Saturday, March 16, 2019


by Dawn Garrett

A crystalline sky,
definer of blue,
February's glimpse
of deep breathed hue.

the wispy-white clouds
saunter August-like
portending no gloom.

Down the forest path -
a curious mix
of mud here, ice there -
the step slurps, snaps, cricks.

A recent hard storm
littered limbs and leaves,
strewing evidence
of calamities.

Barren trees reveal
nests on limbs tied tight,
clinging firm to fledge
birdies unto flight.

Withstanding the storm
Relishing the peace
Recalling the trial
Resting in reprieve

New storms will bluster
Providence provides.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Book Review: A Light so Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L'Engle by Sarah Arthur

A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L'Engle, Author of A Wrinkle in TimeA Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L'Engle, Author of A Wrinkle in Time by Sarah Arthur
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I really wanted to love this book. I'm a big fan of Madeleine L'Engle's for ... well, since I became a reader, so nearly 40 years. I love her Austin family (Chronos books) more than the Kairos books. although I wouldn't turn either down. I am a big fan of her non-fiction and memoir. I have long been a proponent of reading her non-fiction to see her faith more clearly; although it is included in her fiction as well.

This book delves into her faith in lovely ways, although I was dissatisfied with her discussion of the attacks on L'Engle's supposed universalism. I felt the book more confirmed than denied it and didn't really deal with the heart of the matter. More dust under the rug.

In many ways I appreciated the way she drew in L'Engles influence on writers, yet sometimes I was annoyed that Arthur talked too personally and constantly about herself with a side-note of L'Engle's interaction. As a biography I didn't expect that. The chapter where she spends pages comparing L'Engle and C.S. Lewis was a little jarring to me. While there are similarities, it seemed somewhat out of place as a spiritual biography, especially as it seems they never met.

Arthur really emphasized the Time Quintet without delving into other series nearly as much and I thought she did an injustice to A Ring of Endless Light in many ways - especially in the chapter about Bearing Light, because that's the culmination of that whole book.

I also found the writing redundant from time to time. It seemed that the title of the book was repeated every chapter, and I started to feel the repetition as an annoyance rather than reassurance. Repeated assertion is not proof, and I thought several instances were more repeated assertion than true evidence of the author's proposition.

All those complaints said, there are some truly lovely passages in the book; glimpses of a talented writer shining forth. Also, L'Engle's friendship with Luci Shaw and their influence on one another is beautifully drawn. It is fascinating to see the wide range that L'Engle worked in, the effects of her writing on her family, and the effects on the Christian writing and artistry worlds beyond.

I recommend this with reservations. If you are looking for answers about L'Engle's more controversial positions, I don't think you'll find them here and might come out more convinced of her error. If you're looking for a glimpse of a very real, flawed Christian life you'll find it to some extent, but it may take some digging. If you're looking for the influence of one writer on many, that is here. As Arthur insists, we often find what we seek out. I was seeking a spiritual biography and it's influence and perhaps was seeking the wrong thing.

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Friday, January 18, 2019

If the Stars

If the Stars by Dawn Garrett

If the stars could talk
what would they say?

I like to think they'd be friendly,
passing on their way.

Glory in light shining,
effervescent and bubbly in community.

with enthusiasm for acquiring
the acquaintance of the other.

They'd ask after one's mother
and how the family does.

They'd listen intently
to all the tos and froes.

Continuing the conversation,
the second replies in kind.

Seeking consolation
as uniting mind to mind.

If the stars could speak
they'd sing out the Lord's praises
After the example of the rocks and ages.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Book Review: How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds by Alan Jacobs

How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at OddsHow to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds by Alan Jacobs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kindle read.

Alan Jacobs is one of my favorite internet people - his various blogs and mini blogs and the sole reason I used to go to twitter have long provided interesting ideas, visuals, and social commentary that was worth reading. A number of years ago I LOVED his book The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. This book is written in that vein. It's a personal exploration of the whys and hows of - instead of reading - thinking.

