Friday, June 15, 2018

NOT ALONE and WORDS WANTED - book review

A few weeks ago I stopped at a church yard sale being held in a fellowship hall.  (This spring has been very sparse for yard sales - just not enough energy to go to a lot of them - but this one I did go in to.)  The pastor was manning a table that included all the books from the dismantlement of their church library.  I picked up, along with a number of other books, the small missionary biography titled Not Alone, by Eunice V. Pike, and finally had opportunity to read it now that summer is here.

Eunice Pike and her translation partner Florrie were the first single female missionaries sent out by Wycliffe Bible Translators in the 1940s.  Their job was to reduce to writing the language of the Mazatec Indians of southern Mexico.  Then they taught reading to the people, and used their linguistic skills to translate the New Testament (and some Old Testament passages) into the Mazatec language.  A formidable task for anyone!  The first book mentioned the sequel, Words Wanted, which I then picked up off of eBay.  It is similar in writing style and events to the first one, just in a slightly later time period.  Eunice's partner had married (though she still worked on the translation with her husband) and Eunice had several other ladies as her partner in this great work.

This author has a good narrative writing style.  She tells the stories as they occurred, of the people of the tribe who saw them as curiosities, but also came to love them as women who cared deeply about the people for whom they were devoting their lives.

Progress was slow but constant.  They learned that singing was one of their best tools, and they often either translated or wrote Gospel songs to help the people.  They had to learn to handle social situations with spiritual implications, such as - How should they respond when their landlord took a second wife?

These books are long out of print (they were published by Moody Press in the 1960s about events that occurred in the 1940s) but should not be.  They are part of a spiritual legacy of Bible translation and missionary work that exists down through the ages.

Here, from the end of Words Wanted, is a lengthy example of the inspiration of these books:

"We could see the progress out easily when we looked at Rafael and Celia.  They had begun gathering their children around them every evening while he read a bit from the Bible, then she prayed in Spanish, and he in Mazatec.

"I went calling on them twice a week, and in order to encourage them to further Bible study I would say, 'Show me something pretty.'  They could usually do it.  One time they turned to the portion on the resurrection, and another time to Ephesians 5.  He liked verse 28 especially well.  'So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.  He that liveth his wife liveth himself.'  His comment was, 'The men who beat their wives ought to hear that.'

"He stood up and stretched out one arm.  With the other hand he pointed to it and asked, 'Would a man beat his own arm?' Celia and I shook our heads.  'Then why should he beat his wife?'  Celia became busy with her apron--I suspect she had been beaten in the past.  Raphael sat down again and with a chuckle of approval said, 'This Book tells about everything.'

"Rafael was working long hard days with the coffee harvest, but he read the Scriptures just the same. Celia said of him, 'He gets tired working, then he prays and that rests him.'

"Usually only Celia was at home when I went calling, but if I did happen to go when Rafael was there, he could not keep silent.  He was bursting to tell about his conversation with this man, and with that one.  At such times I would just sit and listen.  Talking with one man he had said, 'How do I know that this Book is true?  I will tell you how.  It says that when we believe in Jesus Christ that He will clean us up.  I know He has because I do not have the same thoughts that I did before.  I am not the same as I used to be.'

"Rafael had a big oven in the back of his yard, and once a week he would make bread for sale.  When someone came to buy, Celia would slip up behind Rafael and say, 'Tell him what you just read.'  Or she would be more specific, 'Tell him about the man who took a piece of wood and cooked his bread with one-half and worshiped the other.'  So Rafael told his customer about Isaiah 44:15-17, and he made his lesson more graphic with, 'Pinch it and see if it will holler.  Why worship something that cannot even holler when you pinch it?'

"I do not know how many people he talked to, but one day after I had walked through the village market with his oldest daughter she said to me, 'Did you notice that man standing near the boy who was selling bananas?'  I had not noticed but she went on anyway.  'He is very much interested in the Word of God.'  He had been calling at the house to read with Rafael.  I wished she had told me when we were there; I would have been thrilled to see anyone who had been taught things in the Bible by another Mazatec."

Friday's Fave Five, 6-15-18

LINK to Friday's Fave Five Host Blog

1.  As I type, I can hear the wonderful sound outdoors of the man who is pressure cleaning our driveway, sidewalk, and porch.  I've been wanting to get this done for a long time.  It is a great sound!!

2. We've been using the porch a lot this week.  It's the perfect place for early morning reading.  So glad we got it cleaned up so that it is usable again.

