Wednesdays with Words – April 9, 2014

I’m slowly continuing to savor Good Prose by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd.  Since it is a library book and I can’t write in it, there are numerous post-it notes sticking out of the pages, marking the multiple passages I want to copy and remember.  This is a book that I may eventually have to buy for myself.

I started the chapter of Narratives this week.  Here are a few good thoughts:

“And then, my notes assembled and indexed more or less, I retired to my office to try to begin to make sense of what I had observed.  I imagine that this moment is much the same for most non-fiction writers.  We sit at desks in our offices, apart from the world, gazing at those notebooks stacked on our tables, hoping there are stories in them but once again unsure.”

“What, after all, is a story? It is not a subject.  A good story many include a great deal of information on any number of topics or issues.  It may blossom with implications.  It may be a way of seeing the world in a grain of sand.  But that grain of sand can’t be just any grain of sand.  A story lives in its particulars, in the individuality of person, place, and time.”

“The most important conflict often happens within a character, or within the narrator.  The story begins with an inscrutable character and ends with a person the author and reader understand better than before, a series of events that yields, however quietly, a dramatic truth.  One might call this kind of story a narrative of revelation.”

“Revelation, someone’s learning something, is what transforms event into story.  Without revelation, a story of high excitement leaves us asking, ‘Is that all?’ Discovering the deeper drama of revelation is a challenge for a nonfiction writer, especially the writer who has happened onto a cliff-hanger story.  And it is an opportunity, also a potential solace, for the writer who has in hand a story that lacks obvious drama but that may contain other important qualities.

For a story to have a chance to live, it is essential only that there be something important at stake, a problem that confronts the characters or confronts the reader in trying to understand them.  The unfolding of the problem and its resolution are the real payoff.  A car chase is not required.”



Wednesdays with Words – April 2, 2014

I’ve just started a book on writing entitled Good Prose by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd.  I could tell in the first few pages that the writers were kindred spirits.  Here are just a few of the quotes from the first chapter.  Unfortunately it is a library book so I can’t underline all of the wonderful thoughts in it.  I’ll just have to share some with you all instead.

“Beginnings are an exercise in limits.  You can’t make the reader love you in the first sentence or paragraph, but you can lose the reader right away. You don’t expect the doctor to cure you at once, but the doctor can surely alienate you at once, with brusqueness or bravado or indifference or confusion.  There is a lot to be said for the quiet beginning.”

“Expansiveness is not denied to anyone, but it is always prudent to remember that one is not Tolstoy or Dickens and to remember that modesty can resonate, too.”

“Clarity isn’t an exciting virtue, but it is a virtue always, and especially at the beginning of a piece of prose.”

‘With good writing the reader enjoys a doubleness of experience, succumbing to the story or the ideas while also enjoying the writer’s artfulness. Indeed, one way to know that writing deserves to be called art is the coexistence of these two pleasures in the reader’s mind.”

“Journalists are instructed…to make sure they tell the most important facts of the story first. This translates poorly to longer forms of writing.  The heart of the story is usually a place to arrive at, not a place to begin.  Of course the reader needs a reason to continue, but the best reason is simply confidence that the writer is going someplace interesting.”

The heart of the story is usually a place to arrive at, not a place to begin.  I love this thought!

This is going to be a good book.  I can feel it in my bones.

Wednesdays with Words – March 26, 2014

A day late so perhaps I should rename it Thursdays with Words this week.

I’ve started reading Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of Education by Stratford Caldecott with Cindy over at Ordo Amoris.  I could stop right after the introduction and have the foundations for my school year next year.  Here are just a few of the many passages I highlighted:

Ideas have consequences.1 They shape our society, our economy, our very lives. The gravest threat our civilization faces is in fact not ecological but philosophical. It is the widespread belief that there is no objective truth and no ‘true’ way of considering the world and its history, only a plurality of subjective points of view, each point of view being of equal value and deserving equal respect.


Students graduate with some knowledge of, say, the Tudors or the Second World War, Romantic poetry or astrophysics, without any awareness of other historical periods or the classical origins of our civilization. It is as though we were attempting to construct the top floor of a building without bothering with the lower floors or foundations.


The liberal arts are a golden thread that comes from the Greeks, from Pythagoras and his successors both Islamic and Christian, especially St Augustine; a thread that weaves its way through the history of our civilization. These arts were intended for the cultivation of freedom and the raising of our humanity to its highest possible level.


