Archive for December, 2011

Do You Remember That First Book?

December 21, 2011

I love books. I love how they feel and smell. I enjoy holding a book in my hands and flipping pages with my fingers. I love knowing that a book I checked out from the local library was shared by another.



As a child I never imagined that there would be the invention of a handheld device that would make reading a current magazine article possible, let alone paying for a book to be downloaded onto an electronic reader. But then along came the e-reader and Sony, Android, Nook and Kindle. 

Last year I purchased the Amazon Kindle for my husband for Christmas. I thought it would be a phase. But I was wrong. Kindle goes everywhere he does including into the bathroom.

For twelve months he has cajoled and begged me to spend some time with Kindle. I resisted until last night. It took a brilliant little short story by Dr. Joseph Bottum, essayist, poet, and religious scholar to tempt me. And engage me he did with “Dakota Christmas” that my husband was able to download for me for under a dollar.

Book reviewer Wendy Smith wrote this of “Dakota Christmas” 

A memoir of childhood Christmases on the South Dakota plains. Joseph Bottum’s “Dakota Christmas” is an instant Christmas classic. In this beautifully written account of the mad joys and wild emotions of Christmas for children, Bottum captures the universal spirit of the season even while he recounts his memories with a sharp particularity that brings them alive for readers. “Her hair was the same thin shade of gray  as the weather-beaten pickets of the fence around her frozen garden,” he writes of one chance Christmas encounter. “She had a way with horses, and she was alone on Christmas Eve. There is little in my life I regret as much as that I would not stay for just one cookie, just one cup of tea.”                   


While I enjoyed the short story, nothing can replace a book that you can curl up with next to the fire.


Preserving a Memory

December 16, 2011

They surely don’t remember. But mothers do.

There is a photograph in an album somewhere. I can see it so clearly as if I am holding it in my hand. My son, bright, wide eyes and an enormous smile, as he looked up at the largest living animal on the planet. At the age of two he’d flown on a plane, but he could not imagine the grandeur of that experience. However, coming “face to face” with the elephant and waiting in line for our very first ride was an exhilarating moment in time.

I remember that day as if it happened yesterday.

The Santa Ana Zoo, the place you made that very first trip a quarter of a century ago, will no longer offer elephant rides to visitors. Thousands of people enjoyed the rides each year and in the twenty-five years of offering rides at the Zoo there was never a single safety incident involving the elephant rides.

However, we cannot be too safe or adhere to too many rules. There has been a recent safety policy change by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that our little Santa Ana Zoo must adhere to in order to remain accredited.

Hold on to your memories, son, they’re all that’s left you… That and the children’s book you loved so well, Babar! Hold on.

Oh Leave Me Alone with a Book to Call Home…

December 15, 2011

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Enter winter. Long days, longer nights. Christmas awaits. A tree illuminates with memories. Surround me with the comfort of books and the warmth of words.

Tree, Mill, Book

December 14, 2011


I love traveling by internet, meeting new people and being exposed to uses for objects that make my heart skip a beat. Recently a midwestern modern-day bohemian woman who happens to be a writer  introduced me to an artistic approach to displaying books. This delightful tree shaped bookshelf by designer Shawn Soh named “The Tree Bookshelf”, sets up several loving tree branches for kids and adults to stack up their most treasured literature. A wonderful design that recalls nature and cultivates a love for reading! Further investigation into this functional and funky product  suggests that it forgoes the use of wood for a more eco-friendly option, steel, which boasts durability and can be recycled! Imagine yourself plucking a book from the shelf and resting beneath the branch. Quite clever. 

A World for the Written Word

December 13, 2011

Image       In my imagination, this room is my refuge. Filled with light, shapes and colors, the space integrates functionality with nature and offers a place where comfort and creativity collide.

At least There is Hope for a Tree. How About Me?

December 9, 2011

You have been taken down.

You are broken.

Burdened by overwhelming sin; hope is last.

A heart filled with forgiveness withheld darkens your days.

Ponder the forest. What happens when a tree is cut down?  Can you expect them to grow again?

The answer may be as mysterious as answering the question: when can I expect God to come into my life and give me the answer I want to a prayer? Yes, Some trees grow a new branch or stem. But many can’t.  Others never grow as well as they had, even with a mass of old roots to feed them. Many trees need those leaves or needles to live, to complete their cycle and it’s just too much for them to push out new growth. Often they will have some new growth which gives out in a few years. You have seen it before. Some trees sprout lots of little trees all around their trunk like a halo and do okay that way. It really depends on a miracle and on the type of tree.  According to Job 14:7, “At least there is hope for a tree. If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail.”


With Every Christmas Card I Write

December 4, 2011

Pandora is pounding out Christmas tunes, the computer database is open, cards are sprawled across the workspace and with pen in hand I address the envelopes that will soon be filled with sentiments of love and Christmas wishes. 

Writing Christmas cards is a time of reflection and connection, something I do each year as the fire dances all around and music surrounds me. 

With each card I write, I draw closer to a friend or loved one in hopes of keeping that special relationship alive and well amidst all the noise and distractions that come between us. 

It all begins with that moment.