What I read in June 2020 (Part 2)

There are two book reviews in this post.

I won a paperback copy of Breaking the Mould: Learning to thrive as a Ministry Mum by Jules Middleton from the publisher SPCK* on Twitter . I was excited about winning it as I have been following Jules Middleton on social media (including her blog Apples of Gold) since we both reviewed Bible to go! for the Big Bible Project.

Both sentences in Kate Bottley’s endorsement: ‘Will make you laugh and cry along with her. Not just for ministry mums.’ are true. The target readership is women thinking of becoming ministers in any Christian denomination, those training or serving especially mothers, mothers-to-be and those hoping to have a family. Much of the content is also applicable to lay people. Middleton uses innovative analogies to make her points.

Other ministry mums have contributed their own stories to the book, which has an introduction by Sharon Prentis. Some of the contributors were familiar to me from Twitter. They have enhanced the book explaining, for example, how a physical disability or mental health condition is not a barrier to serving in the Church.

I found the explanation of the context and background to the passage about the perfect wife in Proverbs 31:10-31 particularly helpful.

Surprisingly, when I had finished reading it hubby picked it up and is finding it very interesting and readable, proving the point that this is a book which is attractive to a wide readership.

Highly recommended!

The second book was To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf which I read as an e-book from BorrowBox. I had not read any of Virginia Woolf’s writing previously. I did not find the story particularly gripping. It was told in an unusual way, concentrating on the thoughts and feelings of the characters as much if not more than the action. I didn’t find a contents list or a way to flip back to earlier parts of the story, but that might be due to my unfamiliarity with the BorrowBox app.

The first part of the book was a description of life in a large household over about a day. The chapter numbers began again at 1 with a jump forward in time. Some of the insights into character and motivation were interesting, but I won’t be rushing to read everything Woolf wrote. The story was followed by a biography of Woolf, which I might have liked to read first. In a printed book that would have been easy! It took me a long time to finish reading it.

I have been unable to find the cover image used on BorrowBox. It was an edition published by A Word to the Wise. This link is interesting.

My other book reviews may be found from the links  Authors A to M and Authors N to Z.

* not IVP (UK) as I originally stated.

Changes to my blogging and social media habits

While I have been spending more time at home, I have perhaps also spent more time reading and writing blogs and scrolling through Facebook and Twitter.

I have noticed some changes in the blogosphere, some of which I had noticed when they happened and others for which I missed the announcements. In the past I have taken part in challenges set by WordPress’ Daily Post. These stopped some time ago. The UK Blog Awards, which I entered in 2014 ceased after a few years. Only recently I discovered that the post40bloggers, which featured posts from older bloggers no longer has a website. The Blogging from A to Z Challenge continues each April. On the official challenge website there were a number of posts about blogging and its future. In part those posts have helped me decide to write this post.

Another blogging group on which Sue’s Trifles is listed is Bible Gateway’s blogger grid. The badge in the sidebar or below the post, depending on the device used, is a link.

My blogging habits have changed recently. After the Daily Post stopped issuing a weekly photo challenge I reverted to posting once a week on Sue’s words and pictures. This year I decided to join in with Cee Neuner’s On the Hunt for Joy photo challenge. This is also a weekly challenge. I have been posting my response to it midweek as well as a post on Saturday. My Saturday posts have become rather parochial since lockdown began in March, but I am hoping this will not continue indefinitely.

Here on Sue’s Trifles I took a month off from book reviews and craft posts and an occasional post about blogging in order to complete the A to Z Challenge. Normal service is now resumed.

Another challenge I have been taking part in is Linda Kruschke’s Paint Chip Poetry Challenge. This is a weekly challenge issued on Fridays. There is a topic and a number of words or phrases from those paint colour sample sheets found in good hardware stores. The challenge is to incorporate a certain number of these into a poem and share it either in the comments or on one’s blog. I have been sharing mine in the comments, but have decided to gather them together on a page on this blog.

I have also entered several of Helen Yendell’s writing competitions, which also involve including words she provides. All these help me improve my writing skills. Reading the work of other writers in response to the challenges also helps.

Over on Twitter I have been a regular participant in #wildflowerhour on a Sunday evening (8pm London time). I have decided to take a break. This is to free up some time to work on a writing project. I have learned a great deal about the wild flowers that grow locally, but I have found that there is far more to recognising plants than just being able to name them: there are different kinds of speedwells, vetches, scabiouses and more. I forget some of them from one year to the next and have to learn them again! A break should be good for me.

For the followers, who are more interested in craft than writing, I am including a photo of a small blanket I have made from my friends’ left-over yarn. It is going to a new arrival in their family.

Today (21 May 2020) is Ascension Day. It is the day when we remember that Jesus Christ returned to heaven. Luke 24:50-53

This was necessary for the Holy Spirit to be sent to Jesus’ followers. Acts 2

What I read in October (Part 1)

Palau: A Life on Fire The spiritual memoir of Luis Palau with Paul J. Pastor

I was given this book by a friend. I had not previously heard of Luis Palau, whose ministry is similar to that of Billy Graham (one of whose books I reviewed here).

The style reminded me of God’s Smuggler. It has been written primarily for a US readership. Palau’s story is very interesting. It is told in an open and honest manner. I was interested to learn of his visit to the UK at the time of the Falklands War. Palau’s country of birth is Argentina – the country laying claim to the Falkland Islands. Palau came in peace to spread a message of peace.

The book was written after Palau had been diagnosed with cancer. He had not previously written about his own life. The partnership with Paul J. Pastor has resulted in a very readable and inspiring book.

I took the book to our prayer group and read a few pages about his visit to Britain. It was suggested that I might read more from it another time – a recommendation in itself!

As a UK citizen I found one of the words used about British society rather strange to put it mildly. However, I realise that communication is important and if one word is chosen rather than another, it is probably for a good reason. Just to set the record straight, we do not use the word ‘caste’ to describe our flexible social structure. Our word is ‘class’ and society is roughly divided into upper class, middle class (professional people) and working class. Before the Second World War class divisions were far more obvious than they are in present-day Britain. Following WW2 there was a greater emphasis on education for everyone. It became easier for people from working class families to become professional people. We even have a word, yuppies – Young Upwardly-mobile People. Personally I regard people as people no matter what their background.

One thing that resonated with me from Palau’s faith story was the importance of understanding that the Holy Spirit (or Spirit of Christ) lives within Christians helping us to live for God and helping us to grow more like Jesus Christ.

Luis Palau continues his ministry with podcasts which may be found on Twitter @LuisPalauLive.