Monday, December 29, 2014

Powerful Spiritual Themes in Chronicles of Narnia

My parents read aloud to us on a regular basis as I was growing up. Whenever we had a quiet evening at home, Mom or Dad would read aloud to us - they were both very good readers.  They read a wide variety of heart nourishing books to us.  The Chronicles of Narnia stand out as favorites.  I have shied away from this wonderful series of book for some years because of the magic content.  But picking it up and reading it aloud again to my children, I am realizing we have been missing a wonderful treasure trove of spiritual insight woven into powerful story form.  The deceitfulness of sin and the traitorous nature of our sinful independence and rebellion, the wonder and adequacy of Christ's sacrifice, redemption, and our relationship with Christ - his omnipotence touching us gently, all these are beautifully pictured in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.  This is the first book as they were originally written and I am reading them in the order that they were originally presented, as that's how we read them when I was a child.  We're currently reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader which has a powerful picture of the pervasiveness of sin and self, how it separates us from those we would love and how impossible it is for us to free ourselves from it. Then this beautiful, moving, allegory presents the power of Christ to liberate and change us!  The writing is elementary, not complicated and wordy like Dickens, but the meanings and experiences are powerful and transforming.  We're all enjoying these books immensely, each taking away what we can on our own level.  I highly recommend it! 

 We found Prince Caspian on CD so I was able to knit while we listened. The version we listened to was read by Lynn Redgrave, who has a wonderful way of using appropriate voices for each character. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I had a mother who read to me...

I have wonderful memories of my  mother reading to my sisters and me!  We explored marvelous lands and ideas together through the written word!  We were talking about this the other day and Mom quoted the line, "I had a mother who read to me," but she couldn't remember where it was from.  We looked it up online and found this inspiring poem by Strickland Gillilan:

The Reading Mother

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea.
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth;
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness lent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be --
I had a Mother who read to me.

It has seemed just natural for me to read aloud to my children since my parents read almost nightly to my sisters and me!  I treasure the gift and feel privileged to pass it on.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Christmas Stories of George MacDonald

When I saw this book displayed at our local library I knew I wanted to check it out!  George MacDonald was my Dad's favorite author and he has become a favorite of mine, too.  We read the first story last night and I wasn't disappointed!  The  paintings are lovely and the stories are moving and powerfully told.  

Shakespeare His Work & His World

We just finished reading Shakespeare His Work & His World by Michael Rosen and Illustrated by Robert Ingpen.
If you are looking for an introduction to Shakespeare, the world in which he lived and wrote, and his plays I recommend this book. The text is interesting and well-written and the artwork is really exceptional. We read it slowly, just once a week over five or six weeks. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Christmas Carol

book-cover-largeThis version of 
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens as recorded on Librivox is done by an excellent reader.  We are enjoying it very much.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Reading

Last night we finished The Best Christmas Pagent Ever.  By Barbara Robinson.  It's a wonderfully humorous story of a family of unchurched children who are exposed to the real story of Christmas for the first time as they decide to be part of the local church Christmas Pageant.  

I just started a knitting project that I need to get done by the weekend so I decided to look for our next Christmas story online. Librivox has many wonderful short stories for Christmas.  We listened to O'Henry's The Gift of the Magi and "The Little Match Girl" by Hans Christian Andersen and several others, two of which were new to me, but fun stories.  They have quite a few collections to choose from.  Search for old familiar stories or browse for new ones. We hope to listen to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol later this week.  My sister and niece were in a musical presentation of "The Gospel According to Scrooge" a couple years ago and we were able to purchase a video of that presentation.  It is very well done and it has become a tradition to watch it as a family during December.  It was filmed and edited by DTV20 in Sauk Centre, Minnesota and you may still be able to purchase a copy by contacting them at 1-320-351-7288 or

What stories do you enjoy during the holiday season?