By Elizabeth Prata
For a lot of people in the US, summer is only just getting started. For me, I go back to school on August 2, so my summer break is winding down, fast! It always flies by quickly, but this year more than ever. I moved from one town to another on June 1, and it took a good 3 weeks to get settled. That, plus some other issues happening, made this year’s summer break seem like a blink.
The SBC Annual Meeting didn’t go well, and that took energy from me, and then the plagiarism scandal pushed me over the edge. I hate sermon plagiarism because it is deception, lying, laziness, and offends God severely. Pastors are given a high position in God’s economy. They are to share the word of God with the people divide it rightly. When pastors deliberately fail at this repeatedly, in my mind it’s a sin of the highest order. So that wearied me too.
Let’s take a break. Here are some nice, wholesome, pleasant links for you that have nothing to do with any scandal.
BOOKS: Carrie Graham Koens and her husband adopted 5 children from Latin America a few years ago. The children didn’t know English, or much of anything outside their home country. The oldest was sullen and resentful. Carrie relates a beautiful story of striving to find common ground with her newly adopted kids, through reading aloud. Here she reviews The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in an Age of Distraction, and offers a beautifully written personal experience story, here.
SHAKERS: I lived in southern Maine for almost 30 years, near the last remaining active Shaker Village at Sabbathday Lake. The Shakers were an offshoot movement of the Quakers in the 1780s. Here is a story from the Portland Press Herald about that peculiar place of the past with only a toehold in the now. A 21st Century Shaker Story: The Three People Living in the World’s Only Active Shaker Community Plan for the Future. Beautiful photos.
FOOD: Here at Good, Cheap Eats, Jessica reviews her experience with the subscription of Imperfect Produce (changed to Imperfect Foods). In my area there’s Misfit Market, and there are many other subscription boxes you can try. While it was available in my area, I belonged to a produce co-op where you went to a location and picked up your ordered box. You ordered a box, but accepted whatever came in it. It was a frugal alternative to full price produce at the supermarket, and I was introduced to produce I had not heard of before. I now have too many food allergies and a much more limited range of produce (and foods in general) I can eat, so subscription boxes wont’ work for me any more, but I thought Jessica’s review of this particular subscription was fair and honest. Check out her other essays for great information on a range of food-related and kitchen topics.
MANSION: Want to buy an 11-acre mansion set on the cliffs of Dover, (In England) complete with its own lighthouse? Only 4.25 million UK pounds. Can’t quite pull that out of your pocket? Then take a virtual tour and enjoy the beauty, and dream a little.
MOVIES: Need a pleasing, feel-good family movie to rest your eyes and not blight your soul? I enjoyed Blue Miracle with Dennis Quaid. Here, The World reviews it positively, if you want to find more about it. On Netflix.
ART: The bustling NY City Tribeca art scene is as far away from here, a rural county with cows and pastures and farmers trundling up the road on tractors, but that’s why I’m fascinated with it. People in America live vastly different lives from each other in vastly diverse settings. Here is an art essay on the Tribeca gallery scene and the realtor who helped bustle it.
CATS: I’ve been missing having a cat lately. Not enough to get another one, and my lease forbids animals anyway, so I’ve satisfied my need to see kitties with watching Youtube videos. Of those, thousands abound! I watched a short series from wife and husband Rachel & Jun, who had pity on a starving, injured cat, caught it, and brought home to foster in their small apartment in Japan.
WRITING: We’ve had art, books, and now writing. Next will be music, thus completing my surf today of the arts I enjoy. I agreed with Doug Eaton who says that writing can be and often is a spiritual discipline. It is for me. I found this on Challies’ roundup links so a hat tip to him. Writing as a Spiritual Discipline
MUSIC: At Grace Community Church, there’s a media section of Hymnology. Opera singer Phillip Webb introduces a hymn by giving the backstory of the author, then he sings it. It’s a relaxing, educational, sweet 4 minutes. You can watch for free but need to sign up with email to get in. GCC doesn’t spam you. Hymnology from Hymns of Grace