Ordinary Thanksgiving Day 12, 13, 14

Playing a bit of catch up here:

Day 12

I’m thankful today for the ordinary means of grace, the preaching of the word, and my faithful pastors. I’m thankful for my local church. These are both ordinary and supernatural.

Day 13

I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my little home, my brothers and sisters, my parents, my nieces and nephews, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. I love them all.

I’m also thankful for the family I married into. For my extra parents, extra siblings, extra nieces and nephews, extra grandparents, extra cousins, and extra aunts and uncles. I love you all and I’m blessed to be a Jones.

Day 14

I’m thankful for stories. I’m thankful for they way they share, teach, and the us together. I’m thankful to live in a world that tells stories.

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Quote of the Weekend

“What do you know of the Knights?” he asked.

Fin shrugged. “I thought knights were only in children’s stories until a few days ago.”

Jeannot smiled. “A man could do worse than to live in the stories of a child. There is, perhaps, no better remembrance.”

“Until the child grows up and finds out the stories aren’t true. You might be knights, but I don’t see any shining armor,” Fin said.

Jeannot stopped near the gate of the auberge and faced her. “Each time a story is told, the details and accuracies and facts are winnowed away until all that remains is the heart of the tale. If there is truth at the heart of it, a tale may live forever. As a knight, there is no dragon to slay, no maiden to rescue, and no miraculous grail to uncover. A knight seeks the truth beneath these things, seeks the heart. We all it the corso. The path set before us. The race we must run.” – The Fiddler’s Green by A.S. Peterson

 

Pencil Dancing Chapter 3

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This man! He’s all wrapped up in my “most important” list!

Pencil Dancing Chapter 1

Pencil Dancing Chapter 2

 

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Poo. Since the holidays are over, I’m itching to do some projects I’ve had to postpone for over a year now. Time to dive back into housekeeping without, obviously, over doing it. I keep repeating this to you and to myself because I’m in grave danger of doing too much the minute I feel even slightly better. Take it slow…

Which leads right into this chapter of the book: Time . . .and time, Again.

This chapter is all about Hurry Sickness. Before last year, I hardly ever took time to just sit and do nothing. Even the idea of quietly letting your thoughts rumble around without being productive seemed, well, sacraligious or something.

Now, after a year of battling this virus, I can say that down time is vital to housekeeping and life in general.

The first question at the end of this chapter is all about doing nothing for 30 minutes. I’ve done plenty of that for a long time, so I think question 2 is a better use of my time.

Make a list of five of the most important things you give your time to. What’s the most meaningful one? Why? Is anything missing from your list that could further your creative growth or add pleasure and dimension to your life? Write your thoughts.

My five most important things I give my time to:

  1. My Church: under this heading, I’m including my husband since he is a fellow church member and my closest neighbor. He is my first field of service.
  2. My Family: I’m fortunate enough to be able to include my family in with my church! But, family day is hardly serving, generally, so that’s why my family is second on the list.
  3. My Home: this sums up the actual brick and mortar location. It includes the yard, trees, cars, and house—both interior and exterior.
  4. Encouraging Others: there is nothing I love more than being encouraging to those around me. Whether this means a smile for the bank teller, a birthday wish on FaceBook, a text to a friend, or a not sent in the mail, I enjoy lifting others up. This often also ties into my family.
  5. Stories: I love stories in any form. From music, movies, books, audio books, my own writing, other people’s writing, I love stories. I don’t know if this should be a most important, but it takes up a lot of my time thus it’s included.
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These people are some of my most favorites!

 

 

The most meaningful one on here is serving my Church. All the other important things flow from it and often tie back into it. Some of them are specific out-workings of that service. As a Christian, based on the merits of Christ, why would I want to do anything other than pour myself out for the church? He died for us, we should live for him.

I don’t think I really see anything missing that could add more creative dimensions to my life. The Stories alone feed my creativity and bleed into the other areas, while they all interrelate and interlock with one another.

It is interesting to note that 3 out of the 5 important things are people related. See why those little online quizzes are never sure if I’m an introvert or an extrovert?

Before I got sick, I spent lots of my time going and going. I tried to keep up with all the projects and was constantly on the go between church and family. Now, my view has narrowed. I’ve had to learn to do many of these things more quietly and less often. I’ve had to learn to send more text messages, FB posts, and Notes in place of my physical presence.

This had not been an easy transition for me. I think that in some ways I was so used to/addicted to the adrenaline from pushing myself all the time that I didn’t know how to quite. God sure did. Thank you EBV.

Life has slowed down, but my priorities remain the same and I’m thankful for the creativity God allows me to express in my service to my church, my love of my family, my home, encouraging others, and through stories.

He is a generous God!

Thanksgiving 4: Eucatastrophe

Courtesy of Google.

Courtesy of Google.

Today, I’m thankful for eucatastrophe. This is a term coined by Tolkien to mean the turning point of grace. He himself says in his lecture on Fairy-Stories that the true turning point of grace in history is Christ’s Incarnation and his Resurrection. Think about that! It is the moment of surprising hope. It is the moment all that is dark and bad turns to good and joy. A true fairy story must have this moment. These are my favorite stories to write. They aren’t so popular right now, the happy ending I mean, but I love them all the same. I am very thankful for real eucatastrophies and fictional ones.

