Thursday, August 16, 2007

What I'm reading, watching and listening to...


A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin
This is the fourth or fifth time through this book. The entire series (A Song of Fire and Ice) should be read from the beginning. I hate using cliches, but this truly is an epic series. It feels historical, magical, and true. The characters are so well developed and so well written, that you can see them as you read, and their actions seem true to their character even when you don't anticipate what they will do next. Each of the characters are flawed, but Mr. Martin draws their flaws so clearly that you understand where they come from. You love them, you hate them, you root for them, you mourn for their loss, but what you want to know is what happens next. Totally engrossing in the way few books are, each successive volume is both fully satisfying and leaves me longing for the next one. I can hardly wait for the next and final book.

Table for Five by Susan Wiggs
Although Ms. Wiggs has written several books and has made the New York Times bestsellers list, this is one book that I won't be reading a second time. The plot seems familiar, though the characters are reasonably written is is somewhat less than satisfying. It is a good story for a little light reading, aimed at female readers. Not really my cup of tea.

The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway
I picked this up at a second-hand bookstore thinking they were having a half price sale. It was an impulse, since they didn't have books on Amy Carmichael. This is a truly compelling autobiography that left me on the edge of my seat, staying up late reading by the bedside light. Brother Yun became a Christian as a teenager in communist China and for the sake of his faith was imprisoned and tortured for years. His testimony is compelling and inspiring.

Blogs of Note

I started reading this yesterday after noting the address on a Yahoo Groups post. Sustainable living, economizing, medeival times, gardening, cooking, home schooling, etc. This is an interesting woman. Time will tell if this stays on my list.

The Simple Dollar
Constantly updated, practical, interesting writing by a man seeking to live frugally and save and invest wisely. Very personal and very wise. I read this nearly every day.

Living From My Heart
My friend Beth hasn't posted as often as I would like, but she is droll, earnest, interesting and down to earth, as well as being a closet romantic.

Doug Green's Garden Blog
I love this guy's site, his blog, his newsletter. This guy knows gardening. He loves it and this comes across. Always inspiring me to be more adventurous in my garden, his blog and newsletter encourage any gardener, from the novice to the advanced.

Zambia K8
Caitlin is serving with the U.S. Peace Corps in Zambia, and is fascinating in her description of a life so totally different for her. Her exuberant personality comes through on each page.

1000 Days Non-Stop At Sea
The idea of this journey is so foreign to me that I can't help but be fascinated. Will they make it 1000 days without stopping for provisions, repairs, or simply the need to put foot on land?

Full Blue Moon Dementia
What can I say? Incredibly well-written. Is it truth? Is it fiction? I don't know.


The Simpsons Movie. Lots of laughs, but wait for the DVD, or even wait 'til it comes to television, unless you are a die-hard Simpsons fan.

The Bourne Ultimatum Dizzying camera work, lots of action, great performances. A really fun time. Highly recommended.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Whether you have issues with Harry or not, this is a good movie. Great cinematography, well-written, good acting, thoroughly engrossing. I highly recommend this movie.

No Reservations A feel-good date movie. Catherine Zeta-Jones is beautiful and believable, Aaron Eckhart is charming and engaging, Abigail Breslin is top-notch. Story is typical romantic fare, but done well. This one goes in my must-have chick flick DVD collection.


I caught "The Kid" on the other day and the kid is frustrated that there are 120 channels and nothing on. Much of the time that is true. Still...

Side Order of Life I can't really explain what I like about this show.

State of Mind A bit more messed up and yet more understandable than Frasier's looney pair of sibling psychiatrists, Lily Taylor is terrific in this show. What happens when your life is crazy and you must deal with clients whose difficulties are entirely of their own making? Watch and find out.

Deadliest Catch Men being men. Men who do the toughest, deadliest, coldest, riskiest jobs. Working on the open deck with rogue waves crashing over you. In between you break the ice that coats everything while you wait for the opportunity to work 20, 30 or more hours straight hauling crab pots, hoping they are keepers. Hoping the weather stays in your favor, hoping you get your quota, hoping you make it back to port without much loss. Praying you come back with all your crew. Praying you find the crab. Wild. Probably my favorite show.


Amore Andrea Boccelli
I cannot get myself to take this out of my CD player. I love it!

I'll Find You There The Kry
This one is regularly cycled through my playlist. I really enjoy the music, the lyrics, the feel of this.

Faith Jason Upton
Although I think this album is uneven, there are some real gems on it. I heard the song "Freedom" being played as background music during the offering or between services at church and had to find out who it was and where to get it. Try it and skip what you don't like.

I actually have several Rod Stewart albums in my CD player:
Unplugged and Seated (Live)
It Had To Be You...The Great American Songbook
As Time Goes By...The Great American Songbook: Volume II
Stardust... The Great American Songbook, Vol. III
Thanks For The Memory...The Great American Songbook IV
Some singers have natural gifts and do nothing with them, when listening to them you think, what a beautiful voice, and wonder why it leaves you cold. Mr. Stewart doen't have a great voice, but what he does with it is compelling. When I am loving his music there is a part of me that wonders, how can this be? Still, he gets to me and that part of me tells the voice critic to shut up.

Irish to the Core~ Wolfe Tones I love this unabashedly, unashamedly nationalistic Irish music. No apologies, no political correctness here. It inspires me to want to don the green. You'll love this too.

Windham Hill Signature Series: Piano Sampler This is quite pleasant background music as I write, read or do housework.

My-Redeemer Matthew Ward Although I love Third Day and listen to them often, this album inspires me to worship more than any other I have ever heard. My copy of this CD is so battered that it skips terribly, yet I cannot throw it away until I have replaced it. It is in my heart. Order yourself a copy, and while you're at it, order another one for me too.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Does God Care What He is Called?

