Where have all the books gone?

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I never thought it would happen, but the day has come that I walked into the public library and could not find the book I was looking for.

My midterm project for school is to read a book from my personal collection and analyze it. I chose Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Since it was written in the mid 1800s, there are a few words that have different meanings now, therefore I wanted to look them up in the dictionary. In a class last week, it was revealed that the Oxford English Dictionary is the mother of all dictionaries. This is mainly due to the fact that it records word origins from some of their earliest usages. This was the dictionary I was needing to use.

This evening after work, I visited the public library just down the street. I went up to the counter and asked the librarian/assistant (I’m unsure what their positions were), where I could find the Reference section. One of them turned to look at me and began to say “We don’t a reference section,” before another worker spoke up and asked, “what exactly are you looking for?” I answered, “a dictionary.” After an odd look, the first worker referred me to the aisle at the far end of the library.

Upon arriving to that section, I try to locate any book that says “dictionary” on it. The selection was sparse. Not only was the entire section of non-technical reference books only about 4-feet long, but general reference materials were in sad supply. So sad, that there were only 2 dictionaries on the entire shelf. One was a dictionary/thesaurus, of which was thinner than most of the Bibles I own. The second (of which they actually had two copies), was also lacking in volume. Not too long ago, there used to be shelves upon shelves of reference materials. Shellllllllvvvvves

After looking up the word I was searching for in one of the two copies, and not discovering at all what I hoped to discover, I returned to the desk and asked if they happened to have any other dictionaries in the library, namely the Oxford English Dictionary. The library worker offered to look it up in the system and online. After determining the OED’s website is subscription-based, of which I had already mentioned, and they did not have a subscription to, she went to look in their database. As it turns out, there is not a single copy of the OED in their circulation, at any of the locations.

Thanking them as politely as I could, I walked out feeling rather dejected and disappointed, and more than a little bit ticked.

Mind you, I could visit the university’s library (and may very well have to now), as I know they have a copy, but that isn’t the point. The point is, a PUBLIC library, consisting of roughly ten to twelve locations does not have one of the most renowned dictionaries in the English language in its collection. Yes, a majority of society will look up word definitions on Google and be satisfied with the results. I would be doing the same thing, for a quick result. But when looking for the root meaning of a word, its etymology and origins, it isn’t quite that simple.

First take away the dictionaries, then what? I understand that we live in the digital age. I understand that kids these days (i.e. anyone less than 22 years old) have been raised on more screen time and less printed book time. That’s not the point.

My point is, don’t lose all respect or fail to recognize the value of an actual printed book. There is still something that physical books can offer, that open source Internet-based software cannot.

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May <3 List

Sadly, I haven’t been very active on here. I’m hoping to make a positive change by posting at least once a month. I will start by posting a list of things I’m loving on each month. Without further ado…May:

may-list

PLAYLIST

  1. You Make Me Feel So Young Michael Bublé
  2. To Love Somebody – Michael Bublé
  3. Close Your Eyes – Michael Bublé
  4. To Be Loved – Michael Bublé
  5. Young At Heart – Michael Bublé
  6. Let The RoadRixton
  7. Storyteller Morgan Harper Nichols (feat. Jamie Grace)
  8. Go Hard or Go Home Wiz Khalifa and Iggy Azalea
  9. They Can’t Take That Away From Me – Jimmy Dorsey
  10. Moonlight Serenade – Glenn Miller

Listen to playlist

Why?

I got myself Michael Bublé’s latest CD for my birthday last month. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an album of his that I haven’t enjoyed. This one didn’t disappoint. The five songs listed are the ones I continually put on repeat. I really cannot wait to see him in concert again.

Michael-Buble


I discovered Rixton on the Today show a couple months ago. They are very reminiscent of 98* (remember Nick Lachey and the rest of those guys?). Lovely a capella tones with just a bit of percussion mixed in for a perfect balance.

rixton   98_Degrees_-_Revelation_-_Front


Morgan Harper Nichols is a breakout artist that I heard on a local radio station a few weeks ago. The lyrics are amazing. And her voice… I can’t even describe how amazing it is. And no wonder I fell in love with it; Nichols is the older sister of Jamie Grace, who performs background vocals on the track. If you get a chance, watch the official music video; it’s pretty powerful. I won’t lie, it brings me to tears every time I watch it.