Today, in democratic societies, all men and women participate together in ruling our society, even if only by electing representatives to do so, and the education that used to be reserved to aristocrats is now a necessary qualification for everyone. If we are all to rule, we all need to become wise, and the key to wisdom is to understand the unity or interrelationship of all human knowledge, which is where the liberal arts come in.


The central idea of the present book is very simple. It is that education is not primarily about the acquisition of information. It is not even about the acquisition of ‘skills’ in the conventional sense, to equip us for particular roles in society. It is about how we become more human (and therefore more free, in the truest sense of that word).


Mr. Caldecott ends with a series of triads, including the Trivium and I love the way he renames each of them.  Grammar becomes Remembering; Dialectic becomes Thinking; and Rhetoric becomes Speaking.

Also, I love what Cindy says in her post on the introduction:  “Great men have great imaginations. Remember that as you plan your next school year.”

Read about everyone else’s books at Ordo-Amoris.


Wednesdays with Words – March 12, 2014

Every day I receive a devotional in my emailbox called Daily Strength for Daily Needs.  I don’t always read it but yesterday I did and there was a quote from Hannah Whitall Smith’s The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, which I read many years ago while still in college.  This particular quote was so helpful that I found the chapter from Mrs. Smith’s book and read the whole chapter.

[The Higher Christian Life or the “hidden life”] is simply letting the Lord carry our burdens and manage our affairs for us, instead of trying to do it ourselves.

How simple it seems to let the Lord carry our burdens but how difficult it is to do it day by day, minute by minute.

The greatest burden we have to carry in life is self. The most difficult thing we have to manage is self. Our own daily living, our frames and feelings, our especial weaknesses and temptations, and our peculiar temperaments, our inward affairs of every kind, these are the things that perplex and worry us more than anything else, and that bring us oftenest into bondage and darkness. In laying off your burdens, therefore, the first one you must get rid of is yourself. You must hand yourself and all your inward experiences, your temptations, your temperament, your frames and feelings, all over into the care and keeping of your God, and leave them there. He made you, and therefore He understands you and knows how to manage you, and you must trust Him to do it. Say to Him, “Here, Lord, I abandon myself to Thee. I have tried in every way I could think of to manage myself, and to make myself what I know I ought to be, but have always failed. Now I give it up to Thee. Do thou take entire possession of me. Work in me all the good pleasure of Thy will. Mould and fashion me into such a vessel as seemeth good to Thee. I leave myself in Thy hands, and I believe Thou wilt, according to Thy promise, make me into a vessel unto Thine honor,‘sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.’* ” And here you must rest, trusting yourself thus to Him continually and absolutely.

This was a long quote but there was no way to shorten it without losing some of it’s impact.  It is so much easier to lay down our circumstances, our family, our trials, and the other external things but oh how hard it is to lay down ourselves and our sins, failings, temptations, fears, resentments, sorrows, and pains.  Because they are hidden within us, they are easy to hide from others and so on the outside we seem to be living that hidden life in Christ whereas in reality we cling to ourselves and our petty anger and our pet sins.  Giving up everything to Christ is difficult but the joy and release in those moments when we do let go of everything for Him are inexpressible!

Christians always commit the keeping of their souls for eternity to the Lord, because they know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they cannot keep these themselves. But the things of this present life they take into their own keeping, and try to carry on their own shoulders, with the perhaps unconfessed feeling that it is a great deal to ask of the Lord to carry them, and that they cannot think of asking Him to carry their burdens too.

Most people,” she continued, “take their burdens to Him, but they bring them away with them again, and are just as worried and unhappy as ever. But I take mine, and I leave them with Him, and come away and forget them. And if the worry comes back, I take it to Him again; I do this over and over, until at last I just forget that I have any worries, and am at perfect rest.

Here is a secret to giving these things up to Him–do it again and again and again.  Sometimes we will have to give them up each and every moment of the day as we realize that we have snatched them back again.

The circumstances of her life she could not alter, but she took them to the Lord, and handed them over into His management; and then she believed that He took it, and she left all the responsibility and the worry and anxiety with Him. As often as the anxieties returned she took them back; and the result was that, although the circumstances remained unchanged, her soul was kept in perfect peace in the midst of them. And the secret she found so effectual in her outward affairs, she found to be still more effectual in her inward ones, which were in truth even more utterly unmanageable. She abandoned her whole self to the Lord, with all that she was and all that she had; and, believing that He took that which she had committed to Him, she ceased to fret and worry, and her life became all sunshine in the gladness of belonging to Him.

