I’m sure you are all dying to know how the cats are doing now that Storm has been with us for a year. They are doing well! Pepper and Storm play with each other and Storm often mimics Pepper. Crystal and Storm can be in fairly close proximity now without hissing or friction. They have their favorite spots and their own routines.  Crystal is still there old hen cat who sleeps with us and sometimes emerges from the bedroom. Pepper loves his daily snuggles and often interrupts Storm’s games by showing her how it is done. Storm loves her pets while she eats and her daily play with me and a piece of string. She came to us gaunt and has compensated by overeating, so she is pretty pudgy now.  She and Pepper are both on a diet, we’ll see how that works!  


2016 Reading Challenge

Last February my brother, Jeremy, showed me a reading challenge that he thought I’d be interested in trying for the year. I had successfully tracked my reading in 2015, a project Mom had urged me to do since I was a kid. It turns out that tracking what you read is easy and helpful, I should have listened. Since tracking was now a habit, and I am competitive, I decided to try the Tim Challies challenge. Here is the list, with the titles that I ended up reading for each category:

Some of the categories were challenging, some I tweaked and I was overly ambitious on some of them, but I did finish and it was a good exercise. Tracking my reading, for a challenge or just because, makes me more aware of my mental intake and more intentional about the contents of that fodder. I think about others seeing my list and about whether I would need to justify that choice. 

The list encouraged me to read some books that I wouldn’t have otherwise, or wouldn’t have yet, and several were from perspectives that I disagree with. Still, reading the arguments in a person’s own words was helpful. I found that in several cases arguments I had heard summed up or quoted by others were used accurately, even statements that I was skeptical of proved to be almost exact quotes. Some books were difficult to wade through, but worth the work. Others were boring and I was unsure of their helpfulness. Some were fascinating, some informative, some very well written, and some all three. I don’t recommend every book that I read, but I do most of them. I also recommend the process. Even if it takes a few years to work through, it’s a valuable exercise. This year I chose to do my own thing, however, and am attempting to read the rest of the books that we own but I haven’t read, or haven’t read in many years. It may be a several year endeavor, as we are always expanding and refining our library!

Here is the complete list of my books read lasts year, with author and page counts:

New Year, Five Years

Five years ago we embarked on the next step in our crazy couple of months and got married! We still feel like newly weds in many ways, especially in our excitement in being together, but it is also hard to remember or imagine times without Fred. We have grown and changed and hurt and healed and rejoice in this mysterious picture and gift that is marriage. Five years down, a lifetime to go!

Fellowship of the Saints

One of the characteristics of Kodiak is that it is a transient community. Most people just don’t settle here for very long. We come for a year, two, maybe five, then move on, back to the lower 48 or mainland Alaska. To more real life. It makes it difficult to maintain friendships here, because good friends often move on. 
We have said goodbye to several good friends over the last four years. We’ve made others, but haven’t had consistent, close fellowship. We have had trouble finding iron friends, who sharpen us in our faith. We’ve had trouble finding friends to do things with regularly. We’ve missed the close relationships that come through regular conversation, frequent games, shared meals, walks and movie nights and laughter and heartache. We’ve prayed and cried many times for such fellowship. 

Over the last year, and especially over the last six months, God has been answering those prayers in a big way. In fullness of time, God suprised us with a sudden deepening of several friendships. It is almost like we just collectively reached a point of shared hunger and decided to dive together into a feast of fellowship, and it has been good. We’ve enjoyed games, murder mystery nights, potlucks, hikes, movie nights, centered around regular discussion and Bible study together. It has been good. 

There is now a core group of people who are like family, who pray for each other and memorize Scripture together and encourage each other and watching this going on around me fills my heart with joy, which is even greater because I get to be a part of it! 

“It is good for brothers to dwell in unity.”  Indeed it is. 

“Prepare the Way”

“Prepare the way,” the prophet said,
“The Lord is coming soon!
Make straight the path before Him
And let your heart sing in tune.”

Thus sang the rugged prophet
To a people tone deaf grown,
But some listened and repented,
For the light within them shown.

These repented and were washed new
By the water and the word.
They were reborn to a new life
With a new melody heard.

“Believe in Jesus and be saved,”
They sang in earnest tones.
This message is the theme of life
For valleys of dry bones.

We sing this song throughout our life,
Wherever He may send:
In this life for a short time,
Then a new song without end.

Copyright Jonelle Liddell 2015

Working up to a full post

I am psyching myself up for a full post, thinking about what to write.  In the meantime, I’ll tell you that we are healing and doing much better in general.  We are still in Kodiak, which continues to be an adventure in different ways (which I’ll elaborate on later).  Writing continues to happen in brief spurts, the last one being in November.  So here is the poem I wrote for my mom’s heavenly birthday.  And soon (hopefully!) there will more of a life update and As a happy note to the post though, I’ll include a recent family picture!


Birthday Thoughts

Happy Birthday, dear beloved!
How I miss you, but I see
It’s your one year celebration,
One year of eternity!

What wonders will you see today?
What heroes will you meet?
Who are the boon companions
That your heart delights to meet?

Do you have a favorite corner,
A beach where you fine rest
With the Savior who you loved most,
Him whose heart you followed best?

Maybe fruit will replace cake there,
As morsels from Life’s Tree,
With sweet sips of flowing water
Drawn straight from the Crystal Sea.

Do you party for these birthdays
Or are you busy at the gate
Where you welcome each new entrant
Fresh from shedding earthly weight?

He’s the Sun, so do you sleep there,
Between singing, stories, praise?
Or does adventure follow love
With no need to rest from grace.

How you must enjoy the lib’ries
Such a plethora of books,
The golden script of faithful saints,
The fire tested works.

Books and beaches, heav’nly music,
All the things you loved here most,
There you soul can drink without end
With the rest of Jordan’s host.

Yes, your day will be most happy,
Jesus sings the songs with you,
But we still mark the day with sadness
Until our turn to pass through.

Copyright Jonelle Liddell 2014