Go Hard or Go Home is a track from the Furious 7 movie. Not only is the movie spectacular, edge-of-your-seat action, but it is emotional as well, since this was Paul Walker’s final hurrah. They producers and co-stars did his legacy justice. This song, just epitomizes that beautiful relationship that was shared amongst Vin Diesel and Walker and their characters over the years. furious-7


Of course my list wouldn’t be complete without some Big Band. Jimmy Dorsey and Glenn Miller are two of the most notable big band directors of their day. Moonlight Serenade, all-time-favorite of that era. Plus it reminds me of Rose and Nine from Series 1 of Doctor Who, and the book I’ve been writing (rewriting) for the last few years. Rose and 9


COFFEE

Ethiopian…fruity, caramel-butterscotch, floral type of flavors.

In my Doctor Who mug.

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READING

I’m a multi-tasking reader, as you can see. I’ve got probably twice as many on my nightstand and coffee table, but these are my active reads.

homer  sparks  compass

Homer’s Odyssey is about a blind domestic cat who overcame physical challenges he faced during his life, from the time he was found on a street battered and worse-for-wear, to having to navigate through the many places he lived as a blind pet. It is written by the lady who rescued him, but ultimately, he rescued her. Heart-wrenchingly wonderful. I’m about half-way through it.

The People of Sparks is book two of The City of Ember series. I read the first book for my Children’s Literature class and absolutely loved it. It ended on a cliff-hanger, so I can’t just leave the rest of the series unread. I must know if they the city is able to be rescued from their life of darkness.

The Golden Compass was for my Children’s Lit class also, on the topic of censorship and controversial texts. It would never have been my first or second choice to read this, mainly because of the heretic controversy surrounding it. It is a book laden with concerning subject manner: violence against children, general violence (one fight scene at the end…oy vey!), not to mention the anti-religious message. After doing some research for a paper, it turns out the author is atheist, which makes sense why it was heavy on the anti-religion. As soon as I read the last page, my jaw had dropped open because I just couldn’t fathom the ending. Cliff-hanger, of course, as well. But it is part of a series, and I have to know if Lyra ever finds what she’s looking for. Merely for educational purposes. I would not recommend this for any child to read due to the violent nature of the story.


TELEVISION PLOT-LINE

The relationship between Sr. and Jr. DiNozzos on NCIS. If you’ve watched much of this season, you’ve gathered a shift in their relationship. Sr. DiNozzo so wants the approval and acceptance of his son, yet Tony is plagued by memories of his father’s past failures and disappointments as a parent. It’s been interesting to see a somewhat friendship unfold between Sr. and Gibbs, however, making the elder DiNozzo seem more human and vulnerable, causing Tony to see him in a different light. DiNozzos


OTHER LOVELIES

This is a painting of Gallifrey I would love to attempt. I have no idea who originally painted it; I just came across it on Facebook one day and saved it for future enjoyment.

gallifrey

[wordless]

So that one movie that is based off of that erotic book is being released this weekend.

I won’t be seeing it. I won’t be reading it.

My newsfeed in every social media outlet has been hijacked by this. All I can do is shake my head and keep scrolling.

I am having a hard time putting into words the emotions that are roiling around in my head and heart.

If you know me at all, you know that is a rare thing. Words are my thing. I thrive on words. I’m a wordsmith.

But this has just rattled my cage so much that I just can’t even form a coherent thought in response.

I want to yell and scream and shake all the ladies (and maybe guys) who are obsessed and consumed by this. Not just this one story, but the whole genre.

You say:

“It is just entertainment.”

“It is just a story.”

“It is not about abuse/porn/masochism. It’s a love story.”

“I’m reading/watching it to escape memories of my own abusive relationship(s).”

I say:

It isn’t entertainment. It’s porn. It’s only R-rated to get it into the theaters.

It is more than a story. It is images that will fill your mind. It is a romanticized idea that “consensual” abuse is sexy and acceptable. It paints a sad picture of unrealistic expectations of “love.”

Tell those who have been trapped in manipulative relationships like this that it is not abuse. Because I’m sure that they have a different perspective.

Why would you escape into a story as equally scary as your own real life story?

[blank concerned stare]

Please, spare me any lectures, telling me that I just don’t understand. Or telling me that I am weak-minded. Or telling me that I’m a prude. While those statements are incredibly hurtful, I have to speak up.

This weekend thousands of women are going to be rushing to the theaters to watch this…

Billions of dollars will be culled from this production. I get sick to my stomach just thinking about that.

When did this become the new normal? When did modesty or purity or respect become laughable and disposable?