This was the original excerpt I read yesterday.  Oh, how I want my life to become “all sunshine in the gladness of belonging to Him.”

The Scripture upon which this devotional was based was this:

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.–PS. lv. 22.

To that I will add the familiar but comforting verse from 1 Peter:

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

May we humbly cast our cares on the Lord today and every day so that we may live a life of sunshine and gladness because of His great love and care for us.

Wednesdays with Words – March 5, 2014

Last week, Amazon was offering several of C.S. Lewis’s non-fiction literary/criticism kindle books for sale.  As I still had some money on an Amazon gift card and there were several of these that neither my library or I have, I decided to purchase them while I could afford to do so.  One of the books was An Experiment in Criticism.  This was one that I had read many years ago but I had forgotten everything in it so I opted to start with it.  Wow, what riches.  Lewis is so readable!

The sure mark of an unliterary man is that he considers ‘I’ve read it already’ to be a conclusive argument against reading a work.

Those who read great works, on the other hand, will read the same work ten, twenty or thirty times during the course of their life.

the majority, though they are sometimes frequent readers, do not set much store by reading. They turn to it as a last resource. They abandon it with alacrity as soon as any alternative pastime turns up.

literary people are always looking for leisure and silence in which to read and do so with their whole attention. When they are denied such attentive and undisturbed reading even for a few days they feel impoverished.

I was happy to determine from the first chapter that I fall into the Lewis’s category of a literary [woman].  I read and I re-read; reading is usually my first resort, not my last thought; and I purposely carve out time for reading or else I feel not just impoverished, but starved.

Finally, and as a natural result of their different behaviour in reading, what they have read is constantly and prominently present to the mind of the few, but not to that of the many. The former mouth over their favourite lines and stanzas in solitude. Scenes and characters from books provide them with a sort of iconography by which they interpret or sum up their own experience. They talk to one another about books, often and at length.

Do you do this?  Think about the characters and favorite passages and copy down beautiful prose to remember and re-read and talk about books whenever you can find a fellow literary person?  Working in the library has been such a blessing as I am surrounded by people who love reading and books as much as I do and who are always ready and willing to discuss books in general as well as specific titles they have been reading.  Bliss!

Now the true reader reads every work seriously in the sense that he reads it whole-heartedly, makes himself as receptive as he can. But for that very reason he cannot possibly read every work solemnly or gravely. For he will read ‘in the same spirit that the author writ’. What is meant lightly he will take lightly; what is meant gravely, gravely. He will ‘laugh and shake in Rabelais’ easy chair’ while he reads Chaucer’s faibliaux and respond with exquisite frivolity to The Rape of the Lock. He will enjoy a kickshaw as a kickshaw and a tragedy as a tragedy. He will never commit the error of trying to munch whipped cream as if it were venison.

This is true!  I read very differently depending on the genre.  I read some books slowly, savoring every word, copying bits down in a commonplace book, telling everyone I can about how wonderful it is.  Other books, I gobble like cotton candy–it tastes good for the moment but melts away almost immediately.  Then there are the meaty, thoughtful books that take time and effort and attention but are so worthwhile.

I think the two kinds of readers are already foreshadowed in the nursery.

Hmmm.  An interesting thought.  I know that I was always this way but I wonder if it is innate or environmental or a little bit of both.

One last quote:

There are those who read only when there is nothing better to do, gobble up each story to ‘find out what happened’, and seldom go back to it; others who reread and are profoundly moved.

There are books to be gobbled and not revisited but the best books, the worthwhile books, are ones to be read and re-read, pondered and meditated upon, copied and discussed.

What worthwhile book are you reading right now?

Wednesdays with Words – February 26, 2014

I’m continuing to read through The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel.  We all need to read more of the Puritan writings.  They are rich and deep and very convicting.

“Must we not conclude that, ” he withdraweth not his eye from the righteous?” Job xxxvi. 7, and that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him,” 2 Chron. xvi. 9. His providences proclaim him to be a God hearing prayers.”  – p. 42

I must confess that I am drawing great comfort in knowing that the Lord hears my prayers.

