space.  But with Jack's curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.
The other book is The Last Week by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan (2006), which is the March choice for her book club.  Since I'm considering joining that group, I should probably read the  book, especially since I think these writers are excellent, whether writing alone or together.
Borg and Crossan discovered that many Christians are unclear on the details of events during the week leading up to Jesus's crucifixion.  Using the gospel of Mark as their guide, Borg and Crossan present a day-by-day account of Jesus's final week of life.  They begin their story on Palm Sunday with two triumphal entries into Jerusalem.  The first entry, that of Roman governor Pontius Pilate leading Roman soldiers into the city, symbolized military strength.  The second heralded a new kind of moral hero who was praised by the people as he rode in on a humble donkey.  Jesus is this new moral hero, a more dangerous Jesus than the one enshrined in the church's traditional teachings.  The Last Week depicts Jesus giving up his life to protest power without justice and to condemn the rich who lack concern for the poor.
Have you read either of these books?  What do you think?  Should I read one of these or one of the seven I still have checked out from the library?
  1. The Book Thief ~ by Markus Zusak, 2006, YA fiction (Germany) ~ due 1-31
  2. Gilgamesh ~ by Joan London, 2003, fiction (Australia and Armenia) ~ due 1-31
  3. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union ~ by Michael Chabon, 2007, fiction (Alaska) ~ due 1-31
  4. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian ~ by Sherman Alexie, 2001, YA fiction ~ due 2-6
  5. The Discovery of Jeanne Baret ~ by Glynis Ridley, 2010, biography ~ due 2-14
  6. The Knife of Never Letting Go ~ by Patrick Ness, 2008, YA fiction ~ due 2-18
  7. Inside Out and Back Again ~ by Thanhha Lai, 2011, children's (Alabama) ~ due 2-20
Second, the chickens

"Why did the chicken cross the road?"  Google helped me find some answers and even more humorous pictures.  One web site has a Chickens Crossing lesson plan for drawing and writing sentences, along with this video of what children have come up with:

My favorite on this video is the chicken who crossed the road "to rescue his girlfriend from Colonel Sanders."  Elsewhere online, I found out the chicken (or should it be chickens, plural?) crossed the road "to show the possum it could be done."  Captain James T. Kirk says, "To boldly go where no chicken has gone before."  A cartoon showed a hen telling a duck, "To be perfectly honest, I cross the road to get away from my husband."  Here's a link to lots of answers, from people like Darwin and Moses and Martin Luther King, Jr., who is quoted by this cartoon chicken:

By the way, you do know that a chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion, right?  Okay, it's a pun, but I like puns — because I like to play with words.  So here's a compound pun by Richard Whately that I simply must share with you:
"Why can a man never starve in the Great Desert?  Because he can eat the sand which is there.  But who brought the sand which is there?  Noah sent Ham, and his descendants mustered and bred."
Get it?  Sand-which-is?  Musterd?  Bred?  Oh, and maybe I should mention that Noah's sons are named Shem, Ham, and Japheth (see Genesis 6:10).

Third, another date

Jamey at the Pocket Wilderness near Montlake yesterday

Another view with Jamey taken yesterday
Earlier this week, Jamey called me from the University and came by my house on his way home from classes.  We talked a bit, then went to Wendy's for lunch — I love their salads and he had a burger.  I ask you, can anything be grander than taking a handsome grandson to lunch when he chose to come visit on his own?

More TSS posts can be found on Facebook.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Snapshot ~ clarinet concert

Last Saturday, as Kiki told you, my friend Ginny was in town from Tallahassee to take part with these other clarinet players in an all-day rehearsal and workshop at the University.  I attended the excellent Clarinet Concert which followed their long day.  Ginny is wearing red, on the left edge of the photo.  The official photo is posted online here.