Why can’t anyone see what this is doing to their hearts and minds?

It is slowing killing you on the inside. Desensitizing you.

You are one step away from subscribing to full on pornography.

Would you let a little girl of tender years read or watch something like this?

The little girl who still resides somewhere in your subconscious is hiding her eyes and covering her ears. Because mine is.

My heart aches.

I don’t feel as though anyone understands what I’m feeling right now.

Or what I’m saying.

I’m crying on the inside.

Can’t you hear?

Displaced Joy

Christmas-Lights

On the drive home this evening, the thought struck me how beautiful the city lights were against the wet pavement, with a few Christmas lights added to the mix. That was my first thought. Which kind of shook me. Because this time last year, and the year before, and every year prior for the last few years, my thoughts were so very far from that. My thoughts were centered on how the early darkness just seemed to press in on me and I couldn’t breathe. Winters saw me stocking up on St. John’s Wort, an herbal anti-depressant. That’s what my winter nights consisted of: St. John’s Wort, lots of Chinese food, and many tears.

I think that is perhaps why the passing of Robin Williams hit me so hard this past summer. While I may never have considered taking my own life, the thoughts could have easily have been there. I felt the hopelessness and helplessness of being stuck in a situation I felt would never change. My life felt like it wasn’t going anywhere. I had lost my joy and I didn’t know how to find it again. So many of us are on the precipice that Robin found himself plummeting from. Had he lost his joy like I’d lost mine?

Robin Williams

I’ve heard so many sermons over the years by many preachers that Christians shouldn’t be depressed. It just wasn’t allowed. It was sinful. Christians were always supposed to be joyful. I felt like I had failed in some regard, because I wasn’t a happy-go-lucky Christian with a smile plastered on my face 24/7. I was supposed to have the “joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” Isn’t that what the song says? So what the heck was wrong with me? The enemy takes pleasure in taking a person’s deepest, darkest thoughts and using them against them.

displace: to remove from the usual or proper place.

While that’s the medical definition of the word, doesn’t it make sense? A person’s joy should be located in their heart. But what if someone went in and performed destructive surgery, removing that joy? The enemy had displaced my joy.

I felt at the end of my rope. All I knew to do, was to continue praying and seeking the Lord.

If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” (Jeremiah 29:13-14, NLT)

Day after day, some harder than others, and week after week, much prayer and much encouragement got me through. I won’t lie and say that I always remained optimistic, and there were times I tried to take things into my own hands.

However, with a divinely orchestrated answered prayer, my life recently changed for the better.

What a difference a year makes. What a difference a day makes.

The Lord has returned my joy to me. I don’t think that my joy was attached to any particular situation, but when the Lord answers a long-prayed prayer, it’s hard not to let it affect your demeanor.

I’ve been reacquainting myself with the little things that bring happiness to my heart. I can now smile on the way home, because I know that there is hope.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

So I have my joy back. It may not be as bright, shiny, and naive as it once was. It’s a little burnished and scuffed, but it’s there.

I’m smiling more.

Elf-Smiling

I now have a happy heart instead of a sorrowful one when I sing along to a Christmas carol.

ELF

 

The darkness may only last for a little while because joy comes in the morning.

Changed

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As I stood worshipping Jesus this morning, this song made an appearance. I knew in the back of my mind that it would be in the set list because I entered the songs into our Sunday morning PowerPoint presentation. But as I stood there, this song struck a chord within me that I had tucked away in the corner of my heart and mind. It was ten years ago that I first heard this song performed by Delirious. But it was also ten years ago this month that I came back to Jesus after living a sinful two years of not having Him in my life, and multiple years of not even really serving Him at all.

This morning, this song just brought it all back to me. I was reminded of how much I truly had failed Jesus. How I had just swept His love under the carpet and gave in to my own sinful desires during those years. But it also caused me to see how much He has brought restoration in my life. He drenched a dry and weary soul with His everlasting water of love and salvation. A most overwhelming feeling. 

I am not perfect. I have tendencies to strive for perfection, but I am a far cry from being perfect. There have been so many times over the last ten years that the enemy has used my weakness of the sinful desire in my heart to try to take me down. Though I might stumble and fall, Jesus has always and will always be there to pick me up again. Jesus knows the heart. A truly repentant heart that comes to Jesus broken and tarnished can always be restored to a shining brilliance that only He can bring. 