But such hath been the special care of Providence towards us, that our turn to be brought upon the stage of this world was graciously reserved for better days : so that if we had had our own option we could not have chosen for ourselves as Providence hath. p. 50

Here you have, or may have, the help and assistance of Christians to direct your way, resolve your doubts, support your burdens, and help you through those difficulties that attend the new birth. p. 52

Here, he is talking about the times and places in which we are born and how that is a blessing.  I couldn’t help but think that we are blessed to live in a land that still allows us, for the most part, freedom to worship, to assemble, and to talk about the Lord publicly. Unlike Mr. Flavel’s day, our pastors are still allowed to preach the gospel without being hounded by the government rules on what they can believe.  We can still meet with our brothers and sisters in the Lord and be helped by them without fear of being turned in as in other countries around the world.  I am deeply thankful for being born in such a time and place.

for whether the families in which we grew up were great or small in Israel ; whether our parents were of higher or lower class and rank among men, yet if they were such as feared God, and wrought righteousness, if they took any care to educate you righteously, and trained you up ” in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” you are bound to reckon it among your chief mercies, that you descended from such parents, for from this spring a double stream of mercy rises to you. p. 53

Yes, it is indeed a mercy to be born to Christian parents.  As exciting as it always was to hear dramatic conversion stories, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that growing up in a Christian home is a great blessing.  When I was young, I thought my conversion story was boring.  I hardly even can tell the time when I first knew the Lord.  However, I now realize that it was the goodness of God that has allowed me to have always known who Jesus was and how He died for me.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know that and my life has only been better as a result.

What a mercy was it to us to have parents, who prayed for us before they had us, as well as in our infancy, when we could not pray for ourselves 1 Thus did Abraham, Gen. xv. 2, and Hannah, 1 Sam. i. 10, 11, and some here, likely, are the fruits and returns of their parents’ prayers. This was that holy course they continued all their days for you, carrying all your concerns, especially your eternal ones, before the Lord with their own, and pouring out their souls to God so affectionately for you, when their eye-strings and heartstrings were breaking. O ! put a value upon such mercies, for they are precious I It is a greater mercy to descend from praying parents, than from nobles.  p. 54

There is none in the world so likely, as you, to be instruments of their eternal good. You have peculiar advantages that no others have, as the interest you have in their affections : your opportunities to instil the knowledge of Christ into them, being daily with them, Deut. vi. 7, and your knowledge of their tempers. If therefore you neglect, who shall help them ?  p. 58

And, for you, in whose hearts grace hath been planted by the blessing of education, I beseech you to admire God’s goodness to you in this providence. Oh ! what a happy lot has God cast for you ! How few children are partakers of your mercies ! p. 58

It is a great responsibility and privilege to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  On the flip side, it is a great blessing to have Christian parents who pray for you, encourage and admonish you, and lead you to the Lord from a young age.  Never minimize the immense mercy in having Christian parents.

See that you honour such parents; the tie is double upon you so to do. Be you the joy of their hearts, and comfort of their lives, if living; if not, yet still remember the mercy while you live, and tread in their pious paths, that you and they may both rejoice together in the great day, and bless God for each other to all eternity.  p. 59

I thought of my mother when I read these words.  She is already with the Lord and I look forward to the day when I will rejoice together in heaven with her.  In the meantime I do remember the blessing she was to me and “tread in [her] pious path” in honor to her faithfulness while she was still with us.

This book is a challenge and a blessing.  I look forward to reading (and sharing) more over the weeks to come.

Wednesdays with Words – February 19, 2014

I finally finished The Magic Apple Tree by Susan Hill last week.  I have been reading it as slowly as possible to draw out the pleasure but I read the last few chapters in a rush because it was about my favorite season, autumn.  Here are some final quotes from this lovely book:

“In summer in this wood every tree looks much like every other, though of course if you are close up, you can distinguish them by the shape of the leaves, and in the open, where they stand in ones and twos, by the shape of the whole body of the tree. Now though, in decay, the trees have become distinct, separate again, they take back their individual character, for no two species are the same in shading and depth of colour. I stand still and see sulphur-yellow and bright, bright gold, copper and tawny owl’s feather brown, sienna and umber and every kind of nut, and the whole pattern breaks like a child’s kaleidoscope as a sudden wind blows over the wood, becomes mottled, darker, and then lighter, as the leaves show their backs.”

“When we reach the top of the slope and the stile again, we look back, and see that the ribs of the wood are showing through at the sides, like those of a starving man, and the grey bones poke upwards to the sky, topped by a last few bunches of dried leaves, like old, curly wigs, and even as we look, the wind rises and blows and tosses the trees about again and more leaves fall.”

“In the kitchen, autumn is my favourite season, too, because it is preserving time – jams and jellies, chutneys and pickles, fruit butters and cheeses, and the whole, glorious session rounded off with the making of the mincemeat, to be stored until Christmas.”