3. Yesterday I got some needed items at a bookstore in a nearby town, and then we went to eat at Mike's favorite place.  Afterward, he asked if I wanted dessert.  Well, we were near the Cheesecake Factory that opened a year or two ago - we have never been, so I suggested going there.  Wow.  Two pieces of cheesecake there are one too many.  Sorry that this shows the desserts half-eaten - I should have taken the pic before starting in.  However - they were delicious.   Mike had red velvet, and I had caramel turtle fudge.  Those were two of about 30 choices!!  I see why the Cheesecake Factory is such a phenomenon.
4. Mike has been teaching a four-week course at our church on Spiritual Warfare.  He studied very, very hard for each Wednesday night session, and he really did a good job.  This Wednesday was the final class.  It was a great experience, but I think he's glad it's done.  He puts a lot of pressure on himself to do a good job.  I was proud of him!

5. Finally - a bird shot from this week.  Prairie Warbler, singing on a limb on a rural road near our home.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Insanity of God - a Book Review

This is the story of a missionary to one of the most dangerous places on earth - Somalia - who is plunged into the depths of despair, and wonders if ministry in places such as that is even worth it.

Nik and his wife Ruth attempted to work with Somali Christians to provide material relief and spiritual encouragement.  Most of the Christians they knew died when their faith was found out.  The Ripkens could not live in Somalia - too dangerous - but they lived in nearby Kenya and Nik made trips in and out as Ruth manned the supply lines from Nairobi.  Life in Somalia was brutal.  Little food or medical care existed anywhere in the country.  Rival war lords each ruled their own turf.  The country was in anarchy, but the Ripkens did what they could.   Then tragedy struck them personally.

The first half of the book includes the above narrative.  The second half is filled with stories from where Nik traveled the world -- Russia, Ukraine, China, and more -- and interviewed Christians who have undergone great persecution.  He discovered from their stories that persecution is what purifies the church.  The people who had undergone the most were the ones who had the greatest glory in their salvation.  All of this provided healing for the tragedy they had undergone.

Nik struck me as being a big of a missionary renegade, but also one who was truly searching for the meaning of persecution and troubles for Christians.  It was a good read and worth it for one who is pondering the meaning of persecution for those who are saved.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Friday's Fave Five, 6-8-18

LINK to Friday's Fave Five Host Blog

1. Forgot this last week.  Mike was able to select a retirement gift from his job - he had about 20 choices.  We very much needed the knives, and they came in a set with something I've wanted for years--a Kitchen Aid mixer!  I have not used it yet, but will soon.  I feel kinda bad, his choosing a retirement gift that was something I want - but don't feel so bad as not to use it.  :-)

2. And this is a clean porch.  We have a lot of trouble every spring with pine pollen, which blows in through the screens for several weeks, and has been so bad the past few years that we can't even use the porch much in the spring.  Today we took all the furniture outside, hosed it and the cushions off, and swept and hosed down the porch floor.  We will really enjoy it now that it is cleaned out.

3. I had lost a set of sheets - my favorite ones.  They are dark red and are very comfortable, but I could not find them anywhere.  (Confession:  I blamed one of my kids, thinking the sheets had maybe "walked out the door" without my knowledge.) :-)  Well, during an extensive clean-out of the linen closet, I discovered them at the back of a shelf, not the one that sheets are kept on.  I just now put them on the bed for the first time in several years.  Nice to have found them.

4. Baseball--baseball--baseball.  We love college baseball, and this is the weekend of the Super Regionals.  This weekend, and for the next couple of weeks of the College World Series, we will have the opportunity to get a glut of it.  

5. I love to watch and photograph birds, and got this shot this week.  An indigo bunting against the leaves.  It takes about a hundred bad shots to get a good one, but it is very nice to get that nice one once in awhile.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Friday's Fave Five 6-1-18

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

I'm so glad to be able to post on Friday's Fave Five again after such a long absence due to log-in issues.

1. This was actually finished a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't get a picture of it until yesterday.  I made it using a crochet stitch that a dear friend, now in heaven, taught me how to use some thirty years ago.  I love the variety of the variegated yarn. 

2. New sheets.  You can see the pillowcases in the picture above.  They're Cannon brand - I got them on eBay for considerably less $$ than lesser thread count Cannon sheets in a store.  I am a sucker for new sheets and new kitchen towels.

3. Closets cleaned out (at least the major ones) and a lot of stuff ready to go to the thrift store.  I was going to have a yard sale but decided against it.  Too much work.  :-)

4. Wendy's fifty-cent Frosties.  We enjoyed another one last night. Sure hope this special doesn't last too long - this could become an addiction.
Image result for wendy's frosty

5. It's been a week out of school, and I still have that feeling of relief several times each day.  I love what I do - but the end of the year, especially this year, is still very welcomed.  I'm sleeping more each night and napping each day.  Getting rested up!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Prairie Fires

Warning:  Do not read this book if you expect to be lulled to sleep with sweet stories of an idyllic life on the prairie.  That is not to say it is a book full of gratuitous or shocking details.  It is, however, an honest portrait of what the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder was really like.