It is because of this I have decided to stop saying I write Fairy Tales and start saying I write Fairy Stories. 🙂

Eucatastrophe is a neologism coined by Tolkien from Greek ευ- “good” and καταστροφή “destruction”.

 

It is the mark of a good fairy-story, of the higher or more complete kind, that however wild its events, however fantastic or terrible the adventures, it can give to child or man that hears it, when the “turn” comes, a catch of the breath, a beat and lifting of the heart, near to (or indeed accompanied by) tears, as keen as that given by any form of literary art, and having a peculiar quality.

On Fairy-Stories

In Conclusion: Or Why I love the Rambo Series

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Going against my normal blogging schedule, I spent last week reviewing the Rambo series. Let me sum up.

First, I’ll admit that some of my love is due to my proclivity for melancholy movies. I don’t need a movie to be completely happy to enjoy it. In fact, I like movies and stories that leave you feeling resolved but a bit haunted. I blame this on too much Tolkien as a child. One of the reasons I enjoy a good war movie—amongst many other things—is the sweet sense of the long battle’s end mixed with the bitter taste of those who didn’t make it. Why? Cause this is life, and this is the Christian life.

Rambo deals with a more subtle and subconscious concept of those who don’t make it. Some heroes make it off the battlefield but not out of the war. I enjoyed this aspect of the storytelling. We can all think of scars we bear that haven’t healed. Some of us, some of those around us, are still fighting battles we can’t see. The Rambo series takes this concept, gives it a body, form, and setting, and then sits back and lets the sparks fly.

Second, I like the conclusion. First Blood introduces a broken hero and doesn’t heal him. First Blood II shows him harnessing his broken-ness for the sake of others like himself, but again, due to betrayal Rambo is left without the salvation he brought to them. It’s not until Rambo (4), when he fights for American citizens, when he fights for the weak, when he uses his warrior-ness to protect, defend, and save, when he comes full circle and is acknowledged by the people he saves as having a place in society, that he heals.

Third, though it may sound trite, we need to deal with and not forget Vietnam as a nation. It’s important that we understand how it was to fight in that war and come home to rejection. If we forget what happened we might do it again. Don’t look at the Rambo movies as us fighting the war over so we can win this time. Look at it as an exaggeration of what the warriors endured. They fought and left brothers on the battlefield. They came home and were rejected. They were left behind and abandoned by their government over and over. They felt dirty and wrong for what they were. Rambo shows all of this in a riveting fashion. Don’t miss it for the bits of cheese. (Again, I’m ignoring Rambo III.)

Fourth, they show the common struggle of many young men in our own generation. Women have it easy right now. We know who we are, what we’re good at, how we can use that, and we have options. We can be anything we want right now. We are living in the post-feminist era. In our rush to get women out to the front, we’ve unbalanced our society. Instead of men and women standing shoulder to shoulder sharing strength and mitigating weaknesses, we have become a very feminine society. What does that mean? We are more concerned about feelings and safety than is healthy. It’s like little boys raised without fathers by overly protective mothers. See, women want to make sure everyone is happy and at peace, but sometimes peace and happiness aren’t what’s most important. Sometimes hard and uncomfortable work needs to be done. Kids are going to get hurt and protecting them from everything may not be in their best interest.

Rambo shows, again in an exaggerated form, a man struggling to come to grips with who and what he is within a society that has rejected him, called him dangerous, and attempted to deal with him in a violent manner. In a more subtle way, I think many men can relate to this. Instead of being disciplined, trained, and taught, we medicate them, belittle them, and tell them everything about them is wrong. We tell men that they are only worthwhile when they’re as much like women as possible. We’ve neutered our own society. Rambo does what all good stories do. It showcases a common human element without preaching.

Now, I know that the original writers and actors probably never had any of this in mind, but my husband—a man—tells me this is what’s appealing to him about the Rambo story. And I see it too. I’m a homemaker in a day and age where that is the most underappreciated job. I can watch Rambo and see myself. I can feel his frustration with being something that is no longer valued. I think any person has experienced this at one time or another in their life. It is a common human experience.

Granted, I’m watching these movies through some fairly conservative moral sunglasses. But, we all bring what we believe to the table when we watch movies and read books. That’s life.

Finally, the last thing about my love for Rambo is spiritual. We are often described in the Bible as soldiers in the great Spiritual War. Most analogies and illustrations break down when examined closely. This one does not. Meaning, I know we are in the middle of a real spiritual war, but we don’t wear specific metal pieces of armor. We do have spiritual armor. The idea of being like a soldier training, standing, battling is a good illustration because it is true, and because it doesn’t break down. The more I learn about war, battle, and soldiers, the deeper the idea becomes. For me, warriors are like our pastors. The men who dedicate everything they are to defend us and feed us are like warriors who repeatedly return to combat. Warriors give up on everything ‘normal’ about this life and so do pastors. Pastors make other people uncomfortable. They pass on careers. They pass on high paying jobs. They give up on so much of life to do what? Study the Bible and preach? Don’t let the commonality of pastors and churches in our country make you take what they do for granted. They are our warriors. And like Rambo, they often face rejection, hatred, disrespect, and abuse. Pray that your pastors will not cave, but stand. Pray they will have confidence not in themselves but in the Lord who gave them gifts and set their feet on this course.

These are the reasons behind my love for the Rambo movies.

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