Saturday Snapshot is a meme hosted by Alyce from At Home With Books.  To participate, post a photo taken by you (or a friend or family member).  Your photo can be old or new, as long as its subject is appropriate for all eyes to see.  Check out snapshots others are sharing this week.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Beginning ~ on the water

Flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, 2005

Zeitoun ~ by Dave Eggers, 2009, history (Louisiana), 10/10
On moonless nights the men and boys of Jableh, a dusty fishing town on the coast of Syria, would gather their lanterns and set out in their quietest boats.  Five or six small craft, two or three fishermen in each.  A mile out, they would arrange the boats in a circle on the black sea, drop their nets, and, holding their lanterns over the water, they would approximate the moon.

The fish, sardines, would begin gathering soon after, a slow mass of silver rising from below.  The fish were attracted to plankton, and the plankton were attracted to the light.  They would begin to circle, a chain linked loosely, and over the next hour their numbers would grow.  The black gaps between silver links would close until the fishermen could see, below, a solid mass of silver spinning.
This "book beginning" is going to segue right into a book review because I could not stop reading.  I started late, but read all night.  I needed sleep, but I needed to know what came next even more.  So I kept turning the pages, horrified at what could — and did — happen when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.

Abdulrahman Zeitoun comes across as a good man, driven to do good things for others, doing good work, caring about his construction workers and the people who hire him to build, repair, and  board up windows.  And yet, I was appalled by what happened to this man.  I can't really tell you what upsets me, because it would be a spoiler.  But I do heartily recommend you read this book.  I rate it 10 of 10, which means I couldn't put it down.

Salvage the Bones ~ by Jesmyn Ward, 2011, fiction (Mississippi), 9/10

I'm making this a double review, since the first book I finished in 2012 was also about Hurricane Katrina.  This one was set in Mississippi in a pocket of rural poverty, and it is also tough to read and horrifying, but in a different way.  Dogs die in both books:  in Zeitoun because they were left behind when owners were forced to evacuate, in Salvage the Bones because men trained them for vicious dog fights.  I was startled when someone's comment on the book's beginning was "sounds like a cute story."  Cute?  No, it was not even close to cute.  It was an intense story that was well-written, but I didn't enjoy it at all.  That does not mean it was not a good story — just that it isn't one I could possibly "enjoy."  It was more gut-wrenching than enjoyable, a brutal story.  These characters in Salvage the Bones were believable, but I don't think I know anyone quite like them.  I rated it 9 of 10.

  If you want to play along, this meme is hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages. Share the first sentence or two of the book you are reading. (Sometimes it takes several sentences to get the full thought.) Then, share your impressions of that beginning.  Click this link to see what others say about the books they are reading this week.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012 National African American Read-In

Ernest J. Gaines
February is the month for the Twenty-Third National African American Read-In, sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English.  Churches, schools, book clubs, and bookstores all over America will get together to read and discuss books by African Americans.  Vasilly (1330v), Doret (TheHappyNappyBookseller), and Edi (Crazy Quilt) will host an online read-in.  We are invited to vote for the one book of these six we would like the group to read.  Vasilly will announce the results on Monday, January 30th.  Because I've already read two of the others, I voted for Good Fortune by Noni Carter.

