The cover article for the current issue of Atlantic magazine (July/August) is entitled “Is Google Making Us Stoopid?” Hm. Is it?Author Nicholas Carr writes:“As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems … [Read more...]
Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places
When I was relatively new to blogging, every once in a while I'd be scanning comments on somebody's post and spot one by L.L. Barkat. I'd read the well-formed response and think, "Wow. That person's smart!" I wasn't sure, at first, if this person was male or female. No photo confirmed gender, and the initials L.L. didn't help me know for certain. At some point I finally … [Read more...]
Several Summer Solutions to "Mom, I’m Bored!"
To avoid hearing kids exclaim "I'm bored!" in the summer months, it's tempting to fill the weeks ahead with camps and clubs and outings and activities, isn't it? Maybe we think, Keeping them busy keeps them out of trouble. Or, They gain skills they wouldn't have time to develop during the school year. And although not everyone will admit to it, there's the argument, … [Read more...]
How Many Nonfiction Books Did You Buy Last Year? How Many Did You Read?
I grabbed a bunch of magazines from my tower of reading material to browse on the plane. One of them is a New Age-y health magazine called Body + Soul. There's some strange stuff in there, but I leafed through and got a recipe for baked beans that looks promising, and found on page 26 some interesting statistics: Last year, 85% of North American households didn't buy one … [Read more...]
6 Questions to Ask Yourself
I like to explore why I make certain choices or feel strongly about various issues. So I find that a few questions like these get me thinking and writing and praying. Sometimes I use variations on these questions with my friends, generating some interesting discussion. I'd love to sit and have tea with you so we could explore these six questions. They're not only great … [Read more...]
Multi-tasking Doesn’t Work for Me
Multi-tasking has never really worked for me. I've tried. Over the years, I've felt like there are many times when I've had no choice but to do a dozen things at once. But when I do that regularly—when multi-tasking is my mode of operation, nonstop, every day, from sun-up to sundown, I get agitated. I feel all frenzied and harried. I leave one of the two or seven … [Read more...]
I could have gone by myself to vote, but I didn't. Instead, I took all four kids with me late this afternoon. I like for them to see the process.They watched as an acquaintance from our neighborhood flipped the pages of a three-ring binder with names and addresses to "K" and pointed to my name. They watched me sign.A volunteer offered them each a malted milk ball and … [Read more...]
Books offer a Rehearsal for Life
At the Festival of Faith & Writing, children's book author (twice awarded the Newbery Medal) Katherine Paterson sat with her son David to discuss the process of transforming the story of Bridge to Terabithia from book to film. (EW interviewed David for a story about the process with some of the same information.) David was co-writer and producer for the film. He … [Read more...]
Kathleen Norris, Acedia, and the Commonplace Book
Kathleen Norris's session at the Festival of Faith & Writing offered some good stuff, though my notes are spotty. She spent most of the time defining that word, "acedia," that has fallen out of usage. She's trying to resurrect it, because she thinks it captures our current culture's general boredom, apathy, or ennui. None of those words expresses the attitude and … [Read more...]
Yann Martel on Life of Pi, Interpretation, Stillness, and Art
A couple of years ago, urged by a friend, I read Life of Pi, by Yann Martel.It left me fascinated, and a little confused. I guess I'm not so good with obscure stuff. So I was quite interested that the Festival of Faith & Writing brought him to speak. Would he explain the book for the slow-of-brain?The evening began with an amusing glitch. Martel was introduced by a … [Read more...]
Live, from Grand Rapids, it's the Festival of Faith and Writing!
Approximately 2,000 writers, readers, editors, publishers, and assorted literary types are converging at Calvin College for the biennial Festival of Faith and Writing.I'm here for the first time ever, to listen and take notes.This event pulls together a wide range of authors--novelists, poets, essayists, memoirists--to present various thoughts on writing and faith. And … [Read more...]
More vacation pictures–and a gross face-in-place
It's a nature bonanza here on the coast of Florida! Last night, we fell asleep to an owl's hooting. As I walked to the bath house this evening at dusk, I heard a mockingbird going nuts, singing a crazy medley of migrating birdsongs one after another fast and furious. This Great Blue Heron hangs around near the fishermen. So regal. He moves with smooth … [Read more...]
The Blessing of Boredom
"I'm bored," a child whines. Oh, no! Quick, pull out the paints or Playdough—heaven forbid the child actually sits with nothing to do. In our entertainment-obsessed society, we almost panic at the thought of having nothing to do, at being bored. The world seems to want to fill every spare moment with productivity or fun. But is boredom such a bad thing? Could boredom … [Read more...]
Virtual Pilot–Can You Land the Plane in the Right European City?
How well do you know your European geography?Let Lufthansa test you with this Virtual Pilot game.Each round is more challenging.First you're given 8 seconds to land the plane in the city cited after a ready-set-go countdown. They provide a map that shows countries outlined and dots representing city locations (but no labels).Next round: 6 seconds, countries only. No … [Read more...]
What do you do to enrich your times alone with the Lord?Are they quiet? Do you have enough time? Are you structured? Spontaneous? Do you follow a book that leads you through Bible study with guided questions? Do you meet with someone periodically for accountability?I'm asking because I'm collecting ideas for Quiet Times and Bible study.So far, here are some things I've … [Read more...]
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