Author Archives: kyriosity

My Year in Books…and Looking Ahead to Next Year

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After a pitiful showing in 2012 (just 14 titles), I was determined to be more literate in 2013. Here’s the breakdown:

Total titles reviewed on Goodreads: 36

Brief picture books that shouldn’t really count (and aren’t included in the following stats): 2

Audio: 12.5 // Print or onscreen: 21.5

Fiction: 20 // Nonfiction: 14

Books I worked on (editing, proofreading and/or layout): 3 (Beowulf, Against the Church, Rekindling Advent)

Other books I worked on that I suppose I could count, because I read them, but didn’t, because they haven’t been published yet, so I haven’t reviewed them yet: 1

Books I wish I could have worked on  because the editing, proofreading and/or layout needed desperate help: 1 (Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert…amazing book, lame cover, embarrassing editing)

Read for book group: 8

Rereads from previous years: 13 // First-time reads: 21

Multiple reads this year: 2 (World English BIble, audio edition read by David Field…listened through 3 times; Beowulf…2 rounds of proofrediting)

Best of the bunch: Obviously, the Bible. And I wouldn’t have reread 13 books if I didn’t love them. The best new reads were Death by Living, Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, and Orthodoxy, all of which I hope to reread in the coming year or two.

For 2014, I’d like to increase the overall count, read a larger proportion of new-to-me titles (rereading all of Narnia kind of skewed things this year…not that I’m complaining), and read more on paper.

I’ve tidied up my “currently reading” list on Goodreads in preparation for the new year. I’ve got four in progress:

Collected Works, Flannery O’Connor — Been chipping away for a few years now, and will probably keep chipping away for another decade or so. I don’t mind the slow progress on this one as long as I’m honest about it.

God Is the Gospel, John Piper — Picked this back up after a long lull when I joined a brief book study that was going through it. Alas, I wasn’t able to attend half the study, but I’m still plugging away at the book.

Crying for Justice, John N. Day — Been working at this one off and on for a while. Want to finish it this year.

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs — Another one for a book study. I’ve already skipped a bunch of chapters when I couldn’t make the meetings, and I probably won’t go back, but I hope to go forward.

I’d also like to restart The Brothers Karamazov, but in a different translation than the one I abandoned last year. And I got Empire of Bones, Peace Like a River, and The Devil’s Dictionary for Christmas, so I plan to get to those, too.

Yay for books!

Turkey Chowder Recipe

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I found this on the Web several years ago. Sorry I don’t have the source any longer, but I do honor the creator in my heart!

Ingredients
4 slices of bacon
1 c chopped onion
4 c pared, cubed potatoes
2 c turkey broth
20 oz frozen corn, thawed
¼ c butter
2½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 c cooked cubed or shredded turkey
2 c milk
1 c heavy cream
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Instructions
In a 5-quart pot, sauté bacon till crispy. Remove and reserve. Sauté onion in bacon drippings till golden brown. Add potatoes and turkey broth. Bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for ~30 minutes or just until potatoes are tender, but not mushy.

In another saucepan, combine butter, salt, pepper, turkey, and milk. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add to potato mixture. Add corn and heavy cream. Cook, stirring occasionally, till hot, but do not boil. Turn into warm soup tureen. Crumble reserved bacon on top and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Notes

  • I start this recipe with the amount of turkey I have, and multiply from there.
  • I’ve never used fresh parsley; just added the dry stuff.
  • Freezes well. Just go ahead and mix in the bacon and parsley before freezing.

Obligatory Image Suitable for Pinning
Turkey Chowder Recipe

Death by Quoting…or Commonplaces by Living…or Something Like That

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Buncha quotes from Death by Living, by N. D. Wilson (with comments in italics and parentheses by me):

A critic told me recently that she remembered scenes from one of my newer adventure novels…not as scenes from a book, but more like personal memories from her own experiences….Fiction loves to thwart the filing systems of the mind. (And the mind loves to be thwarted.) (p.18)

…[A] life well lived is always lived on a rising scale of difficulty….But the promotions come regardless of whether or not we’ve actually improved. If you are bad at being two, you will be bad at being four. If you’re bad at being four, you will be bad at being six. (pp. 42, 43) (I’m pretty sure I was bad at being two, so it’s pretty much been a disaster ever since.)

Only two men and one woman have ever lost more than Job.
Adam. Eve. Adam II. (p. 69)

Man is born to trouble. Man is born for trouble. Man is born to battle trouble. Man is born for the fight, to be forged and molded—under torch and hammer and chisel—into a sharper, finer, stronger image of God. (p. 69) (This is the quote I read before I read the book and have had taped to my bathroom mirror for several months. It’s still the money quote for me. A part of me has spent my life demanding, contrary to every shred of both theoretical and empirical data, that life be easy. I need this reminder that trouble is normal. It’s not a bug; it’s a feature. I think I would be happy with a steady stream of trouble-free From Trampoline to Tea Party stories [see p. 82], despite the fact that they’d be lousy stories. I just read this before starting this post, which nails my problem, cowardice, and shows it for the Hellworthy thing it is. But sin is one of those troubles we’re born to, resisting it is one of the fights we’re born to. Bring on the torch and hammer and chisel, Author, and get this image in better shape.)