Fences ~ by August Wilson, 1983, play
Garbage collector Troy Maxson clashes with his son over an athletic scholarship.  Set in the 1950s, it is the sixth in Wilson's ten-part Pittsburgh Cycle.  Like all of the Pittsburgh plays, Fences explores the evolving African-American experience and examines race relations, among other themes.  The play won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Good Fortune ~ by Noni Carter, 2010, YA fiction
Ayanna Bahati lives in a small African village when she is brutally kidnapped, along with her brother, and forced onto a slave ship to America. As Ayanna, renamed Anna, rises from the cotton fields to the master’s house, she finds the familial love she’s been yearning for in elderly Mary and Mary’s son Daniel—but she is also faced with more threats to her survival. Risking everything to escape the plantation, Anna manages to make it north and to freedom, eventually settling in the free black community of Hudson, Ohio, and educating herself to become a teacher.
A Lesson Before Dying ~ by Ernest J. Gaines, 1993, fiction
Set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s, A Lesson Before Dying is a novel of one man condemned to die for a crime he did not commit and a young man who visits him in his cell.  In the end, the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting — and defying — the expected. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.
Ninth Ward ~  by Jewell Parker Rhodes, 2010, children's fiction (Louisiana)
Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. She doesn't have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like the other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker, wise in the ways of the world and able to predict the future. So when Mama Ya-Ya's visions show a powerful hurricane — Katrina — fast approaching, it's up to Lanesha to call upon the hope and strength Mama Ya-Ya has given her to help them both survive the storm.
Pull ~ by B. A. Binns, 2010, YA fiction (Illinois)
High school senior David Albacore is dealing with major upheaval after his father murders his mom.  In the terrible aftermath, he changes his name and moves to a tough new inner-city Chicago high school with his younger sister Barney, when they and their now silent younger sister, Linda, move in with their aunt.  David blames himself for not saving their mom that night; after being injured in a basketball game in which he was the star, David was given strong painkillers, which caused him to sleep through the shooting.  Barney, who found their mom's body, is fragile after a hospital stay and is barely able to cope.  With their mother gone and their father in jail, David tries to take care of his sisters as they grieve and adjust to a different kind of life.  When he's forced to join the basketball team or be expelled after getting in too many fights, it cuts into his after-school construction job that he takes to help his aunt support his family.
Topdog/Underdog ~ by Suzan-Lori Parks, 2001, play
A darkly comic fable of brotherly love and family identity is Suzan-Lori Parks latest riff on the way we are defined by history.  The play tells the story of Lincoln and Booth, two brothers whose names were given to them as a joke, foretelling a lifetime of sibling rivalry and resentment.  Haunted by the past, the brothers are forced to confront the shattering reality of their future.  Winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Which of these sounds most interesting to you?


Read more about symmetry at Miss Rumphius Effect, where Tricia Stohr-Hunt posted a link to Seeing Symmetry.  Loreen Leedy has a book by that title coming out this spring.

I found this photo on Facebook, under Classical Music Humor.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Library Loot ~ January 25-31

Inside Out and Back Again ~ by Thanhha Lai, 2011, children's (Alabama)
"No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama."  For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon:  the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by, and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.  But now the Vietnam War has reached her home.  Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope.  In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama:  the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape, and the strength of her very own family.  This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next.  Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.
The Knife of Never Letting Go ~ by Patrick Ness, 2008, YA fiction
Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men.  Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks.  Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too.  With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature:  a girl.  Who is she?  Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World?  Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.
Library Loot is a weekly meme co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.  Marg has the Mister Linky this week, if you'd like to share the loot you brought home.  You may submit your link any time during the week.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chinese New Year, continued

After Jane and Donna and I ate Chinese food for the new year, Jane and I went to last night's meeting of the Joseph Campbell Roundtable (Donna had another meeting).  We all three wore Chinese red.

For the arrival of the year of the Water Dragon in the Chinese zodiac, Chris Campbell gave a presentation on the I Ching, or Book of Changes and The Secret of the Golden Flower: A Chinese Book of Life, two Chinese classics.  He recommends the ones by Richard Wilhelm.

Chris was explaining the I Ching on the flipchart.  I Ching means "book of changes."  On the wall to the right is his "cursive" drawing of the Year of the Dragon, where we can almost see the dragon flying through the air.  Double click on the photo to enlarge it, so you can see the dragon's head where the line starts — in other words, starting at the darkest end of that ribbon of black ink.

Here's how he drew the golden flower.  See the eight petals?  And then he added the trigrams, which have shifted from the basic chart above.  (I can't explain it, since I'm just learning about all this.)

Chris also previewed a recently released Joseph Campbell film, Finding Joe, which he received permission to show.  So we were among the first in town to see (part of) this film.  Click on the blue link to see an even shorter bit than I saw last night.

