Joy in the journey

I've been thinking a lot about happiness lately. Each day brings something new, and it is not always something pleasant. As a mother I've learned to just take it one day at a time, then when things are rough it doesn't seem so overwhelming. Of course I still need to be reminded of this from time to time (like when kids are sick, potty training, and around the clock care of a newborn - just to name a few).

There are plenty of good times. Those are fun and happy. I feel truly happy when my children accomplish something. I love when my family is all working together and everyone is getting along. I always make a mental note to remember the few perfect moments in life. These are so very few and far between that they are easy to miss unless you are looking for them.

I believe that most people believe that happiness is a result or an end product. I suppose that it can be to some degree, but I like to try to be content or find joy in the journey. I think happiness or joy is found in the process of living. It is in the little things. It is found by being grateful and patient.

You might be wondering what my rambling about finding joy in the journey has to do with reading. Well, I think that as I read I get enveloped into the story and start to really live and breathe the details. I enjoy the escape into another "world" that I find through reading. And then I find that when I finish a book I usually feel let down a bit, because I don't want it to end (that's why I love sequels). It is being in the middle of the book that I love, I know the characters and still have plenty of pages left. I find joy in the journey of reading a book.

Project Gutenberg

I just recently became aware of a website that offers over 30,000 e-books that are totally free to download. It is How cool is that? It looks like most of these books are "vintage" or at least old enough that the copyright has expired. So, if it's a classic that you want to read this would be the place to find it.

Another great place to download free e-books is at

Slow Progress

I love the book that I'm reading right now, but it's taking me forever to read it. It's a biography called Bonhoeffer Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy A Righteous Gentile vs. The Third Reich by Eric Metaxas. I am finding it fascinating to read about what went on in Germany when Hitler came to power. So much of what happened then is unmistakably happening again, this time in our own country. I will definitely post my review of this book as soon as I finish.

I would love to hear what you are reading now. Have you read any books about Nazi Germany that really stand out in your mind? I can think of two that I will probably always remember: The Hiding Place and The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust.

Book Review: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

What a great book. If you are a fan of the gothic romance/mystery type of book (like Rebecca, and The Thirteenth Tale), you will love this novel. It really isn't very dark, or ghost filled, but it is strangely enigmatic.

The basic plot of The Forgotten Garden goes like this: A woman tries to find out her own true identity after learning that she was found as a 4 year old by her "parents." She had been left on the dock of a small port town in Australia, with only a small white suitcase that held a few odd contents. She is in her sixties when she finally tracks down information that leads her to her "home" in England. Circumstances prevent her from uncovering all of the mystery, so it is not until years later when her grandaughter is curious about it all that the details start to fall into place.

The plot summary really doesn't do the book justice. It was very well written. Kate Morton is one of those truly gifted storytellers. She is able to tell the story in such a way that you are hungry to read more. It was suspenseful and fun too. I also enjoyed getting to know all of the characters. They all had very distinct personalities. It is one of those books that seem very familiar (think the Secret Garden). At first this bothered me, but the author creatively remedied this before I ended up thinking that she was just a copycat.

My Rating

Overall: 4.5 stars. I loved the book, I would probably give it 5 stars if I thought that it was all truly original.

Objectionable Content: Well, I don't want to spoil the story, but let's just say that there is some immoral behavior.

Thoughts on Easter

I'm really not very good at expressing my true thoughts on how blessed I feel this Easter. I do know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that He suffered and atoned for my sins. He was crucified, yet He conquered death and returned to earth as a resurrected being. I know that He lives and loves me.

I hope those of you reading this know that I don't mean to be irreverent in sharing this passage from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I just think it has profound meaning and helps me realize that I should never take the meaning of Easter for granted.

My Dear Wormwood,

Now I am obliged to write to you about the most uncomfortable subject. At all costs I would wish to avoid even the mention of this matter but it must be broached. I am referring to the Christian holiday known as Easter. As you know it is the celebration of the day when our Enemy above slew death. Oh, what a shock it was to us all that day. I can remember so vividly my reaction the moment it happened! What screams of rage and anger were heard everywhere in our Kingdom Below. How totally helpless we felt at that moment. We were outmaneuvered. Never in a million years could we have imagined that the Enemy would really love those pitiful humans enough to go through with it. He actually died a terrible death to keep them out of our clutches. Why should they be of such worth to Him? We could not understand. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me take you back to the beginning.