Living is the same thing as dying. Living well is the same thing as dying for others. (p. 84) (That’s the book in a nutshell.)

Some people are given more on this earth and some are given less. Some people spend their days in pain with bodies that keep the yearning front and center, that keep loss always in the mind’s eye. Widows. Orphans. The sick. The damaged (by birth or man). Know this: God has special promises for you, and He loves bringing triumphant resolutions to those who have tasted the deepest sorrows. And this: Gratitude is liberation….See the gifts. And if they seem sparse, start counting. (pp. 109-110) (Did you catch this one—”Gratitude is liberation”? Here, let me put it another way: GRATITUDE IS LIBERATION. It’s the antidote for the cowardice, I’m pretty sure, though I haven’t worked it all out yet.)

Burden your moments with thankfulness. (p. 117)

We are authors and we are writing every second of every day….What you say and what you do in response will be done forever, never to be appealed, edited, or modified.
….
Of course, we try to edit. We dump lies and likes of white-out behind us. We are always explaining and attempting to recast our actions in “better light.” (pp. 164-165)

[Living] means failing and knowing that, somehow, all of our messes will still contribute, that the creative God has merely given Himself a greater challenge—drawing glory from our clumsy botching of the past. (p. 166)

Things That Make Me Cringe

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I haven’t seen anyone do this in a while, and I can’t remember who was the last person I saw do it, so this isn’t an individual attack, it’s just a hopeful attempt to get folks to think about what they’re doing.

Please stop posting photos of your kids on the potty.

There. I said it. Now I’m going to open my umbrella to protect myself from all of the rotten fruit that’s going to be thrown at me in a minute.

Moms, could you maybe think of this as a Golden Rule thing? Would you want pics of yourself on the toilet posted in a public place?

“But she’s so cute!” “But I’m so proud of him!” She is, in fact, adorable. He has, in fact, accomplished the greatest feat of his young life. But not every cute moment, not every proud moment, needs photo documentation to be shared with the world. Using the toilet should not be a public act.

“But you can’t see anything!” OK, but I could probably take a photo of you on the toilet not showing anything, and it still wouldn’t be respectful.

I don’t get tired of seeing pics of my friends’ kids. I’m not one to complain that you post too many. Just…not this, please. I get embarrassed for your kids every time. They’re not in a position to know enough to say no, so when it comes to potty pics, please say no for them.

The Fear of the Lord

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“But what is this fear of the Lord? It is that affectionate reverence, by which the child of God binds himself humbly and carefully to his Father’s law. His wrath is so bitter, and his love so sweet; that hence springs an earnest desire to please him, and–because of the danger of coming short from his own weaknesses and temptations–a holy watchfulness and fear, ‘that he might not sin against him’ (Hebrews 12:28-29). This enters into every exercise of the mind, every object of life. ([Proverbs] Chapter 23.17). The oldest proficient in the Divine school seeks a more complete moulding into its spirit. The godly parent trains up his family under its influence (Genesis 17:19, Ephesians 6:4). The Christ scholar honors it as the beginning, the head, of all his knowledge; at once sanctifying its end, and preserving him from its most subtle temptations.

“Why then do multitudes around us despise wisdom and instruction? Because the beginning of wisdom–“the fear of the God–is not before their eyes” (Psalm 36:1). They know not its value. They scorn its obligation. Wise they may be in their own sight. But surely God here gives them their right name. For fools they must be to despise such a blessing (Jeremiah 8:9); to rush into willful ruin (verses 22, 24-32). Comp. I Samuel 2:25, I Kings 12:13, Jeremiah 36:22-32); to treasure up work for despairing repentance (Chap. 5:12, 13; 29:1).

“Good Lord! May thy childlike fear be my wisdom, my security, my happiness!

~Charles Bridges, Commentary on Proverbs

I was going through some papers and came across this quote I’d printed out a few years ago. I wanted to post it here so I could toss the paper. I think it’s a good description of what it means to fear God, but I still don’t understand it, at least not very deeply. Having not had a good picture of God’s fatherhood in my father, I don’t have a heart-deep understanding of God’s fatherhood, and therefore definitions based on His fatherhood, accurate though they may be, don’t really give me enough to go on. There’s a sort of fear that perfect love casts out (1 John 4:18), and that fear I know all too well (the casting out of it, less so). But an understanding of the good kind of fear continues to elude me. And I’m sure that, as a sad result, proficiency in the actual practice of such fear continues to elude me. So it’s one of those topics I come back to now and again to poke and prod, to ponder and pray, in hopes that I’ll someday have an Aha! moment that makes it come clear.

Joy Doodle #18

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So I’m at the point where I’ve done as many of these in the past three and a half weeks as I did the first six and a half months of the year. I’m sure I’ll get off the kick soon enough, and won’t even average out to my originally intended pace of one per week for the year, but maybe I’ll achieve my secondary goal of filling a large (2' x 3') picture frame with them…not to mention having a bit of joyful fun along the way. I also had visions of moving on to other media at some point, which may or may not happen, but in the meantime I’ll stick with the somewhat pretentious notation underneath each one I post. If it makes you laugh, all the better!

Joy Doodle 018 sm
(Ink on index card)