Think about Pa.  He could never stay in one place for long. (The stops in Wisconsin, Plum Creek, Silver Lake, and Kansas, detailed in the famous books, only represent about half the places where the Ingalls family lived.)  Usually men who have difficulty putting down roots have a reason for that.  And one of the reasons Pa moved so often was that he was usually one step ahead of debt problems.  When Caroline finally said "Enough! she truly had had enough, and refused to follow Pa's wandering foot anywhere else.

That's just one example of the information in this well-researched biography by Caroline Fraser, winner of a 2018 Pulitzer Prize, information given here.

Since many reviews giving details are available about this book, I will only give my reaction as a reader:  I loved reading it.  I loved learning more about my favorite childhood author and her life, finding out many new details not available in the other books about Wilder.  And though the book is realistic, not glossing over the grittier details, at the same time it does not dash the reader's views of the Little House books entirely.

As one who greatly appreciates a well-researched and well-presented biography, I highly recommend Prairie Fires to anyone who enjoys reading about Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Friday's Fave Five, 5/26/18 - a day late~~

LINK to Friday's Fave Five

Big shock - Blogger let me on this morning!!  It has been three months since something happened, I don't know what, and I could not log on.  I have opened a WordPress account but had no time to learn how to use it.  But if I can continue to use Blogger, I prefer it.  So - even though this is a day late, here is a Friday's Fave Five!!

1. School is over.  Finished.  Done.  I have never been as tired at the end of the school year as this year - a combination of having major surgery during the year, having to add a sixth class due to the loss of a teacher, and extra activities at the end of the year.  It may take me a few days this year to get energy back.  But school is done!!

2. Because of barely making it to the finish line, I have had neither the time nor the energy to make strawberry jam this spring, and berries are about over here in the southeast.  But my mother bought, hulled, mashed, measured out, and froze the exact amounts for me to make three batches now that the school year is done.  I appreciate that so much.  My family thinks the world has come to an end if I don't have strawberry jam in the freezer; plus, it makes great small gifts.  So now all are happy.  

3. Mike is doing much better.  Two weeks ago he caught a bad cold; he was improving daily when he got very sick, very fast.  Fever (unheard of for him), wheezing, crackles, short of breath even without exertion.  I took him to the urgent care that night, where the doctor called it a bad bronchitis.  Based on his symptoms, and the fact that these things may not show up on x-ray right away, another doctor said it was pneumonia.  Either way, he was very sick, and it's great to see him up and around.  His shoulder is also improving greatly.

4. A new tropical bird.  We went to see a rare bird reported in the area that usually doesn't make its way further than Miami, Florida.  It was exactly in the location reported, and we got to see it.

5. Yesterday Mike had a doctor's appointment in Greenville, and we ate lunch at a new restaurant for us, Tupelo Honey.  It's called upscale southern cuisine.  Very good and a very nice lunch.
It's nice to be back!!

Makes No Sense

Well, I'm up early and doing some computer browsing.  I randomly decided to try to sign in to Blogger, which has told me for months that I am unable to sign in and need to get an administrator's assistance.  And it let me right in!!  Who knows what the problem is/was.  Anyway, if I can continue to get on here, I will continue using Blogger instead of going to WordPress, which so far does not seem nearly as user friendly as Blogger.  Either way - I hope to do more blogging this summer.

Saturday, February 24, 2018


I am having problems with logging into Blogger.  Therefore, I am in the process of starting a new blog on a new platform. It's time for a change anyway.  So--since I can only post on here from my phone or very old iPad, this will be the last post here except for one: the URL of the new blog (when it gets set up). Thank you!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Friday's Fave Five, 12/29/17

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog - Susanne's Space

1. A quiet Christmas - both children were with their spouses in their respective homes, so Mike and I had an enjoyable meal with my folks and my sister.  

2. In the morning, we went to one of our favorite bird haunts, which have been very quiet for the past few weeks.  However, I got several good pictures on that trip:

Eastern phoebe - a common bird even at our house, but not easy to get a picture of.
Immature red-shouldered hawk.  Immatures are difficult to identify, but this is what someone on a bird forum told me.  I'll take his word for it.  :-) 
Cropped photo of a male belted kingfisher. 
 I dub the above picture, the pic of the day.  Someone wrote on a bird forum that a kingfisher sounds like "a playing card clipped to bicycle spokes."  Great descriptive phrase.

3. Daughter gave us a duck-stamp jigsaw puzzle for Christmas.  It's all metallic browns and golds, which is not easy on our OLD eyes.  But we've had fun putting it together this week.  Mike says we will frame it.  :-)

4. Recent work:

One scarf on the left is mine; one I gave to my sister; the hat is in the "not sure yet" pile.  The scarf in the right hand picture went to my daughter in law.

5. Two whole weeks of rest.  I've needed it.  The recuperation from this surgery takes longer than re-entry into society.  I have really enjoyed this break.