An Elisabeth Elliot Smile

Posting Monday about the death of Elisabeth Elliot, I used a couple pictures of her … one was a familiar publicity photo and the other was a pen-and-ink sketch used on her website. In the World Magazine tribute noting Elliot’s death, they used the photo below. A follow-up post noted that some readers of World had expressed their dismay, wishing instead that the magazine had attached a more flattering picture, an image reflecting her youth and beauty.eliot

In response to its readers, World posted another photo of Elliot in her youth alongside the more current photo. World writer Mickey McLean titled his piece “Old and beautiful,” noting her “smile and twinkling blue eyes” reflected her “joy of living as a child of God.” I am in complete agreement! Continue reading “An Elisabeth Elliot Smile”

Exult In Monotony

Children (and grandchildren) are such great fun! When we’re at play with them, they have a way of wringing every possible measure of delight from whatever activity has captured their attention at the moment.children_at_play Push a child on a swing, push him or her high, high, and higher! You’re bound to hear the child squeal, “Again! Do it again!Ring around the rosy, all fall down and inevitably, the activity must be repeated. (They scramble quickly to their feet for another round.) It’s rare for any child to lose interest before the adult begs off from the tedium.

I’ve heard my young grandson tell me from time to time, “I’m bored.” This high-energy kid loves to be active and doing-doing-doing things non-stop. The idea of a child being bored amuses me. (I wonder if boredom is simply a modern invention.) What my grandson is really telling me … he needs direction. As I guide him to a new activity, he’s immediately distracted by it and moves forward quickly to entertain himself. Continue reading “Exult In Monotony”

Before Forever After

A recent television show, titled Forever, offered the intriguing tale of a man who experiences a kind of immortality. He’s a couple hundred years old and if he dies or is killed, he returns. The premise had promise but earlier this month, after just one season Forever was cancelled. (I suppose when it comes to episodic television, there’s no such thing as Forever … unless it’s Law & Order.)foreverFrom the moment we’re born, it seems we consider ourselves invincible. It’s in our nature to view the world through what I would call forever eyes. As I’ve noted before on this blog, C. S. Lewis explained it this way:  “… we were made for another world.” Because we were made for another world, our eyes want to envision forever, our fingertips ache to touch forever, our hearts long to connect with forever. Each of these impulses is innate.

Continue reading “Before Forever After”

What We Do For Love

In my family, there are several family history buffs. My cousin B. (and her husband) have gathered a storehouse of information on our forebears and I’m always amazed at their tenacity and stamina for the hunt. This couple has slogged through wastelands and cow pastures where cemeteries used to be located (and still are, but few know about them). A little mud (or cow dung) is trivial to this pair.ReimerPfundt

While B. and her husband have gathered family history information on the hoof, so to speak, my tendency is to shun the mud (or cow dung) and search for facts electronically. All the online resources that have become available over the last ten years are my gold mine. But guess which one of us has the better track record at snagging the real gold and gems?

One hint:  it’s rarely me.

Continue reading “What We Do For Love”

Winning On One’s Own Terms

An article in today’s The Guardian caught my attention. In an especially humanizing piece, author Ed Pilkington (in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the byline notes) offers a thoughtful presentation that Hillary Clinton’s Arkansas Friends reveal a woman wanting to win on her own terms.

Hillary 1
AP / Seth Wenig

As with the aforementioned post, my post also originates in Fayetteville, Arkansas. And I, not normally a Hillary-watcher, found Pilkington’s observations interesting. The piece is an effort to set into context Mrs. Clinton’s email debacle news conference (earlier this week). Contrasting her admissions of failure, er, stupidity, er, desire for privacy and convenience to the frustrations of her earlier years and a determination to do things her way, Pilkington unveils a canvas painted by those closest to her. Continue reading “Winning On One’s Own Terms”

A Tale of Elsa and Fred

In an earlier post, I referred to the film, The Sound of Music, which marks its fiftieth anniversary big screen release this month. Vanity Fair magazine‘s most recent issue notes the anniversary with an amusing interview of both Maria (Julie Andrews) and Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer). Having enjoyed friendship for these fifty years, the aging pair (she’s 79, he’s 85) reflect a genuine affection, exchanging what VF describes as the “well-worn patter of an old married couple.chris-maria