This is the text describing the article as I went to email it to someone:

Dutch bishop: Call God 'Allah' to ease relations A Roman Catholic Bishop in
the Netherlands has proposed people of all faiths refer to God as Allah to
foster understanding, stoking an already heated debate on religious
tolerance in a country with one million Muslims.
To quote Bishop Tiny Muskens, ""Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn't we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? ... What does God care what we call him? It is our problem."

Does God care what we call him? He names himself "I AM". "YHWH" is the usual English translation. He calls himself the self-existent one. He is named "Adonai" (Lord), "Adonai YHWH" (Lord God), "Elohim" (a plural, often seen as evidence of a triune God from the story of creation on), "El" ' A Elyon(Most High God), "El Shaddai" (God Almighty), "El `Olam" (Everlasting God), "El Hai" (Living God), "El Ro'i" (God of Seeing, or the God who sees me), "El Elohe Israel" (God, the God of Israel), "El Gibbor" (God of Strength), "YHWH Jireh" (God who provides), YHWH Rapha (The Lord that Healeth). . God reveals himself through prophesy to Isaiah: "Wonderful", "Counselor" "Everlasting Father", the "Prince Of Peace".

When one makes such an effort to reveal himself through his name, which describes who he is, what he is you think we should idly decide to name him something other?

For instance: my name is Kim. "Kimberly" to government types and doctors who don't bother to read beyond my given name to my preferred name. I am known as "Mom" to my kids, "Aunt Kim" to my nieces and nephews, "Mrs. Bentz" to some very well-brought-up children of my acquaintance, "honey" to my husband, "Kristen's mom", "Craig's mom" or "Alex's mom" depending on who you might be talking to, "Kim Carlson" to those who knew me before I got married, or even "Norm Carlson's daughter" or "Kris's sister". I have been called "the writer", "the singer", "the herb lady" and even "the hat lady". These names and descriptions all fit me. The are who I am or describe who I am. You cannot just walk up to me and begin to call me "Sally Kirkland" because you wish me to be that. I will not respond. I will be offended that you do not use the name with which I introduce myself.

When you ask me to do things for you, I won't do them, or if I choose to do so, it will not be with the warmth and intimacy that I wish to share with you.

Why would someone who calls them self a follower of God (such as the bishop) insult his creator by offering him up the name someone else calls their own god? Given his flawed logic, should we then begin to call YHWH "Thor"? or "Baal"? "Zeus"? Shall we call upon him by the names of Hindu gods? Ptuiy! May it never be!

It is discourteous, impolite, even rude to call one by the name of another. When it comes to God, the creator of the universe, our master, maker, savior and Lord, it is treating the Holy One as common. It is without decency or respect for the divinity and majesty of God. What disdain this man shows for his creator.

Why not ask the Muslim world to call upon YHWH? Because they understand that names mean things.

I occasionally get someone's name wrong in my head when I meet them. For a time I had registered in my head that my friend Becky's name was Peggy. One day I called her by the wrong name when introducing her to my husband. I was mortified when she quietly corrected me. Why? Well, you know why. My gaffe revealed that I hadn't made the effort to ensure that I NEVER called her by the wrong name. I have since, by repeated utterings of her correct name whenever I see or think about her, completely erased the Peggy connection in my head.

Such should be the nature of man when he finds that he has not used the correct name for God. Out of respect, he should retrain his brain, his thoughts, his emotions, his very being, to know God as he wishes himself to be known. He has given us many names by which we can call him, even, for those who are his, "Abba" or "Daddy" as it translates into English. Why would you call the Holy God, your Abba, by any other name but his own?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Some look for Sasquatch. I look for bull moose.

When I was in Alaska, I went out on snowshoes following moose track. I never caught sight of a bull moose, but when we would drive somewhere (the post office, even) there would be fresh tracks when we came back. Drove me nuts! Even when the car broke down on the way to the airport...we were in the office waiting for a ride and the man who ran the tow company asked if there was anything else. I just jokingly (I had nearly given up) said, "I'd like to see a bull moose if you've got one hanging around." "There was one here about a half an hour ago, but he's gone now."

All the way through Yellowstone I had my eyes peeled. Lots of cow moose and calves, but not a single bull to be seen.

A few years ago there was a young bull moose who had wandered down Fountain Creek and was seen wandering around in the area of Monument Valley Park. Never saw him. He apparently decided to head back up through the Air Force Academy and off into the hills, but he never made himself available when I was down looking for him. He made quite a stir in these parts, let me tell you, even had a naming competition of some sort. I think they came up with Bullwinkle or something equally original. Doesn't matter. It was a nine-day wonder and now I can't even locate info on it on the web.

I still want to see one. Need to head up to Estes Park. I read on the park website where there tend to be sightings, and a friend of mine just spent the weekend backpacking in another part of the park and has tons of pictures of bull moose.

Please don't write me about how stupid it is to go looking for moose. I know the dangers and am fully prepared to stay as far away as necessary for safety. I've seen a grizzly in the wild and didn't get close enough for danger--I'm not a complete idiot. I don't want to pet them or get close-up...I just want to see them in their natural habitat. Not a nature show, not at the zoo.

It's a reasonably harmless longing. It doesn't keep me from seeing what's right in front of me while I am out, but it does provide that little extra spark. Maybe, this time I'll see one. Maybe as I go over this ridge or turn the next corner, there will be one off in the distance.

I have to admit there was a thrill each time I saw fresh moose tracks in the Alaska snow. Knowing they were out there, less than a block from the house added to the excitement of the chase. Elusive, but clearly there. The evidence was all around me. It could only be a matter of time before I saw one.

It's only a matter of time.