Happy Year of the Dragon!  Yesterday, I meant to show you this wonderful children's book that I reviewed a couple of years ago.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin is a 2009 children's book, which I rated 9 of 10.  Click on the blue link to read my review.  Do you see the dragon on the cover?  The dragon is flying through the air.  Yes!

Added a bit later:  Ha!  I've learned that Chattanooga, my town, has a Dragon Museum that's all about dragons.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year ~ Dragon

The Chinese Year of the Dragon began at midnight.  It's my year, folks!  I was born in the Year of the Dragon.  It's one of twelve signs, which means it comes around every twelve years.  Having been born in 1940, this is my sixth new dragon year since I was born.  In April, I'll be 72.  Here one of my favorite dragon photos:

The first day of the Chinese New Year – which began at midnight on January 23, 2012 – is the most important of Chinese holidays.  This evening, two friends and I are going to eat Chinese.  I'll be wearing red, the lucky color.  Here's one more dragon photo.  I love these lights!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Salon ~ continuing the conversation

More TSS posts can be found on Facebook.

First, here's a story that's been bouncing around the web for several years that came to me again this week.

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month.  The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey.  She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her.  I told her that I thought we could, so she dictated these words:
Dear God,
Will you please take care of my dog?  She died yesterday and is with you in heaven.  I miss her very much.  I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.  I hope you will play with her.  She likes to swim and play with balls.  I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog.  I really miss her.
Love, Meredith
We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven.  We put our return address on it.  Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven.  That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office.  A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet.  I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, "To Meredith" in an unfamiliar hand.  Meredith opened it.  Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called "When a Pet Dies."  Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope.  On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey and Meredith and this note:
Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven.   Having the picture was a big help, and I recognized her right away.  Abbey isn't sick anymore.  Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.  Abbey loved being your dog.  Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.  Thank you for the beautiful letter, and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me.  What a wonderful mother you have.  I picked her especially for you.  I send my blessings every day, and remember that I love you very much.  By the way, I'm easy to find.  I am wherever there is love.
Love, God

This story tugs at our heart strings, doesn't it?  We know a human person at the Post Office chose to buy that book and write back to Meredith and her mother, and it makes us feel good that someone did that.  But not a one of us believes a person named "God" sat down and wrote a letter to that little girl.  We don't believe that because we don't think "Heaven" is a place where the Post Office delivers mail to God.

Last week, the Sunday school class I attended did talk about John Shelby Spong's book Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World.  And one woman in the class was upset because some of the others (maybe most of the others) disagreed with her beliefs about heaven.  I got the impression heaven was such a real place to her that she could almost imagine that letter to Meredith was written by God.  Church people tend to say things like "up above" when speaking of God.  Where does that come from?


Let me show you the world as envisioned by the writer(s) of the book of Genesis in the Bible.

I wrote a study of Genesis and want to share a shortened version of the first session, going through the days of creation.  This photo is one of my "finished" flipchart pages at the end of that session.  You'll have to imagine it as I describe it, since I don't have time to photograph it in stages — or days.  Hear it as a story, with my asides.

DAY 1 — In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless nothing in the midst of chaos, and darkness was everywhere.
ASIDE — A day or so before class, I paint a flipchart page blue, as in the background above, to represent the dark, watery chaos.
A wind from God, the Spirit of God, swept over the face of the waters that early Hebrews believed were present at creation.  God's first command was "let there be light" and there was light.  And even before naming the light "Day" and the darkness "Night," God could see that the light was GOOD.  That was the very first day, counting from the first evening to the next.

DAY 2 — Next, God decreed a dome to separate waters from waters, with some water above the dome and some below.
ASIDE — The dome is that white paper taped onto the blue (above).  Imagine a glass bowl, inverted, and carefully placed in your tub.  There would be air inside it, and the bowl would keep out the water above and the water below.
God said it and it was so, and God named this dome "Sky."  That was the second day, counting from one evening until dusk the next day.

