Sunday, January 24, 2010

Antonio Meets His Match

Antonio Meets His Match, the latest in Max Lucado’s Hermie & Friends DVD series by Tommy Nelson Publishing, teaches children and adults alike that God commands us to love our neighbors, even when those neighbors are very annoying. A group of kilt-wearing, bagpipe-playing, Scottish red ants move into the garden, and Antonio and Hermie are immediately offended by the newbies’ habits and attitudes. The Scotsmen don’t give an inch, and tempers flare.

After a couple altercations, Antonio and Angus agree to settle the arguments by some traditional Scottish games. Antonio is winning handily until the bagpipe playing—then, not so much. Antonio loses the contest and has to move. Both sides learn a lesson about neighborliness when Billy Croaker takes matters into his hands.

Although the actual story of Antonio Meets His Match was a little slow starting, the outcome was good and the story was true to God’s Word. We are commanded to “love our neighbors,” and not just the ones who are easy to love.

In addition to the actual story, I appreciated the Bonus features of the DVD, especially the sing-along, “How Could Anyone Not Love Me?” because Angus’ Scottish brogue was difficult to understand during the story. The other bonus features are great, as well.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Beautiful Snow

We are in the midst of a truly, old-fashioned Nebraska winter. We have had several days of fog which only adds to the beauty by frosting the trees and turning the landscape into a Winter Wonderland.
You can see the beauty of the pine branch and the blur of the fog and snow behind it.

I thought our little girls might like to see Grandma's slide on the swing set. The snow doesn't look particularly deep here, but you can see everything covered in white.

This picture was taken straight out the car window on my way to Wal-mart on 98th street north of Saltillo. The plow made only a single path through the snow and the snow is piled deep, close on each side. I would have loved to ride on the snow plow as they cut through some of the deep drifts. Even though we've had some warmer days with some melting this week, the snow is still 8-9" deep in our front yard.
These days have reminded me of all the good snow stories I've read. I think first of Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter, a classic prairie snow story. More recently, I read No Time on My Hands, by Grace Snyder who lived through many a rough winter in the Sandhills from the 1850's to the 1950's. (Just after that book I read The Snowball, a biography of Warren Buffet, but, no, it has nothing to do with Nebraska winters!) And, I noticed another, long-forgotten book on my shelf--Winter Thunder by Mari Sandoz, another Nebraska author. It is the courageous story of a young teacher and 16-year-old bus driver who survived with seven children in a 1949 blizzard when their bus tipped over in the snow and burned. I think it is a fictional account, but based on a story of the author's niece.
And, poetry, too, comes to mind. What about Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," as well as his "Dust of Snow"? "Snow-Bound" by John Greenleaf Whittier, is the poet's simple observations of his family members as they amused themselves while snowed in. Although more about fog than snow, I'm reminded of Sandburg's "The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on." We have certainly had fog, but it sits looking and does not move on!
Rachel Field in her "Snow in the City," says "Snow is out of fashion, But it still comes down, To whiten all the buildings In our town; . . . And not a million people, Not one of them at all, Can do a thing about the snow But let it fall!" Isn't that the truth?
One last poem for my little girls: "Snowflakes" by Marchette Chute: I once thought that snowflakes were feathers And that they came falling down When the Moon Lady feathered her chickens And shook out her silver gown. And then I began to look closer, And now I know just what they are--I caught one today in my mitten, And there was a baby star."
One of my students this week remarked on the extra bonding time his family had over Christmas vacation. I said, "Yes, some families probably had more bonding than they wanted." But, he replied, "No, we really enjoyed it." I thought that was good coming from a high school boy. I'm proud of him and applaud his family for using the snow to good advantage.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Rediscovering God in America by Newt Gingrich

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has written a beautiful little book about the importance of godly faith in our nation. Rediscovering God in America takes the reader on a tour of Washington, D.C., reminding us of the godly leaders and their wisdom in guiding our country through perilous times. Gingrich's reflections are accompanied by the outstanding photographs of his wife, Callista.
From the Washington Monument, to the Library of Congress, to Arlington Cemetery, Gingrich gives historical background of the person honored and/or the planning and building of the memorial as well as discussion of the religious influences and inscriptions present in the monument. Some of the stories he relates are familiar, but many more are not. I was particularly impressed by FDR's prayer asking, "O Lord, give us faith in Thee," and his call to the American people for "devotion to the word of God." This example and others reminds us of our nation's rich Christian heritage.
Rediscovering God in America, published by Thomas Nelson, has a message important for all Americans, but is a must-read for anyone traveling to our capital. The only thing missing is a detailed map, so we can find our way around.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Holidays are over--New Year has begun

Christmas was fantastic--14+ inches of snow and all. We went to KC early to miss the storm, but came home a little too early. We drove into a snow drift about 1/2 mile from home and had to walk the rest of the way. But, a very kind neighbor pulled us out later and all was well. This is a picture of Jessie after she shoveled a one-lane path down our sidewalk.

Now we are beginning 2010, and, interestingly enough, today's date is a palindrome--the same frontwards and backwards. See--01-02-2010! I love little bits of trivia like that.

And, I love the new beginnings of the New Year. I am usually in the midst of reading through the Bible chronologically, but it typically takes me longer than a year. But, it happens that I'm starting over just as the new year is starting. If you want to follow my pace, check it out on my Twitter account--margarettraudt. Sometimes I post a verse from Psalms instead of my chronological reading, but it's all good.

And, this Monday I'm starting a once/week online editing course with Christian PEN. It will be fun to be a real student for a while. I'm anxious to see all the things I thought I knew but really didn't.

John and I went to see Invictus today. It's a great movie--very inspiring! Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon were both excellent in their roles. I'm hoping to read the book--Playing the Enemy.

In a day or two I'll post a review of Newt Gingrich's book Rediscovering God in America. So, check back.

Hope you've enjoyed this potpourri of trivia. Have a great day!