Words

I learned a new word this week. Lagomorphs are the classification for rabbits, hares and pikas. It just sounds like a great name, doesn’t it? Lagomorph. Like a Harry Potter villain with long ears and a pointy, whiskery snout. I like a good word. Borborygmus is another one of my favourites. (I’ll let you look it up on your own… increase your knowledge and everything… way to keep learning 🙂 ) Words are cool. Ha! Even as I proofread this post I am looking at the word “word”… make your lips say it…”word”, w’s are funny sounds. English sounds are odd. Words are still cool.

This cute little guy is a pika of the classification “lagomorph” Photo By: Karunakar Rayker – originally posted to Flickr as The Pika

I was musing about words this week… words, writing, books, literature. As you know, our first born is preparing to enter in to her very own space at the end of this month, and her biggest collection to move? Her books. She’s been an avid reader since day one and loves a good collection of stories. And yes, she buys the whole collection. And keeps it forever. I guess there could be worse things to collect than books. She’s among good company, though. Here are some other people who had (or have?) some large collections: Michael Jackson was apparently a big poetry fan and had a stash of over 10 000 books at the Neverland Ranch. Ernest Hemingway always had a few hundred books in his stash as he travelled, with over 9 000 in the full collection. Thomas Jefferson apparently sold a large pile to the Library of Congress, twice, to pay off some debts. (hint, hint, dear firstborn….). Oprah’s book club turned her into a top collector, as well. I hear Bill Gates reads a book a week and has someone in charge of switching up his weekly “book bag”. The largest private collection of books belongs to John Q. Benham of Avoca, Indiana, USA. Guinness world records clocks him with over 1.5 million! Wouldn’t want to move that guy.

It’s interesting to me to see who reads what. And how their vocabulary is influenced. I have a friend who is an avid reader and edits for a living. I love to hear her talk. Her words are eloquent. My Covid kids can now quote various movie reels. Books? Not so much. Perhaps we are loosing out on some of that in this “age of screen”. My own fault as parent, I guess. Noted to self. Literature is so rich, and we should be blessed and thankful we have access to it. Do you agree? What’s your favourite read? Are you a writer? I don’t think of myself as a writer, despite a weekly blog that somehow comes together from the thoughts in my head. I like words though. And good calligraphy makes words look even better… but I digress.

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

I heard an interesting discussion this week about the authors of the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each describing the life and story of Jesus according to their own idiosyncrasies and distinct personalities. Each used their own choices of words and phrases to describe a certain story or parable. Each Jesus quote may actually be different depending on the gospel you are reading. Skeptics may point to the differences in the Gospels as proof that the Bible is false…but most scholars agree to the exact opposite: the discrepancies actually give credit to the story’s truth. Too much of the “same” would indicate that the writers were trying to make up a story, as opposed to tell the true story as they remember it. Interesting to see how a doctor, like Luke, writes his account compared to John, Jesus’s bestie.

We often talk about the Bible as the God-breathed word, and it is. But it is also a very diverse piece of literature, written by human authors. An anthology if you will. (Another great vocab word!) It spans generations in time, and is targeted for different ethnic groups and diverse cultures. Not to mention poetry, prose and history lessons. Even futuristic tales, I suppose! Each time I read it, something new seems to come from it. I’m sure you have felt the same. The beauty of words, yet not just words. Words shared by people to tell a story, the same story, yet a story unique to each person on the planet. That, my friend, is the power of the Word.

Prepare a Place

Have you ever been in the market for a new home? Our eldest is preparing to move into her very own apartment next month, and will be needing to start “adulting” soon… setting up bills, arranging for furniture and necessary appliances… like a coffee machine! Not to mention the budget balancing in order to pay for all those things! Things are about to get real!

I remember when we bought our first house. (It’s still the one we live in, so I guess it’s our only house!) My two requirements were: a big bay window and an “eat-in” kitchen. The house we bought had neither. Technically, there was a small table in our kitchen, and our original, large, living room aluminum window was eventually replaced with a bay window… but not the romantic window seat with throw pillows that I had imagined. But it’s our home. We’ve raised our kids here, and now the dog lives here, too, and eats the cushions that are left.

Photo by Harmen Jelle van Mourik on Unsplash

The hubby and I often swing into open houses, just for fun. One day, in the dead of winter, we toured a 5-car-garaged mansion with heated drive ways and a child’s walk in closet the size of our master bedroom. I’m sure the realtor guessed that we were well out of her league with our mis-matched winter woolies on and rosy-cheeked expressions, but she graciously showed us around the chef worthy kitchen with its fancy Italian granite counter tops and copper faucets in gold trim. We ooo’d and aww’d appropriately and told her we “would think about it”.