I had little investment in the last Presidential campaign and election, but found myself on election night watching the returns and not able to turn away. The absolute shock of the cable commentators to understand what was happening and how people could vote in the way they did was worth watching. It was demonstrative of much of what Jacobs talks about here in How to Think: the Repugnant Cultural Other, the failure to listen, to empathize, to see past the filters, myths, and metaphors that hold thinking together. Jacobs' instructive defining would go a long way to help us all not only listen to each other, but hear and understand - to not speak past one another but to know.

The worst part of this review is that while I'm sure I didn't understand everything in the book, I didn't really disagree with anything ... which means I wasn't thinking about it as I should. I do think that seeking community is different from desiring membership in an Inner Ring, that being able to switch interaction as appropriate to the social setting is important, and that I care way too much about what others think. I do think that ideas held loosely yet firmly is wise, but that employing empathy toward the situation of others is wise. I do see how the myths and metaphors I surround myself with are helpful and harmful.

I suppose I do disagree that both/and instead of either/or isn't necessarily the lazy way out. I don't really have good explanations for that, but I see so many false dichotomies espoused that could be resolved by seeing 'both' as viable options that his argument there fell on deaf ears.

Overall, this is my favorite kind of Jacobs books. It's well written with many references and -be still my soul- footnotes, yet it's very personal with many stories and narratives to keep it going. It's conversational, yet formal at the same time like Pleasures of Reading ...

Definitely recommended.

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Friday, January 04, 2019

Audio Book Review: Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

Till We Have FacesTill We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to this and for a long time I wondered why. Then, today, I listened to the last two chapters of Part One and all of Part Two because I had to know.

Oh, before today, there were thoughts and ideas that I contemplated: ideas about friendship, honor, beauty, love, duty. But Lewis opens the reader's eyes so much more fully in Part Two that the veil, as it were, is pulled away. And when it is, it is both glorious and agonizing ... relief and conviction. "Dreadful and Beautiful. The only dread and beauty there is." Yes.

I've tried several times to actually READ this book, but the audio is what got me through. I'm thankful for it. Now I think I could read the book from the beginning and I'm certain that it improves with repetition ... which is difficult to imagine.

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by Dawn Garrett

We are told that the heavens declare
the glory of God.
Yet, transparent encircling air
seems medium odd.

When brightness brings to bear its presence
praise doesn't need aid
ilum'ning aerial polutants
or creation's shade.

The mornings dawn with oranges, pinks,
rosy, reds, and golden
light diffusing white which slowly slinks
across earth frozen.

Ever evolving blue, light, and cloud
kaleidescopes o'er
and 'bove human heads showing aloud
awe for the seer.

Sunset tugs down past the horizon
light fights the good fight
to finally grasp man's attention
displaying prism bright

The heavens aren't finished even
as this unrained bow
sprawls, reaches aback the wide heaven
slowly sliding low.

Still, still splendor becomes manifest
stars shine overhead;
moon in her courses wanes and waxes
ruling at His stead

Day after day and night after night.
the Artist's canvas
crafted and drawn; a joy of delight.
Note we the brilliance.  

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Cacophony by Dawn Garrett

Teeming with confusion;
the world called to origins ancient.
The roads bustle in one direction
by proclamation sent.

Tempers flare. Exhaustion
trudges at the pace as set in front.
Identified as mere possession;
selfish aggrandizement.

Greeting, welcome, discourse
Argument, curse, invective, yelling.
Immobility for ass and horse.
Impatience revealing.

Rivers run to the sea
and yet the sea never spills over.
City boundaries act as levee
bulging without rupture.

Manger holds beast and man
Searching any shelter from the skies.
Jostling for position under heav'n
Creation, groaning, defies.

Glories boom o'er hillside!
Angels sound joy and sing shalom.
Shepherds question, seeking far and wide.
Caravans quest from home.

Crowding at the doorway;
Peace is not stillness but wholly right.
Echoes wave through the cosmos today
This was no silent night.