Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Earth Shaking Easter - a wake up call

In 1981, I was living the California as the Easter season was approaching. Then, I was awaken early in the morning by a large BANG. It was an earthquake. And it was loud enough to wake the dead.

My thoughts took me to the first Easter. Back then, there were earthquakes that actually did wake the dead. The Gospel of Matthew - and only the Gospel of Matthew - records such an account when Jesus died on the cross:

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

Matthew 27:50-54
(King James Version)

I always wanted to hear more about this earthquake that woke the dead. Please! Matthew, tell us more! But he doesn't. And neither do the other Gospel writers.

As it says in the Law of Moses:

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 29:28
(King James Version)

And this is one of those times.

Twenty-one centuries later, we still experience earthquakes. Yet, the hope of Easter is that it looks to the future, as we wait, too, for the dead to awake:

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice.

John 5:28
(King James Version)

Death is only temporary. The New Testament calls it sleep. And we will all wake up.

photo from everystockphoto.com: It's Friday, But Sunday's Comin

Monday, March 22, 2010

Winds of Destiny - eBook review

Show, don’t tell. This is the pithy advice given to writers.

Many American history classes tell the story of the Puritans, their search for religious freedom, and their subsequent immigration to the New World. Jayne Bullock’s novel Winds of Destiny shows the story, which many history book writers only tell.

The times during England’s Civil War are seen through the eyes of a spirited and adventurous heroine, Catherine Grafton, the Catholic daughter of a landlord. A Puritan family, the Ringolds, rescues the heroine from a providential mishap. Her adventurous spirit beckons her on a journey with them, which takes her beyond the point of no return to her old life.

The author has thoroughly researched this tumultuous period, showing the details and the settings of the times. The writing brings to life the regional dialects of the characters.

The book is quite relevant for today, in many ways.

First, it can give us a better understanding of American history. What were the struggles of people of conscious in a land that did not tolerate religious freedom? What events in mother England drove the Puritans to such places like America?

Second, Jayne conveys the message of tolerance and understanding, much like the parable of the Good Samaritan. The heroine finds compassion from an unlikely source - those who are “the wrong religion.”

And last, in the uncertainty of the 1640s, Providence takes the heroine on a journey she could not have foreseen. Likewise, are not these uncertain times in twenty-first century America?

Since I have been researching life in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Europe, I was most interested in Jayne’s historical novel during such times. I liked this story because she humanized this period as narrated in the first person of the heroine. I would recommend this book not only to those who love a good yarn of adventure and romance, but to Anglophiles as well. It covers the few decades in the seventeenth century when England actually became a republic, which is fascinating.

eBook can be purchased at: synergebooks.com/ebook_windsofdestiny.html

Pages: 175
Words: 106,473
Reading Time: 304-425 minutes

Lord, be my rock of safety, the stronghold that saves me. For the honor of your name, lead me and guide me.
Psalm 30:3-4

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Forward? Why?

This Sunday, March 14, 2010, we "spring" forward, set our clocks ahead one hour, and lose one hour of sleep.


Daylight Saving Time (DST) .

Whose bright idea was this?

The one who said:

"Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. "
Benjamin Franklin (1706- 1790)

As an American envoy to France, Ben Franklin anonymously published a letter suggesting that families in Paris could save 64 million pounds of candle wax in six months by rising earlier to use morning sunlight. (Reference Benjamin Franklin: America's Inventor)

It took well over a hundred years for this American inventor's idea to catch on .... at least, in America.

Daylight Saving Time was first officially observed in the United States in 1918, during World War I, to save energy for war production. And during World War II, FDR instituted year-round Daylight Saving Time, called "War Time," from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945.

Between the World Wars and post World War II, communities observed the time change as they pleased. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time. Today, Arizona and Hawaii are the only US states that do not observe it.

In 2007, DST was extended by four weeks as part of the 2005 the Energy Policy Act. Yet, I can recall the earliest DST time of all. (Other than World War II. I'm not that old.)

The United States was reeling from its first major energy crisis, post World War II. Since the US took sides with Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Arab states aligned to punish Israel's allies with the Arab Oil Embargo. Hence, this embargo precipitated long gas lines, an energy crisis, a recession.

"On January 4, 1974, President Nixon signed into law the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973. Then, beginning on January 6, 1974, implementing the Daylight Saving Time Energy Act, clocks were set ahead." (Reference: Daylight Saving Time.)

Living in a northern state, I recall walking to school in the dark .... or in the moonlight ... when this law was enacted.

So March 14th? It could be worse. Could be all year round. Could be January 6th. And we could be in a war. Or another energy crisis. A recession. Wait. We are? Hmmm.

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
George Santayana
Picture from Wiki Commons: Ben Franklin