“This is one reason why preserve-making takes up whole days, with bouts of hard work, and minutes of stirring gently, scattered over long periods of waiting, during which I read a book that doesn’t mind being broken into every so often, or write a few letters, or go out to pick some ripe elderberries from the tree on the other side of our garden, for tomorrow. And friends drop in for cups of coffee and wasps are slaughtered and the telephone is answered, and I go outside, just to stand in the sunshine and look about. It is all very pleasant.” [This description caused me to look forward to next year’s jam and preserve making!]

“There are rows of glowing jars on the dresser shelves, like so many jewels, deep red, orange, burgundy, pale pink, pale green, purple-black. I label them, before carrying them upstairs to the store cupboard, which is in our bedroom, and there, when I have lined them up, I gaze in deep satisfaction. I feel as if we shall indeed be ‘preserved’ against the ravages of this coming winter, and go off to have a long, hot, soothing bath.” [There are few things more satisfying than row upon row of jars, filled with summer fruits and vegetables.]

“Composting is a good activity, but I have certainly not found it so straightforward or foolproof as all the books and magazine articles make out.”  [How true!]

“Summer Time ends next week. But I don’t mind. I have tired of summer, it is time things began again.” [Don’t we all feel this way by the time September comes?]

“The W.I. is a good institution. It is not only about jam- and cake-making, though it is about those things, and so it should be, for they are good activities, at a premium now more than ever before, in a fast-moving, mechanised, society: it is about tea-drinking and exchanging recipes, then, and garden plants and knitting patterns, too….It expresses, by its very existence and strength for so many years, a very great many of the important concerns of all kinds of women, and women make up more than half the population, after all. It has a voice, it carries weight, it cares about national and international issues, matters of life and death and health and sickness, of community care and survival, of the upbringing of the young and the welfare of the old.” [We don’t have the W.I. here in the United States but it would be nice to have such a community of women in each area, perhaps in our churches.]

“There is nothing like literary or mythical significance for provoking interest and affection for a particular wild creature. To have a house mouse or spider or even mole is tiresome, to have a party of roosting jackdaws in the chimney is worse, but to have our own hedgehog, by adoption, is very pleasing.”

“We are all here, my family, the animals, all safe, all well and happy and free in the sunshine, and up the lane and down the lane, the houses of friends and neighbours, and beyond our low stone wall, the ‘happy autumn fields’. The countryside is at its best, mellow, ripe, glorious. It is a time for rejoicing, it is easy to be glad here, to praise, to be thankful. We have had the best of years.”

What a wonderful ending, “We have had the best of years.”  I hope I can say that at the end of 2014.

Wednesdays with Words – January 29, 2014

I was originally planning on sharing more quotes from “The Rock That is Higher” by Madeleine L’Engle today.  Unfortunately, it had to be returned to the library and I am back on the waiting list so I can finish it.

Those plans thwarted, I decided to share some quotes from “The Mystery of Providence” by John Flavel.  Flavel was one of the Puritans in England during the seventeenth century.  He was barred from preaching in Dartmouth, his original parish, by the Act of Uniformity in 1662.  He moved out of the city and continue to minister to many people, who traveled to the countryside to hear him preach.  He was often in danger but happily lived to see the Glorious Revolution in 1688, which not only required that the monarch be a Protestant but that the “Non-Conformists” have protections as well.

Like many of the other writings by Puritan authors, Flavel’s work is meaty and deep.  A little bit goes a long way and it will take me many months to work through this work.  However, it will be worth the work.  There is so much that is edifying in this little book and I look forward to not only learning more about God’s Providence but also how it works out in my daily life.

“I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.” Psalm 57:2

“The word which we translate ‘performeth’ comes from a root that signifies both to perfect, and to desist or cease.  For when a business is performed and perfected, the agent then ceases and desists from working.” p. 17

“Payment is the performance of promises.  Grace makes the promise, and Providence the payment.” p. 18

“[Providence] has its eye upon every thing that relates to them [the saints] throughout their lives, from first to last.  Not only the great and more important, but the most minute and ordinary affairs of our lives are transacted and managed by it.  It touches all things that touch us, whether more nearly or remotely.” p. 19