It’s fun to dream about your ideal dwelling place, isn’t it? I can spend hours on Pinterest designing a room, or scrolling through “realtor.ca” and seeing what is available in our price range (especially since Covid restrictions have limited drive by open houses). I love a good reno show where they take an old home and make it “new”. I particularly love century homes and the restoration of old wood beams and fine, spiral staircases with polished banisters….oooh, goosebumps! Homes with character — and a yard with a chicken coop! Gets my juices flowing, I tell ya!

Honestly, I am a terrible decorator. Mostly because I’m cheap and lazy, and although I love to spend the time looking… rarely does it filter down into our actual living space. These days, I’m lucky if the dishes get put away, let alone displayed in open shelving with antique brass fixtures. Occasionally, I am inspired, and do a few Insta-worthy tasks. Here are a few I posted about in the past: Hosting a Fall Brunch, Home Made Lovely, Christmas Oranges (Yes, I did finally make the garland!!) and How much is Too Much? If you follow along with my blogging journeys, I’m sure you will see more, as I tend to write about such things.

My latest collection of books for review included a devotional called A Place Called Heaven. And although I may not write a formal review for it, the first devotion had me musing about this very topic: preparing a place. God is currently preparing a place for me in Heaven. Can you imagine what it might look like? Spiral wood banisters with grand cathedral stained glass windows? Chicken coops in the backyard? Real adult coffee makers on standby for when St. Peter comes for a chat? But even more than that, what am I doing now to prepare for that place? For my eternal destination with the Creator of the Universe? Am I living day-to-day with hopes for the future in my heavenly dwelling? Who am I asking to share the journey with me? Serious questions to make me think.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”

John 14:2 (American Standard Version)

That Sounds Fun

It’s now been over a year since we were introduced to the infamous Corona virus, the dreaded Covid-19. The global menace of 2020. We’ve had time to reflect, contest, converse and contemplate all that we hold dear and special. Toilet paper notwithstanding. Annie F. Downs is no exception to those things, either. In her latest book, That Sounds Fun, she, too, reflects on her past experiences in light of the mix of her new experiences. What then, does it all mean in God’s plan? It’s a delightful compilation of thoughts and experiences from Downs’ life. Although this thirty-some-thing-single-Tennessee-gal is “embarrassingly easy to find” on the internet, she’s new to me. She currently hosts a podcast called “That Sounds Fun” and her book is an extention of that work. Now that I have read this book, I am eager to get a hold of her “100 Days to Brave”…especially in light of my #wordoftheyear. Downs also has her first children’s book due out in fall 2021. But let’s get back to the current. Here’s her little promotional to wet your appetite:

via YOUTUBE

Much like mittonmusings.com, Annie’s book is a collection of thoughts, gathered under three general premises: The Joys of Being an Amateur, The Power of Falling in Love, and Why you Need a Hobby. Her writing is witty, and well, “fun”, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Dotted throughout the book are lists of what her fans also think is “fun” and truly reflect what the world began to hold dear in this global pandemic: visits with friends, teaching and mentoring the younger generation, learning from the older, travel and family. These are the things that Downs calls our “return to Eden” moments. The pieces of our heart that are shaped by God’s perfect plan and what He originally intended for us as humans… connection and meaningful relationships, including bringing Glory to God through our actions and experiences.

Annie is openly personal in her conversations, and shares both her joys and sorrows. I was particularly touched by her story about Helen. If you know me, and read the book, you’ll see why. She shares her struggles about being single, her allergies, and I love how she has named the places she has lived. What would you name the place you are currently living in? Mine might just have to be the Castle of Chaos. She reminises about times spent on her grandma’s porch snapping beans… her little moment of childhood Eden. Country girl, indeed.

Originally, I picked this book for my bookshelf based on my thoughts about “fun”. My ideas of fun are vastly different from the thoughts my husband has, different from what my children find fun, and different from what many of my friends deem “fun”. I was looking to validate my own activities, and to trust that God made me special. In some ways, she does. God’s plans for Annie F. Downs are not the same for me. They are not the same for you, either. Does God want us to have some “fun” along the way? Of course. Maybe we could sum it up in this quote near the end of the book:

“So chase the fun, friend. Go after it. Find what sounds fun to you, and you will find what you are really looking for. Maybe you will find it in the places where you are an amateur (aren’t you glad to be an amateur!) maybe you will find it in love (I hope you are in love); or maybe you’ll find it that hobby you just found or returned to.”

Annie F. Downs in “That Sounds Fun” p.223-224

Have fun today, my friends.