The Light of Old October

If Elliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ says “April is the cruelest month”, then October must surely be the most generous. Unless you are a pumpkin. Or an apple. Then you are a goner (grin). But seriously, I love October because it is the culmination of lots of hard work and hope. It’s wonderful to see that many authors agree. Thanks to ‘Barnstorming’ for this lovely post. Now go destroy an apple.




In Heaven, it is always Autumn
~John Donne



He found himself wondering at times,
especially in the autumn,
about the wild lands,
and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.
~J.R.R. Tolkien Fellowship of the Rings



Is not this a true autumn day?
Just the still melancholy that I love –
that makes life and nature harmonise.
The birds are consulting about their migrations,
the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay,
and begin to strew the ground,
that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air,
while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit.
Delicious autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns.
~George Eliot




Such days of autumnal decline hold…

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Boys Read? Are You Serious?

I love this list of great books for boys (and girls, too)! I’d also add the stories from the Golden Age of Science Fiction (such as ‘Arena’ by Fredric Brown–NOT the Star Trek version) and Susan Cooper’s ‘The Dark is Rising’ (NOT the movie version). There are some stories that are best left in books.


“Explore, build, conquer – you don’t have to tell a boy to do those things for the simple reason that it is his purpose. But it’s going to take risk, and danger, and there’s the catch. Are we willing to live with the level of risk that God invites us to?”

See! A boy is reading in this candid photo. See! A boy is reading in this candid photo.

John Eldredge, Wild at Heart, 2001:Thomas Nelson Publishers

Good books can help build the man. The young boy needs all the help he can get to rise up to the heights of his unique calling. Through stories that flesh out endurance, sacrifice, and fighting for the right, he can attain his destiny. A well-rounded male protagonist demonstrates to the young reader that success must be hard-won and involves taking risks and will inspire him to believe he can make a difference.

John Eldredge claims in Wild at Heart that “Life…

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Heart Armor

I love traditional poetry, but new poetry is great too. Here is a short but poignant poem by blogger Lemonade Life.

The Lemonade Life

heart armor

First cut, the deepest.
Heart sliced wide open, filleted.
Time stitches the wound.
The second cut, not as deep.
Our heart armor, grows stronger.

© 2014 the lemonade life blog, all rights reserved. Photo Credit:

Lemonade: I think most people have experienced this phenomenon. The first time our heart was broken, we thought it was the end of the world. As we go through life our hearts become more adept at protecting themselves. We just have to be careful that we don’t let our heart become too hard. For then, we run the risk of not letting ourselves love anyone.

My heart became so hard that I had a terrible time letting the Lord in. I was so adept a protecting my heart that I refused to accept that I didn’t need to wear my heart armor when it came to a relationship with the Lord. Thankfully, He is…

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Goblin Market

Continuing the Goblin theme…

Autumn is my favorite time of year.  I love the arrival of the farmers markets and fruit stands, so sweet smelling and colorful.  Autumn is also the time I re-read one of my favorite poems, Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti.  Though she might not be as famous as some of the other Victorian Poets like Tennyson, Browning and Kipling, herwork is every bit as powerful.

Goblin Market is the story of two sisters who stumble upon the titular market, a place full of sweet, seductive pleasures.

Come buy, come buy,

Apples and quinces,

Lemons and oranges,

Plump unpecked cherries,

Melons and raspberries . . .

Do not read this poem on an empty stomach!

Anyway, one sister Laura unwisely goes after the goblins, and ends up under their spell.  It’s up to her sister Lizzie to rescue her from their greedy evil clutches.  Lizzie does, of course (it’s Victorian poetry, not Hunger Games), and everything ends happily ever after.

This poem has tons of layers, but in the truest sense Goblin Market is a cautionary tale about falling for the seduction of worldly excess (a good thing to remember when lusting after the new iPhone).  Laura isn’t a bad kid–she just makes a bad choice.  Lizzie knows Laura’s made a foolish choice, and rescues her anyway.  Cause, you know, sisters.

For there is no friend like a sister

In calm or stormy weather;

To cheer one on the tedious way,

To fetch one if one goes astray

Goblin Markets are everywhere, and technology has only made them more available.  There is some very, very bad stuff out there that is promoted as cheerful and enticing, or even, wait for it, empowering.  We are all just one bad choice away from being a Laura.  And, realistically speaking, there will come a day when you make that bad choice. But when you do, remember that even the biggest, badest Goblin Market is no match for one person who loves you. And, especially, for THE ONE who loves you.

Cause, you know, Jesus.


You Have No Power Over Me

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
Matthew 19:26 (NLT)

I have been thinking lately about how Jesus speaks to us in our confusing modern world. So, naturally, I thought about the movie Labyrinth (grin).