Before the Enemy created these human beings, our Father below was well on his way to becoming Ruler of the Universe. The Christian’s Bible says somewhere that our father was thrown out of heaven by the Enemy, but don’t you believe it. Heaven had gotten too small for him. He decided to go on to bigger and better things. And he wasn’t about to let the Enemy tell him what to do anymore. Our father below knew much better how things should be.

About a third of us went with him. We wanted to better ourselves. We were going with a winner.

Then the Enemy brought into being these human creatures. That was a blow, I’ll tell you. They walked in perfect harmony with him. They did whatever He said. They were completely on His side. All they wanted was to please Him. They lived in this beautiful garden and were perfectly happy. Ugh!!! We could see the handwriting on the wall. Pretty soon the whole earth would be full of them.

But our father below devised a plan. He disguised himself and snuck into their garden one day. In his clever way he convinced them that there was something better than pleasing the Enemy. They could become their own god. They could be in charge, be the boss of their own life. “Why obey him? There is so much more to life than that. It is so foolish to let the Enemy be your God, he told them. Think what you will miss if you stay with Him. I will give you a higher wisdom”, he promised.

(Have you noticed that our father below is still using this approach very effectively today? Those humans are so impressed with their own wisdom now. You can get them to believe almost anything. They will absolutely destroy themselves now rather than accept the authority of the Enemy above. They are such a stupid bunch of mortals.)

Anyway, as I was saying, our father below convinced them to disobey their Creator. He told them, “go ahead and do it, you will not die.” (a little lie there, he’s an expert at that all right.) He knew that is exactly what would happen. And then those feeble earthlings would be in our clutches.

They disobey their Creator, rebel against him, and then they become ours. Their Creator can’t keep them because He can’t have in His presence anyone that isn’t pure and holy. He is so narrow. He insists on only what is good. That doesn’t leave any room for all the bad out there.

Well, the humans fell for it. They got suckered into our camp. And immediately they started to die.

And ever since, death has been our great ally. Do you know how many millions we bring into Hell every year through death? It is one of our few pleasures. How delicious to see them suffer! They feel such loss and pain when their loved ones die. Death was the great triumph of our father below.

I say “was” because the Enemy changed all that.

The first thing he did was to lower himself and be born as one of “them.” We almost got him killed when he was a baby. But he eluded us then. He grew up to be a man. He taught those poor humans about himself, all the while not really spreading around who he was. Then one day he gave himself up to be killed by a bunch of jealous religious leaders. We figured it was a big bluff. Just an excuse to perform a public miracle and escape at the last minute. But he actually went through with it. He let them nail him to a cross and he died. We all thought, “Aha, you’re beaten now! You’ve just made your big mistake!”

All of us were feeling, for a few hours, a big relief from that constant fear we had always felt toward the Enemy. Maybe all those prophecies about our last judgment would never happen after all. Death had claimed the Creator of life. Finally our Lord Satan would be undisputed ruler of all.

Then Sunday morning came. The Enemy reappeared. Suddenly, he was alive. Death could not hold him. But it was even worse than that. He had become an innocent sacrifice for the sins of all those humans. He had paid their penalty. He had died in their place. Now death could not hold them either. They could be forgiven and reunited with the Enemy. They can now live forever. For all practical purposes, death has died. There has never been a more disastrous day in the history of the universe.

That, my dear Wormwood, is the whole sad truth.

There is only one thing we can do. We must redouble our efforts. We must do everything we can to make sure that these humans do not believe in Jesus. And if they do believe then make them lukewarm and too busy with other things to be of any use to him.

We have some reason to hope. Much of the media help us. And there is such a climate of pleasure-seeking and materialism that often the Christians aren’t any different from anybody else. Many Christians are uncommitted. Some are hypocrites. And we have got many sincere people convinced they are so guilty that they have no hope. Others are bitter and have closed their ears to the message of the Resurrection. Others are just self-satisfied and only care about now.

We have laid some very good groundwork intellectually. Many educated people have been kept from considering both sides and are firmly convinced that there is no intellectual basis for believing in Jesus. They don’t know what we know and we are not about to tell them. Many of these people are even convinced that we don’t exist! That’s very good! In closing, I will just say, Fight on, Wormwood. I fear we will lose in the end, but let us take as many of them with us as we can. Their willful, selfish part of them gives us much fertile ground to cultivate. We may have lost the war, but let’s go out and win some battles for our father below.

Your Uncle,