Revisiting the land of Prydain …

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Back in fifth grade, Mrs. Campbell introduced our class to a series of books that I quickly came to love as a kid in that in-between age. I must have read them through twice in middle school, and I remember a soundtrack of my own making that went with the books. “Wayfaring Stranger” from Emmylou Harris’ 1980 album, Roses in the Snow, will always be connected to the fourth book of the series in my mind.

So this series was a natural place to start in my weird quest to read all the books on my favorite reading teacher’s book list. It’s fascinating how different the books are now. I see them from an adult’s perspective and can clearly see them as the coming of age story they are. It’s easier to see how brilliantly Lloyd Alexander crafted the series, leaving tiny hints and clues throughout the books to lead to its epic conclusion.

What I didn’t expect was that as I was listening to them as audiobooks, I would remember certain key lines word for word after more than 30 years. It was wonderful to visit Prydain again, and I suspect I won’t wait another 30 years to visit again. #MissGrovesBookList

A 17-page list of books to read {a #TBT post}

Michał Grosicki

I read a lot when I was a kid.

By a lot, I mean I read in the car even when it was getting dark. I can’t remember how many times Mom told me I’d ruin my eyes – never mind the fact that I already wore glasses and was begging her for contacts.

When we’d go shopping, she’d tell me that if I behaved while she shopped then I would be allowed to buy a book for a treat. I was a model of politeness and decorum most every time.

I tried to get a library card on my own one day. My grammy only lived half a block away and back then kids walked anywhere without a second thought. So I walked up one day and asked for a library card. They told me to come back with my Mom.

My love for reading didn’t change in middle school. I had the same reading teacher for grades 6-8 – Miss Grove. Miss Grove required book reports, and the books had to be selected from her painstakingly curated book list. It contained classics and award winners along side popular – but well written – novels for teens.

Miss Grove never would have considered adding Twilight to the list. Of this, I am certain.

Over the course of three years in her reading class, I had to write a total of 12 book reports, if memory serves. Part of me remembers that it was one per marking period, but I almost think it might have been two. If the latter is the case, then I wrote 24.

And I still didn’t scratch the surface of the massive list.

For some reason, I decided at some point in my adulthood that it would be fun to go back and see how many of the books I could read. It definitely would provide a diversion to all the heavy reading I’m doing for my seminary classes.

About a year and a half ago*, I received an email from my former high school librarian who had seen my writing in the local newspaper. I asked her if she had a copy of the old book list. She promised to dig around for it, and a few weeks later I received the list – now weighing in at 17 pages, front and back.

No time frame. Just me and a list of hundreds of books. As I read, I post. (2018 note: Most posts will be on Instagram using the hashtag #MissGrovesBookList.)

Feel free to join in with your thoughts, memories and comments on the books as I post short thoughts on each one.

*This post appeared on a previous blog, and I dusted it off for Throwback Thursday this week since I’ve picked up reading from the list again.

Wednesday Selah: Facedown by Matt Redman

By the time this post goes live, I will be wrapping up my service as a door holder at Passion 2018 in Washington, D.C.

I’ve lost track of how many times I have volunteered. I know for certain I was in Nashville at Passion 2006 and Atlanta in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Somewhere along the line after that I get a little confused about which ones I attended and which ones I missed. By looking at the albums, I finally figured out that I also volunteered in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017.

Yet, with all that time, there has never been a moment in worship that struck me quite as much as Passion 2007 in the lower level of the Georgia World Congress Center when Matt Redman led the students in the second venue in this song.

At the time, I had recently started seminary and was looking for direction in ministry. Through the messages of the week, I came to understand that I didn’t have to have a solid action plan. I needed only to trust in God, and to worship him.

Welcomed in to the courts of the King
I’ve been ushered in to Your presence
Lord, I stand on Your merciful ground
Yet with every step tread with reverence

And I’ll fall facedown as
Your glory shines around
Yes, I’ll fall facedown as
Your glory shines around

Who is there in the heavens like You
And upon the earth, who’s Your equal
You are far above, You’re the highest of heights
We are bowing down to exalt You

So let Your glory shine around
Let Your glory shine around
King of glory, here be found, King of glory