Hugs: September 2006

At a healing service one night I look up at a big stained glass window of Jesus and I want more than anything to hug him; to fling my arms around him and bury my nose in his neck.

The next day Bill shows up at Toastmasters and gives me a tremendous hug. Later, I'm walking at the beach and come across Justin, who flings wide his arms and gives me a giant hug. The following day I go into The Word Shop at the changing of the guard. Phil stands up at the desk and moves out to hug me. Joanne comes in with a whole hubbub of people and sweeps me into a warm embrace.

That night I'm doing a training for Toastmaster officers. Dressed 'professionally,' I'm clicking along Front Street in my heels when I notice two scruffy looking guys with backpacks coming toward me. One of them opens out his arms and we exchange an alcohol perfumed hug in passing. I continue on to the training with a big grin, muttering under my breath, "OK, Lord. I get it. Fine. Thank you."

The Altogether Gift is a book by Michael Downey on the trinity; on the love between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that we are invited into. A golden icon of Jesus' baptism graces the book's cover. I read it for a class on "Christian Spirituality." If you find the concept of the trinity mystifying, this book might help. I posted some reading notes on You can add your comments/objections/rants there. Would be fun to hear from someone else who has read it. $6

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who hates you." --an 8 yr. old on love.

Seasons of Strength is a book that parses out a number of Christian attributes and then reveals a balanced path through the polarities. Written by Evelyn and James Whitehead, the book mixes faith with psychology, sociology, philosophy and history, arriving at theological insights that are both sane and helpful. The first third is on vocations--both personal and corporate, discussing how vocations develop and mature. The next part looks at Christian virtues including power, anger, imagination and intimacy. The final third looks more closely at corporate difficulties around power, intimacy, authority, men and women working together, and the issue of God's absence. This book would make a super group study for people who like theological reflection and have been walking with the Lord (and bumping around the church) for a while. Each chapter ends with personal, reflective questions. Let's see...14 chapters. A four month study. Anyone interested?

"Learning is acquired by reading books; but the much more necessary learning, the knowledge of the world, is only to be acquired by reading man, and studying all the various editions of them." --Philip Dormer Stanhope (1694-1773)

I pulled End of Summer by Rosemunde Pilcher out of a bag of books that Ray gave me at church. (This is dangerous because the books came home before going to the store. Of course I couldn't resist looking in the bags. And while I was looking, a half dozen books leapt from the bag to the stack by my chair.) I don't remember what End of Summer was about. What I do remember is that it was exactly that sort of summertime novel that I had somehow missed all summer. Keep in mind we have dollar mysteries, romances, and paperback fiction leaping all around the store.

My mom arrived from Colorado with a lovely stack of books. "This one's pretty good," she said pulling out Walk Two Moons. A Newberry Award winner, it's an engaging story about a two young girls whose mothers have disappeared. The grandparent's relationship and the peek into several very different families weave a tapestry on a subtle American Indian background. Sharon Creech writes in a style that's both humorous and poignant. Last I saw the book, Phil was sitting in an arm chair reading it. "Hey," I said. "I left that for Kateri."
      "Just looking," he said.
      The nice thing about reading books for 6th to 9th graders is that by the time you're done looking, you've finished the book. $6 Hardback. I have another one by Creech, Replay, on my bedroom stack. Stay tuned.

I'm a third into Our Lady of the Forest by David Guterson of Snow Falling on Cedars fame. Ray said it was good. It's about a homeless girl seeing the Virgin Mary near a campground. It's fairly grim. I've read five oother books while stalled at page 100. This is not a good sign. Somebody better write and tell me it's worth finishing. Somebody OTHER than Ted or Patrick who both have a penchant for grim novels. Meanwhile I'll resist the urge to go into a rant about what I think of newsy Virgin Mary sightings.

"God has put something noble and good into every heart which His hand created." --Mark Twain

God Will Make a Way is an easily accessible book by psychologists Cloud and Townsend. They wrote the life changing book, Boundaries. Whenever a used copy of Boundaries comes in, we sell it within a week or two. The subtitle of the God Will Make a Way is "What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do." WTDWYDKWTD. The first half sets out principles that help you find or recognize the way God is making. The second half offers advice for twelve specific situations--like dating, sex, conflict, lost love, anger, depression... $5 pb.

"Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door." --Emily Dickinson

September 24 was the beginning of Ramadan, thirty days when Muslims eat breakfast early and then do not eat or drink again until nightfall. Karol, who writes a weekly guide for intercessory prayer, brought in a stack of booklets that call the Church to 30 days of Prayer for the Muslim World. A couple of introductory pages are followed by a page for each day providing information about some Muslim area and testimonies from people in that region. We have three booklets left. Free to pray'ers. Better late than never.

"You can break love, but it won't die." --an 8 year old on love.

LIFE RULES 1:30 Friday, October 6
DRAWING NEAR: JOHN 4 12:30 Tuesday, October 10

"A calendar's days are numbered." --email list via Shannon

Alliee +

P.S. Steven has opened The Word Shop one Sunday a month for many years. Now Nick is holding the door open on another Sunday. If we had two more once-a-month-ers, we could be officially opened every Sunday afternoon. Wouldn't that be cool! Let me know if you're interested.