Friday, November 21, 2008

Vacation time...

Thanksgiving break in T minus 3, 2, 1.....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tales from Long Ago

That is a good book which is opened with expectation and
closed in profit.~ Amos Bronson Alcott ~

A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight. ~ Robertson Davies ~

I don't remember exactly when I picked up that copy of As the Waltz Was Ending by Emma Macalik Butterworth, but I'm pretty sure that it was somewhere around the 4th or 5th grade. The autobiographical story of a young ballerina in pre-WWII Vienna gripped me from the beginning. I had likely chosen the book from the library shelves because, as a young dancer myself, I enjoyed reading books about dance. Little did I know, however, that the book would end up being one of those stories that sticks with you for life.

If I remember correctly, the autobiography is divided into two parts. Part 1 primarily details Emma's daily life and her beginnings with the corps de ballet in Vienna. Slowly, in the midst of the color and grace of the dancing world, you begin to see the influence of the Nazi regime as they push into Austria. Part 2 follows the shattering results of the Russian occupancy of Vienna.

I can't be certain what it was about the story that drew me in so completely, but as Emma vividly described the air raids over Vienna, I found myself listening for raid sirens in the background. For the next several years after reading As the Waltz Was Ending, I was fascinated with the World War II time period.

A few months ago, I found a used copy of the book on Amazon (it's currently out of print). It's been sitting on my book shelf ever since, but I've been hesitant to open its pages...afraid that the experience of reading it won't live up to the one in my memory. It's taken awhile, but I think I'm finally ready....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Grace in Motion

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. --Ephesians 2:8-9 (New American Standard Bible)

Last December, Dave and I got the opportunity to hear Josh Hamilton and his wife Katie speak at our church. Now a household name to many, that Sunday was the first time I had heard Josh's story. It's an amazing tale of God's grace and faithfulness.

Since then, it seems like Josh has been everywhere -- breaking records at the home run derby, signing books at our local Barnes & Noble (it probably helps that we live in his hometown!), and appearing on a host of news and TV shows. I have yet to hear him speak when he hasn't first and foremost given glory to God for where he is and where he's going.

Josh is speaking at our church again this coming week, and I'm looking forward to hearing what he says. God has given him an incredible opportunity to reach the thousands (millions?) of people that he comes in contact with, and I'm reminded that we are each given that same opportunity -- to be a mirror of God's love and mercy to those around us.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The half-time fireworks were nice....

"Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don't like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that."- Bill Shankly