DAY 3 — Then God decreed that the waters under the Sky should be gathered together in one place so dry land could appear.  God said it and it was so, and God named the dry land "Earth" and the gathered waters "Seas."  And God saw that together the Earth and the Seas were GOOD.
ASIDE — You could imagine those mountains on the sides as holding up that dome.  And the land extends down into the lower water like pillars to help hold up the sky.  Maybe there's an island of dry land in the middle, as I've shown.
On the same day, God told Earth to produce vegetation, with seed-bearing plants and fruit trees of every kind.  And it happened just that way.  And once again God pronounced these things GOOD.  That's how it was on the third day, counting from one evening to the next.
ASIDE — Notice I drew some green vegetation and trees on the brown hills.
DAY 4 — God speaks again, and this time we have lights in the Sky to separate Day and Night and to shed light upon the Earth.  God said it and the Sun and the Moon appeared, with stars thrown in to fill the night Sky.  Light was separated from darkness, and God saw it was GOOD.  And lighting up the Sky was the fourth day's work, counting evening and morning.
ASIDE — I put Day on one side and Night on the other side of my picture.  Help me out here by using your imagination.
DAY 5 — Then God was ready to command the waters to bring forth schools of fish and other creatures to live in the waters and birds to fly across the Sky above the Earth.  Along with abundant numbers of every living and moving thing, God also created winged insects.  And once again God saw that these creatures were GOOD.  That's when God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the Earth and the Seas."  That's what God did on the fifth day, evening and morning.
ASIDE — Now it gets fun.  If you double-click on my photo, you can see my birds flying in the Sky and swarms of fish in the waters.  I threw in a purple sea monster for fun, and made the monster monstrous, with three heads.  Why not?
DAY 6 — Next, God told Earth to produce land creatures, and this included both wild animals and what we'd call domesticated livestock, as well as the creeping things that move along the ground.  And once again God saw that these created things were GOOD.  And on the day the animals were created, God decided to make humans in the image and likeness of God.  These humans would have responsibility for the fish and the birds, the wild and tame animals, and the creeping things.  So God did it, creating humans in male and female forms.  After blessing them, God told the humans to "be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth."  And those first humans were given responsibility for the care of all living things.  Their food would be from the plants and trees, just as that was to be food for the birds and beasts.  And it was so.  God saw every created thing, and really, it was VERY GOOD.  And that was the sixth day of creation.
ASIDE — I drew stick figures, asking the students name four-legged animals.  Is that a dog, a giraffe, or a horse on the hill to the right?  You decide.  Then I add a couple to two-legged animals and let them decide which is male and which female.  Hmm, is there a snake up in that apple tree?
DAY 7 —And there you have it.  God's good creation.  On the seventh day, God rested.

Middle Earth

So where is heaven?  It's above the dome, where God can open windows to let the rain and snow fall down to earth.  You can see earth in the middle of my picture, and — though I failed to draw it in — Sheol is below the earth.  Sheol is the place where everyone goes when they die, and it wasn't "hell" as we think of it these days.  It was just "under the earth" where everyone is buried when they die.  Here's a drawing like mine, but one that shows Sheol.

Three layers — heaven on top, earth in the middle, and burial beneath the earth.  (But not as far down as the waters below the earth, which gushed up as fountains when "the whole world" flooded in the time of Noah.)  So is heaven a place?  In what sense?

I asked in a children's sermon, "Where is God?"  Someone said, "Up in heaven."  I asked, "Which direction is that?"  All the children pointed to the ceiling.  I asked, "Which direction is up, for people who live in Australia?"  Some pointed down.  I named places all around the world, and our fingers were pointing up, down, left, right.  We finally agreed that God, who is love, is "in our hearts."

So is heaven in my heart?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Kiki Caturday ~ a snapshot

Bonnie has been busy this week packing books into boxes, as you can barely see in this photo.  She makes me tired, just watching her, so mostly I just close my eyes.  That means I have to catnap so I don't see her, see?  She took the picture, so we'll call this her Saturday Snapshot.  Even if I did post it for her because she's been busy making plans to get together with her friend who is in town this weekend from Florida.