Labyrinth is a fantasy movie by Jim Henson (the Muppet guy) that came out in 1986, smack in the middle of the ‘big hair’ decade. And oh, the hair is big! The story centers on Sarah, a teen (played by future Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly), who accidentally wishes her adorable but bothersome baby step-brother Toby into the hands of the Goblin King (played by eternally hot rock star David Bowie). Sarah has to navigate the treacherous goblin maze to save her brother, aided by a dithering knight on a sheepdog steed and a troll who has made a deal with the Goblin King to sell her out. Oh, and Sarah only has thirteen hours to save her brother before he becomes a little goblin forever.

The goblin realm is alternately ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Monty Python bat-crazy’ (MP alumnae Terry Jones co-wrote the script). Sarah uses her wits to conquer the maze, which includes such unpleasant places as ‘the Swamp of Eternal Stench’ and an endless junk yard ruled by a greedy old woman weighed down by the trash hoard she carries on her back. But the heart of the movie is Sarah, a young woman trapped in the deceitful, unreliable ways of the goblin maze, just as she is trapped in her equally unreliable earthly life. Her absent, self-absorbed actress mother has no time for her, and her well-meaning but clueless father and step-mother don’t understand why Sarah resents babysitting her step-brother, the result of a new life she never wanted nor asked for.

Sarah’s real life world has fallen apart, and she feels resentful, vulnerable, and lost. Which, as we all know, is when the Goblin King likes to strike.

When I saw Labyrinth I was in my mid-twenties, navigating a job that had taken me to a city far from my home and Christian support. My pay was too small, my hours were too long, and I’d just been dumped by yet another a guy because I wasn’t rich or fashionable enough for the glittery lifestyle. I felt, well, resentful, vulnerable and lost. Then I saw this movie, about an imperfect girl navigating an impossible maze against an overwhelmingly powerful foe, and still coming out on top. At that time in my life, I needed an example like Sarah’s to remind me that even unprepared, woefully inadequate people can triumph over evil with the help of friends, brains, and the courage to take a step into the unknown.

Jesus speaks to us in many ways. Through the Bible. Through prayer. Through church and friends and yes, sometimes through tough times. In 1986, he spoke to me through a nutty fantasy movie about stolen babies, trolls, and a very fetching Goblin King in an awesome fright wig. Like Sarah, I was lost. Like Sarah, I was facing a task for which I was ill-prepared (new job, unfamiliar city, attractive but empty lifestyle). Sarah was bound for failure, and yet, at the end of the movie she had conquered the trials of the maze and stood before the Goblin King. “You have no power over me”, she told him.

Labyrinth tanked in theaters. Mr. Henson died a few years later, believing this film was a failure. But it wasn’t. Not by a long shot. It wasn’t ‘box office boffo’, but it changed my life. Because of it, I was able to say to my job and my soul-sapping lifestyle, “You have no power over me”. Take that, Goblin King!

Unexpected Blessings

I just had to share Nancy’s post about rediscovering a treasured book that was a big part of her son’s childhood. It got me thinking about the books that still make me smile. Mine was ‘Paddle to the Sea’ by Holling. What were yours?

From the Inside Out


Eric, our older son, and I were chatting on the phone.

“Mom, did you happen to save my old Uncle Wiggly book from when I was little?”

Uncle Wiggly? Goodness. I hadn’t thought about that old rabbit and his adventures for years.

“I doubt that we have it,” I responded. “Didn’t each of you kids already take the children’s books you wanted? I think all we have are the leftovers we’ve saved for the grandchildren.”

“No, I don’t have it either,” he replied.

“Well, maybe it was just too worn out to save,” I offered.

“Could be,” Eric said. “I was hoping to find a copy because it would be such fun to share with our Elena when she gets a little older.”

He paused for a moment.

“Remember the picture of Uncle Wiggly in his car?”

No, I didn’t remember.

“The wheels were made from big, fat sausages. That…

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Lessons from Gandalf and Lord of the Rings: “Decide what to do with the Time”

I loved ‘The Fellowship of the Rings’ and this scene in particular. Though it isn’t in the books, I feel it completely captures the encouraging spirit of Tolkien’s Trilogy.

Paula's Blog

I slammed my journal shut.

It happened a year ago beside a mountain stream. Sprinkles started, slowing my pen and smudging the pages. I stomped to the car and cowered, away from the rain.

It felt like my life. Another storm raining on my parade.

Much of what I had been through I wished had “never come to me.” There was a whisper hinting at how this life I live is part of a grander scheme, but even the hidden dreams within scared me. Seemed unattainable.

Often I’ve wish my own personal “ring” had never come to me.

Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.

Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given…

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