It is not an easy way to live. I’ve been scoffed for not dating many men, or hurrying up to have a relationship just to have the children I so desire. But why? Why take the restoration that Jesus has given me and throw it in His face just because I want something so much? Why jeopardize the future that He has promised (in His timing) just to rush something that isn’t the absolute best? Why risk it?

Many people think that purity is only something that should exist before marriage. They are wrong. Purity is not a stage in life. Purity is a lifestyle. Purity belongs outside and inside of marriage. If purity cannot exist outside of marriage, how can a marriage truly be a representation of Christ and His Church? People are watching you, they see everything you say, do, and post on social media. If your life is not exhibiting this purity from all sides, people will notice and it will cause your claim of being a Christ-follower to falter. 

No matter where you are in life, whether you are single or married, 15 or 55, I urge you to make purity a lifestyle. Make it your anthem. Take up purity as your flag and wave it high so that in every area of your life people will see it and know that you’re striving after a life that is pleasing to The Lord.

Future and a Hope

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This week marks 9 years since the horrendous car wreck that should have claimed my life.

I was high on life and Jesus. It had been six months since the Lord rescued me from the pit of darkness and despair, and I had rededicated my life to Him. I had found a new church just a few months prior, and was soaking in His goodness. June 22, the day after the first day of summer in 2004, was a scorcher. We had dressed up at work in summery clothes to commemorate the first day of the summer solstice (since we had missed it the day before!), so I was wearing my bright orange and yellow Hawaiian shirt, dark blue capris, and leather sandals. It was hot. So hot. The AC in my 1997 white Chevy Cavalier had went out about a week before, so the windows were down as I was driving home from work that evening. The heat, and my lack of sleep from the night before, was lulling me into a doze that brought a rude awakening. Not even a quarter-mile from my house I dozed off for about 30 seconds and veered off onto the opposite side of the road. When my eyes opened all I saw was green flying past me at a ridiculous rate. I panicked. I tried to pull my car back onto the road, but I was already driving in the grass covered ditch. When I jerked the wheel, my car started flying.

I closed my eyes, held on tight to the steering wheel, and just remember praying “Please God, don’t let me die,” over and over and over again, as my car flipped in the adjoining field. After what felt like an eternity, I finally landed with a great thud. I was upside down, and could only see dirt through my shattered windshield as I hung from my harness. Again. I panicked. I hastily saw that my only exit was my driver side window that had been rolled down, so I released the seat belt I had been wearing and dropped onto the ceiling of my car and scrambled out. I sat up and did not really know where I was initially, other than sitting in the middle of a large field, next to my upside down car. I knew I had to call someone, and realized that my cell phone was in my purse. I reached into my car again, freaking out thinking that it might collapse on me as I lay reaching for it, and pulled it out quickly. Hands shaking, I dialed my sister and told her I had been in an accident and was sitting in the field belonging to the Hendricks family. All I could remember thinking at that moment was that my parents were going to be so mad at me for wrecking my car (they weren’t, but I obviously wasn’t thinking rationally at the time).

Within seconds, the sweet neighbor lady and friend of our family across the street called 911 (we had recently just received that in our rural area), and the two ladies who had been behind me in their car were making sure I was all right. My parents and sister arrived in record time, as they were just down the street. I don’t know how much time had spanned since the wreck until the ambulance and highway patrol arrived. I have a vague recollection that I was in shock and rambling incessantly.

Did I hit anyone in my car? Had I hurt anyone? (No, I had not). Where were my friends? I needed them? Oh my gosh, I hurt so bad! Make it stop hurting!

As they strapped me to the board from the ambulance, I remember the medics raising my shirt and tapping on my tummy, making sure I had not ruptured anything. My friend JC was there, as was my cousin Loren. When nearly everyone in the area has a police scanner, everyone and your brother will show up to a scene of an accident. They loaded me into the ambulance, and I heard my mom say to take me to Cox South. I didn’t want to be alone. I know now that I was truly in shock, because I was thoroughly freaking out. My cousin, who was a firefighter at the time with West Republic, offered to ride along with me to keep me calm. He did a good job. While the medic was checking me over, my cousin talked to me to keep my mind off of my current situation. I was in an amazing amount of pain. My back hurt. My the pain in my head was unbearable. I really did not know at the time what my injuries entailed.

After what seemed like forever, we arrived at the ER. They carted me to the back, my cousin still with me, thankfully. At some point the rest of my family arrived, though I don’t remember when.

