letter to a stone

Dearest stone,

How are you? It must be pleasant,
resting all day, being loved
by the warmth of the sun
and cooled by the rays of the moon.

Or do you tire of being trod upon
by careless feet, cursed at
when toes smash into your
smooth, hard side? Does it hurt?

When you feel like no more than
compacted dust, take solace
in the refuge you provide
for sow bugs and centipedes

and know that when I venture out
on smiling mornings
my toes will caress--not curse--
your warm, unyielding side.



Holy Yoga: Exercise for the Christian Body and Soul

by Brooke Boon

From the back cover
According to the dictionary, for something to be holy, it must be "dedicated or devoted to the service or worship of God, the church, or religion." And that's exactly what this style of yoga is, says instructor and founder Brooke Boon. It's not the yoga that relies on Hindu spirituality or teaches some form of oneness with the universe. This is Holy Yoga, and it's specifically for Christians.

What Brooke teaches through this inspiring and informative book is a profound physical worship of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, though prayer, breath work, and movement. Line drawings of the different poses make learning easy, and a fifty-minute DVD leads readers through an entire yoga routine.

My rating

My review
To answer my earlier question, yes, this book is a tad cheesy. I mostly skimmed the first 74 pages, which were written in a very modern I-want-to-be-your-best-friend voice, but would probably be very informative for someone who does not know why one should do yoga or how it can be a Christian practice.

However, the last half of the book turned out to be a wonderful resource, and the DVD provides several different easy-to-follow yoga routines. I especially appreciated the chapters on breathing and meditation, and the illustrated step-by-step descriptions of postures. The very last chapter contains a few routines that are different from the ones on the DVD and that vary in type and difficulty.

I highly recommend this book for beginners and novices of yoga.

Holy Yoga: Exercise. for the Christian Body and Soul


dragons in Job?

A ridiculous idea? Perhaps. But humor me a moment and entertain this thought that was introduced (offhandedly mentioned, more like) in the sermon at church yesterday. For the full effect, you may want to look up Job 41, but I have pulled bits of it together below (NIV):

"Can you pull in the leviathan with a fishhook
or tie down his tongue with a rope?...
If you lay a hand on him,
you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
Any hope of subduing him is false;
the mere sight of him is overpowering.
No one is fierce enough to rouse him.
Who then is able to stand against me?...

I will not fail to speak of his limbs,
his strength and his graceful form...
Who dares open the doors of his mouth,
ringed about with his fearsome teeth?
His back has rows of shields
tightly sealed together;
each is so close to the next
that no air can pass between...
His snorting throws out flashes of light;
his eyes are like the rays of dawn.
Firebrands stream from his mouth;
sparks of fire shoot out.
Smoke pours from his nostrils
as from a boiling pot over a fire of reeds.
His breath sets coals ablaze,
and flames dart from his mouth...
His chest is hard as rock,
hard as a lower millstone.
When he rises up, the might are terrified;
they retreat before his thrashing.
The sword that reaches him has no effect...
Iron he treats like straw
and bronze like rotten wood...
A club seems to him but a piece of straw,
he laughs at the rattling of the lance...
Nothing on earth is his equal--
a creature without fear.
He looks down on all that are haughty;
he is king over all that are proud."


Cyndere's Midnight (The Auralia Thread #2)

by Jeffrey Overstreet

From the back cover
When a murderous Beastman discovers the art of Auralia's colors, something awakens within him. When a widowed heiress risks everything to help him, their lives--and the lives of a kingdom--hang in the balance.

Jordam is one of four ferocious brothers from the clan of cursed Beastmen. But he is unique: The glory of Auralia's colors has enchanted him, awakening a noble conscience that clashes with his vicious appetites.

Cyndere, heiress to a great ruling house, and her husband, Deuneroi, share a dream of helping the Beastmen. But when Deuneroi is killed by the very people he sought to help, Cyndere risks her life and reputation to reach out to Jordam.

My rating

My review
This is such a beautiful novel. Jeffery Overstreet tells a riveting tale woven with themes of healing, forgiveness, and friendship. And yet he does not take the easy route of plainly preaching his message or smothering it in obvious, cheesy scenes. He has built a complex world full of mystery and depth, where friendship begins with guarded trust and follows a narrow, winding path that sometimes doubles back upon itself.

There are some violent scenes, but I believe they were necessary to show from all angles what it means to truly love your enemy--and I do not lightly validate violence. It's not a violence for violence's sake, but a documenting of events. Excuse my cliché, but all roses have thorns. This fantasy is more realistic than many novels I've read written in our own world.

My favorite character from Auralia's Colors--the ale boy--makes many appearances in this second book, as do several other familiar faces. He remains one of my favorites in this series, and while still not revealing his given name, receives yet another title in the course of this story. I look forward to the book that will tell his tale.

Cyndere's Midnight (The Auralia Thread, #2)


book haul!

