Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Life is Like a Bicycle

CS Lewis & his older brother Warnie on bikes
Lately I have been contemplating some life choices. I look around at my peers and see their drive for worldly success, yet I also see how quickly this focus can become the demise of their emotional life.  What is it about our society that pushes us to work long hours?  Why do we feel the pressure to own nice things?  

Leaving the dollar bills behind, I've been focusing more on days off work for adventure rather than loading up my bank account.  Having a day off with Dustin means a happier Jamie (typically).  I've slowly come to the realization that when we can spend the day - not worrying about church or work or school - together, it makes all the difference.  Clearing the mind, usually by riding our bicycles, is the best medicine for emotional distress.

Focusing on the experiences - not the things.

Isn't it more rewarding to enjoy the relationships and adventures that life throws our way?  
Think back on the past 5 years of your life... what sticks out most in your memory?  Is it the closet full of clothes and new car or do you recall family vacations or picnics or bike rides or baseball games?  I know my thoughts track along the latter.

When I think on the "good times" in life, it's the parties, the people I've met along the way, the bike rides I've taken, and the good food with good people.  It's amazing how I can't even remember the things I've bought.

While riding our bikes this weekend through Cleveland Metroparks trails (which are amazing, by the way), I was able to chill out for the first time in a while.  Freedom swept over me with light breeze and I felt able to live life.  I didn't care about the work that was waiting for me when I got back. I didn't care about the house that needed cleaned, but rather focused on the here and now.  The crisp air, the breeze, the burn in my thighs as I pedaled up hills, and the company of my husband.  It was amazing.

Maybe there truly is something to the way of gypsy life.  Nothing to hold them down, just free to travel and live amongst one another.  I envy that.

For now, however, I will continue my slight bits of freedom via 2 wheels down the open trail.

 "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving." - Albert Einstein
(More Bicycle Quotes available here)  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fire + Books

Last night, while D was out, I decided the crisp fall weather that has snuck up on us was perfect for a fire.  I gathered my essentials- matches, wood, cardboard, and lighter fluid - and created a somewhat decent fire (for a girl..haha).

The best part? I could read some CS Lewis by the flickering light.

 Fire + books= perfect night!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

On love and loss

Isn't this the cutest picture ever?? Joy & CS Lewis
Lately I've been reading A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis in order to prepare for our next book club meeting (tomorrow!).

We recently watched Shadowlands - a movie essentially about Lewis's love life.  In it, we watch him fall in love with an American woman, Joy.  We see him find a perfect companion late in life, and eventually marry her.  Much to their dismay, they soon realize she is dying of cancer.  It is a movie that documents Lewis's personal life and shows him in a fragile state as he loses the only woman he loved.

This movie was created in response to Lewis's book A Grief Observed.  Originally published under a pseudonym, this book was comprised of his personal journal notes after Joy's death.  It shows the real, raw emotions that evolve after losing a spouse.

I must admit, I had to stop reading it after the first chapter because I kept putting myself in his place and thinking how I would feel if I had recently lost my spouse.  I couldn't take it!  I felt captivated by his words, yet terrified of the reality that one day this too could be my emotions.  Death is impeding for us all - a dismal thought for this bright, sunny Tuesday morning, I know.

Once again, I look forward to the promise we have in Christ.  I long for the eternal life where there will be no pain and no suffering and no more death in the presence of God.

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" - John 11:25-26 NIV

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Awesome CS Lewis Quotes

“[God] will not be used as a convenience. Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of heaven as a shortcut to the nearest chemist’s shop.”

Rather than compiling my own, it seemed reasonable to link a blog already devoted to "22 Awesome CS Lewis Quotes"  (The one above spoke to me this morning).


Monday, August 5, 2013


Clearly C.S. Lewis valued the art of storytelling, as this is a prominent theme throughout the Narnia novels.  In fact, even his characters uphold this tradition of understanding background stories of those whom they encounter. 

This is largely evident in The Horse and His Boy, as Bree (the talking horse) responds to Hwin’s chatter with “Hush, Ma’am, hush” as he was thoroughly enjoying the story.  “She’s telling it in the grand Calormene manner and no story-teller in a Tisroc’s court could do it better.”

Later when Shasta asks a question during Aravis’s story, Bree snarls back, “Be quiet, youngster… you’re spoiling the story.  She’ll tell us all about the letter in the right place.”

In the right place.

This means, then, that there is a right and wrong way to tell a story. Things need to fall according to their place.  Eustace had a hard time explaining how he turned into a dragon in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader because he "had no idea how to tell a story straight." Imagine what would happen to your favorite story if there was no climax in the plot.  Think of what would happen if there was no build up of certain parts or no connection was made with any characters.

But above and beyond telling a story in the right order is the danger of telling a single-sided story.  After all, this is how rumors begin.  This is how people are categorized into stereotypes.  This is how we as readers and hearers of stories can fall victim to racism and bigotry.

The following clip delves more into the danger of a single story.  Chimamanda Adichie (whom I became quite a fan of because of my prof. Dr. Allan Bevere) does an amazing job and articulating this topic.

Lucy says (in Prince Caspian), "we love stories!" so be mindful of how you tell your tale.