Kiki Cat, signing off

This meme is hosted by Alyce @ At Home With Books.
Links to today's photos are here.

Friday, January 20, 2012

When, exactly, did you become an adult?

Beth Kephart asked in her post today, "When, exactly, did you become an adult?"  Funny she should ask, I thought, as I dashed out the door before even reading beyond her title, which appears on the sidebar here, under "Blogs I read."  I had places to go and people to see, but now I'm home and have looked up what I wrote in 2006 about becoming an adult.  At the time, I was sixty-six years old, having been born in 1940.  (That's important to know when I mention 1960, okay?)  After reading this, you won't be surprised to hear that I still occasionally wonder what I want to be when I grow up.

Bits of Bonnie

When I started thinking about "becoming an adult," it seemed to me the first thing to consider was what makes a person an adult. Once there were initiations to pass, as when a boy joined the men on a hunt and killed his first "food." Once, a girl was considered an adult when she began to menstruate and could have children. I had my first period when I was twelve; did that make me an adult? I don't think so!

I married at eighteen; did that make me an adult? Apparently not. When we bought a house in early 1960, I was nineteen and my husband was twenty-five. He could sign the papers, but I could not ... because I was a minor. At that time the legal age was twenty-one, but that has fluctuated in my lifetime. Anyway, I had to go before a judge to get my "minority" removed. Then I could sign legal papers and be co-owner of our first house.

Did owning a house make me an adult? Apparently not. I couldn't vote in the 1960 election between Nixon and Kennedy ... or at least I assumed I couldn't vote ... because I was only twenty. A few years ago it occurred to me that maybe I could have voted after all, since officially my minority had been removed earlier that same year and I was "legally" an adult. But I didn't think of that until about 45 years too late.

When I was twenty, my twins were born; did that make me an adult? When people asked me how I managed, I would tell them, "I didn't know what to do with ONE, and I got TWO."

My father died in a traffic accident when I was twenty-four, and my widowed mother was in shock; so my 21-year-old brother and I had to arrange the funeral. Did that make me an adult?

Somehow, things keep happening and we keep going, doing whatever is necessary to cope. Maybe I became an adult at the point I was able to put the pieces together sufficiently to be able to say with confidence that I now knew my own mind and could give a satisfactory answer to the meaning of my life. If so (I wrote in late 2006), I became an adult only four or five years ago in my early sixties! And THAT, dear heart, is why my email is "emerging.paradigm" ... because I am emerging into my new way of being.

Am I an adult now? Maybe it depends on the day. Some days I feel like I'm in my second childhood.

Your turn

How would you answer the question?  When, exactly, did you become an adult?

Beginning ~ with a family portrait

Together Alone ~ by Barbara Delinsky, 1995, fiction (Massachusetts)
He wasn't going to like it.  He hated the ritual of the formal family picture, but the time was right.  In four short days, his only child was leaving the nest, breaking out of her chrysalis into an exciting new world.  If ever there was an occasion to mark, this was it.
I've been reading heavy, deep stuff and am ready for something light, so I bought this novel by Barbara Delinsky, knowing it's about women setting off in a new direction.  I've read her books before and know there will probably be a happy ending.  Why is their child leaving?  College, according to the synopsis and the next few lines of the book.  No surprise there, but I'm so ready to read this.  From the back cover:
With their daughters off to college, the time has come for forever best friends Emily, Kay, and Celeste to redefine themselves as women.  Once half of a perfect marriage — still suffering from a terrible loss — Emily hardly knows her workaholic husband, Doug, anymore, and is drawn instead to what is offered by a new neighbor.  A dedicated teacher who loves her job, Kay is confused and troubled by husband John's unfamiliar demands.   And Celeste, long-divorced and ecstatic with freedom, sees her electric new life dimmed when her child is endangered.
If you want to share the first lines of a book you are reading, click on the link and visit Katy at A Few More Pages.  (Today's list.)

Browse there to find interesting books for your own reading list.  And don’t forget that Katy and all the contributors to this meme (including me) love comments.