I was at the beach for a retreat this weekend, and there just happened to be a rummage sale at a church just down the block. And they were selling books for $2 a bag. How could I pass that up?

A book about climate change, birds, and the consequences of atomic bomb testing, written by a poet. I snatched it up.

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
I've read this already, yes, but I did not own it. I love love love this book.

Traveling Light by Andrea Thalasinos
The main character unexpectedly adopts a dog and, equally unexpectedly, takes a job at a wildlife rehabilitation center en route to Canada.

My husband laughed when he saw this book in my pile. I'm very much interested in yoga, and this super-cheap book comes with a DVD. I'll let you know if it's better than it's cheesy cover.

I Am The Great Horse by Katherine Roberts
A young adult novel about Alexander the Great, written from the perspective of his horse. A historical novel about a horse? Count me in.


and the winner is...

Carly C.

Congratulations! I hope you enjoy Dragon's Curse as much as I did!

Thank you to all who participated--it's kind of hard to have a giveaway when there's no one to give away to! :)


a spring-time stroll

In spring the Mayapples,
glistening with rain just past,
protect their delicate flowers from
cleansing storms and
hold their own against
the garlic mustard
threatening to overtake the forest floor
with serrated leaves
and four-petaled flowers

While little brown-capped mushrooms
push up through bark mulch
alongside violets and trillium
for their fair fae friends
to dance among

And suddenly,
a Jack-in-the Pulpit,
preaching a sermon to the woods
with its trinity clusters of leaves--
standing tall amidst
a choir of strawberries


The Cloister Walk

by Kathleen Norris

Summary from the back cover
Why would a married woman with a thoroughly Protestant background and often more doubt than faith be drawn to the ancient practice of monasticism, to a community of celibate men whose days are centered around a rigid schedule of prayer, work, and scripture? This is the question that poet Kathleen Norris asks us as, somewhat to her own surprise, she found herself on two extended residencies at St. John's Abbey in Minnesota. Part record of her time among the Benedictines, part meditation on various aspects of monastic life, The Cloister Walk demonstrates from the rare perspective of someone who is both an insider and outsider, how immersion in the cloistered world -- its liturgy, its ritual, its sense of community -- can impart meaning to everyday events and deepen our secular lives. In this stirring and lyrical work, the monastery, often considered archaic or otherworldly, becomes immediate, accessible, and relevant to us, no matter what our faith may be.

My rating

My review
I'm not sure quite what I expected when I picked up this book at the library, but it completely blew. me. away.

The Cloister Walk is almost a journal of sorts, with plenty of stream-of-consciousness and slice-of-life writing, but much more poetic than that. I don't like choppy books--those that read like a diary or are compiled of essays--but this was the most beautiful book I have ever read. It almost defies explanation (if you couldn't tell by the above nonsensical paragraph).

The chapters are organized in chronological fashion, beginning with "Dawn" and ending with "Night," sandwiching Christmas, Easter, and several saints' days in-between. These are all interspersed with reflections on everything from celibacy to habits (clothing). Some chapters are only two pages long, a brief jotting down of thoughts, while others are lengthy essays. I skipped only one that seemed unusually long-winded and boring; it was the exception to the rule.

Perhaps the reason I connected so well with this book is that Kathleen Norris is a poet, and she seems to see the world through the same distorted lens that I do (which is very rare indeed). It was so beautiful that I wanted to savor it, a feeling I've never had about a book before. I usually read ravenously, hungry for more. A Cloister Walk caused me to meditate and digest each chapter slowly, satisfied from beginning to end.

I recommend this book for
poets, writers, artists, dreamers, Protestants, Catholics... everyone. Go read this book.

The Cloister Walk

(Is this a cleaner/better format for book reviews? Too lengthy? Oddly organized? Let me know what you think!)


Dragon's Curse GIVEAWAY!

Get excited, folks! H.L. Burke has just released Dragon's Debt, book two in The Dragon and the Scholar Saga. I'm a bit biased, having copyedited the novel, but I can assure you that it's an exciting read, full of mysterious monsters, a splash of romance, and, well, dragons!

Haven't read book one yet? Enter below for a chance to win a free digital copy of Dragon's Curse! (Seriously. Enter. I gave this wonderful little gem a 5/5.)

Book Blurb for Dragon's Curse
On her first assignment out of the Academy, young healer and scholar, Shannon Macaulay is summoned to the struggling kingdom of Regone to see to the wounds of a young but crippled king. When the unwanted attentions of an aggressive knight and the sudden appearance of a hated dragon turn her world upside down, she decides to take matters into her own hands even if doing so proves dangerous.

Finding herself strangely drawn to the company of the dragon, Gnaw, Shannon must force herself out of her safe world of books and botany to come to the aid of her unexpected ally in a strange kingdom, cursed by a fateful encounter with a dragon and the loss of a beloved prince. Can she learn to put aside her fears, and perhaps sacrifice her deepest desires, to help a friend and restore a family?

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