I was still strapped to the backboard, my head placed immobile by a strip, as well as the rest of my body. I was barefoot. I knew this, because suddenly the frigid AC of the ER reached me and my bare feet. My mom sat beside me as they waited for the doctor to come in and examine me. After trying, and failing, to get a blood sample (my veins are incredibly hard to get to), they pricked my finger and squeezed it until they had an ample amount of blood to use as a sample. That freaking hurt. Much of the next couple hours were a blur as they examined me. I remember crying a lot. I was in pain. It felt like my back and head were on fire. I am claustrophobic, so being strapped to a backboard for hours did nothing to ease my sanity.  They gave me some kind of pain medication. My shirt was cut off. I begged them to spare my bra, since I had just purchased it (I know, strange request at the time). I was shimmied out of my capris by my mom and the nurse and converted into a hospital gown.

Despite the horrific thing I had just gone through a couple of hours earlier, it was generally determined that I had come out unscathed. I was lucky, they said. I merely sustained a whiplash, possible concussion, and immense bruising across my upper body from the seat belt. No internal injuries. No longterm effects.

I had a hard time going to sleep that night, as the moments leading up to the accident kept replaying in my head.

The next day, my parents went to the place where my car had been towed to, and took pics for the insurance company, as well as talked to one of the EMTs who had been on scene, JC’s dad. He said that I was lucky that I made it out alive. My car had flipped end over end quite a few times before landing. My steering wheel had been warped dramatically out of shape by the sheer supernatural strength by which I had held on. He said I was lucky that I was even able to crawl out of my window afterward, as he had retrieved some things (my keys probably) from the interior of my car while it was still in its upside down state. And he said he had been barely able to get in and out while crawling on his stomach. He is a super skinny and lanky guy.

I was not lucky.

I had just been given a miracle.

I was off work for a week recovering from the back and neck pain. I went back to work and I was still suffering from debilitating headaches. I remember thinking in moments as I tried to concentrate on what I was doing at work, if there would ever be a day when I wouldn’t have one of those headaches or would this be my forever. It didn’t last forever.

I had to go through 8 weeks of physical therapy to regain full mobility in my neck again. Those were long weeks of painful therapy. But it ended.

As I sit here, in another season, a season of discouragement and the unknown, I know that this too will end. Although, it is not nearly as severe or painful as some of the other seasons I have found myself in, it isn’t any less difficult. I believe that if God brings you to a season, He fully intends to bring you through it. As I reflect on the things He has brought me through, I know that He too will bring me through this one.

In the years since, and even just the last few days, I am reminded about something that I once heard a pastor say. The enemy will come up against and attacks frequently those who God plans to use in a big way. He must have something pretty big planned then, for all the ridiculous things He has rescued me from. And I hope – I pray – that He will use the places I have been to help others that may be going through similar circumstances.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Forsaking Christ

Last night I had a very disturbing dream. Some dreams are forgotten instantly, others stick with you. This one, I can’t seem to shake.

The first scene was at a church (I do not recall which one, and it did not seem familiar), and the pastor was giving a rather inspiring message. Two married men were seated, each holding a Bible and looking at it with confusion and disgust. They were married to each other.

The pastor realized this, and I could see he was torn about whether to continue on with his message, or tone it down so as not to offend the two married men. He decided to risk offense, and went on with his message. The married men stormed out of the church, leaving the Bibles behind.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6, 7 NIV)

The next scene of my dream was probably what is the most saddening: Another church, another time. Walking into the youth room, I discover that the students had written their own “Bible” to create a “gospel” that was more relevant to their lifestyles – to allow them to do anything they desired to do. Devoid of the true Gospel of Christ. On the table lay a Bible that had been completely ripped apart and replaced with handwritten pages of pop culture doctrine and lyrics from secular music. Because they refused to devote themselves to the commandments of Jesus.

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. (Galatians 5:7-10 NIV)

My heart ached at this discovery. Why would anyone want to leave the protection and love that Jesus offered? Why would they want to create their own Bible? Their own gospel? Their own religion? Because what the world offered was better?

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (Galatians 5:13 NIV)

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:16-21 NIV)

Is what the world offers truly better than what Christ offers? Is that why these guest stars in my dream were so convinced that they could do life better without Jesus? That they could do it on their own?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:22-26 NIV)

I do not mean for this to be an anti-(anything) type of post. Because it’s not.

I cannot help what I dream about.

I am not against the world. I am just not of the world.

I have merely been pondering this in great depth today.

What is our generation coming to that it wants to push Jesus out of it completely?

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:7-10 NIV)