” ‘Tis true we often prejudge its works, and unjustly censure its designs, and in many of our straits and troubles we say: ‘All these things are against us’; but indeed Providence neither does nor can do any thing that is really against the true interest and good of the saints.  For what are the works of Providence but the execution of God’s decree and the fulfilling of His Word? And there can be no more in Providence than is in them.  Now there is nothing but good to the saints in God’s purposes and promises; and therefore, whatever Providence does concerning them, it must be (as the text speaks) ‘the performance of all things for them.'” p. 19

“All the dark, intricate, puzzling providences at which we were sometimes so offended, and sometimes amazed, which we could neither reconcile with the promise nor with each other, nay, which we so unjustly censured and bitterly bewailed, as if they had fallen out quite against our happiness, we shall then see to be to us, as the difficult passage through the wilderness was to Israel, ‘the right way to a city of habitation’ (Ps 107:7)” p. 22

“It is certainly a highway of walking with God in this world, and a soul may enjoy as sweet communion with Him in His providences as in any of His ordinances.” p. 22

As you can see, this is deep stuff and plenty to ponder over the next week.

May you seek to contemplate the Lord’s Providence today, as you meet each and every circumstance, knowing that His will for you is for your good and for His glory.

Wednesdays with Words – Week 2

I have been slowly reading and savoring Susan Hill’s “The Magic Apple Tree” over the last month.  Her prose is delicious and in my mind’s eye,  I can see her home and the Fens and the lovely gardens and fields and trees she describes her book.  Here are just a few of my favorite quotes:

“The open fire is different, we have that not so much when we need it as when we can spend an evening sitting beside it, enjoying the smell and the sight of its burning, staring into it, poking and probing and rearranging it, for a wood fire is an activity, not an object to be admired passively.” 

“…one of the richest pleasures of domestic life is, and has always been, filling the house with the smells of food, of baking bread and cakes, bubbling casseroles and simmering soups, of vegetables fresh from the garden and quickly steamed, of the roasting of meat, of new-ground coffee and pounded spices and chopped herbs, of hot marmalade and jam and jelly.”

“There is a smell to every season, and smoke outdoors is the smell of November.”

“It is a small wood, as all the best ones are, for small, in woodland terms, is friendly and safe.”

“I like to see flowers growing in the way old-fashioned country gardeners always had them, in rows among the vegetables, with the sweet peas up behind the potatoes.”

“Old roses have character, and romance lingering in their pasts.  They are like faded old beauties of Victorian and Edwardian country houses.  I love their names and their rarity and the way they are ever so slightly blousy, and yet paper-frail, too.”

What a lovely book.  Between this book and her “Howard’s End is on the Landing”, I have found an author who is also a kindred spirit.  I have not read any of her other books, not even her mysteries, and have all of those to look forward to in the future.  

Wednesdays with Words

I’m currently reading Madeleine L’Engle’s “The Rock That Is Higher: Story as Truth”. I don’t always agree with all that she writes, but so much of what she writes resonates strongly with me, even if I decide that I don’t agree with her in the end. And she is so quotable:

“One of the results of the Fall is that we have forgotten who we are, and so have forgotten how to be.  Learning to be hurts.  We can sing songs of happiness without knowing pain.  But we can sing the joy of our creation and honor our Creator only from within the fire.” p. 40

This is so true.  It is easy to “do” and so, so difficult to “be” and it was when I walked through the “fire” of temptation and pain and suffering that I met the Lord in a new, close way that I doubt would have occurred if I hadn’t needed Him so desperately.

“Eating has always been important to me, because the focal point of the day is the dinner table, a foretaste of the heavenly banquet.  The dinner hour is a sacramental time for me, a time of gratitude for whoever is gathered around the table, for the food, for our being part of the great story of Creation.  We share the day’s events, tell stories, look up words in dictionaries, linger long after the meal is over while the candles burn down.” p. 56


“We are not meant to be plaster saints who are never frightened or angry.  These are human emotions and few people can avoid them.  However we are not meant to be stuck in them, but to turn to God, and move on.  When I am angry with someone I know, to my rue, that there have been many times when I, too, have been less than I ought to be, when I have not honored God’s image within me.  This understanding alone should be enough to keep us from hanging onto grudges” pp. 76-77

I love her wisdom here.

And one last quote for now:

“The storyteller is a storyteller because the storyteller cares about truth, searching for truth, expressing truth, sharing truth.” p. 103

I am loving reading Madeleine L’Engle’s thoughts on writing, God, love, friendship, story, and ultimately life itself.  I am reading this very slowly and thinking about it and rereading bits.  It’s been well worth my time and effort.