As someone who has watched the film multiple times, I found the VF feature enlightening. Never having delved any deeper into details about the film, I didn’t know Plummer’s antipathy for the film was so ingrained. Watching him on the screen in that film, I always assumed his general aloofness was the result of a director’s instructions for him to play the part that way. Reading the VF piece, I see now it was actually a reflection of Plummer’s overall distaste for the project! Continue reading “A Tale of Elsa and Fred”

A True Fan of Eternal Life

Wandering – virtually – around the worldwide web this week, I stumbled upon (or maybe the more accurate term would be tumblr-ed upon) a post dedicated to “fans of eternal life.” Certainly, the intriguing intro here compelled me to find out what this Eternal Life Fan Club was all about.

MtVernonPA
FROM: http://ivymcallister.hubpages.com/hub/WDED#

It should go without saying, I am a fan of eternal life! Just yesterday, I referred to a future reunion (in Eternity) that we anticipate having with many of our friends and loved ones. I’ve posted about my views on Eternity numerous times in this space. More than once, I’ve quoted the words of C. S. Lewis from his book The Weight of Glory:

“… if we are made for heaven, the desire for our proper place will be already in us, but not yet attached to the true object, and will even appear as the rival of that object.” 

Because I understand I’m made for heaven though tied to this mortal body, my desire and heart’s yearning is for that “proper place” to which I belong. But there’s a balance. I don’t fear death, but as long as life is in me, I will clutch Life joyfully and without apology. I think it’s accurate to say I’m a fan of both this life and the one to come.

Continue reading “A True Fan of Eternal Life”

The Curse of Super-Mommery

Adult children and the moms who love them … these relationships can be challenging, exasperating and beyond bewildering at times! Speaking as one who experiences life from both perspectives, I have come to understand no matter how old I am, I remain always my mother’s daughter. She does not know how to un-mother me just because I have attained adulthood.Mothers-and-daughters-are-closestOn the other hand, there are times when I’m inclined to mother my mother. As she gets older, she is ever more frail, so I tend to be solicitous – she hates that! She has this incredibly strong will that rejects offers of help, even when needed. For example, she has one of those Lifeline medical alerts (the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” people) but we had difficulty convincing her to actually wear it. (I think she may have believed wearing it was an admission of weakness.) Continue reading “The Curse of Super-Mommery”

Beauty and Deficiencies of Age

When the media were all abuzz earlier this month with the announcement of Harper Lee’s new novel, Go Set A Watchman (set for debut this July), I was intrigued. The first story I read was from The Guardian, explaining that this “new” novel was actually intended – alongside the earlier work To Kill A Mockingbird – to represent two-thirds of a trilogy, with a short connecting work between the two. Pictures posted with the article show a smiling but frail little woman, too small for the clothing she’s wearing.GuardianHarperLeeAnother article, this one from The Atlantic, sets a somewhat somber tone with the title Harper Lee: The Sadness of A Sequel. The Atlantic also goes with a more gritty picture of Lee (circa 1962) after Mockingbird had earned critical praise from multiple quarters, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961.

FROM:  http://tiny.cc/uqndux
FROM: http://tiny.cc/uqndux

Both articles mention the author’s frailty. Lee suffered a stroke in 2007 and is now 88 years old, struggling with blindness (due to macular degeneration), profound deafness as well as the indignities of short-term memory loss. A close friend characterized her memory (three years ago) as “completely shot.” The author currently lives in an assisted living facility where she’s confined to a wheelchair. Continue reading “Beauty and Deficiencies of Age”

New Wrinkle in Care Packaging

For as long as I can recall, sending a “CARE package” meant you were sending a parcel of food or supplies (toiletries, socks, lotion, shampoo, etc.) to needy people in distant lands, mostly during emergencies. Under the CARE trademark, this humanitarian organization was originally named Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe and adopted as its mission (in 1945) sending food relief to hungry Europeans following World War II.CARE-37Over time, the organization continued its core activity but revamped its name to the more encompassing Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere. Today, CARE is active in 87 countries and engages in fighting poverty and assisting during emergencies. Continue reading “New Wrinkle in Care Packaging”