Archive for July, 2007

ALA Conference

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

Going to the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC was a wonderful experience!

I was especially thrilled by the chance to attend the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Award Banquet.  I loved this year’s Newbery winner, The Higher Power of Lucky, by Susan Patron, and it’s no surprise that Susan Patron is a fantastic speaker!  After all, she’s a wonderful writer, and she wrote her own speech.  It was funny, insightful–and I was thrilled to hear it in person.

The Caldecott speech by David Wiesner was also excellent.  And it was a treat to see the video tribute to James Marshall for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award.

In all, some of the high points of the conference were meeting authors–and getting advance review copies of their books.  Two ARC’s I’m especially excited about are Shannon Hale’s and Jerry Spinelli’s sequel to Stargirl, titled, Love, Stargirl.

The Printz Award Meeting and Reception was another highlight.  Unlike the Newbery Award, all of the honorees gave speeches, not just the big winner.  I thought the winner, Gene Luen Yang for American-Born Chinese, was absolutely brilliant.  And I’ve been a huge M. T. Anderson fan ever since I read Feed.  (Although I bought the book for my son for Christmas last year, I have not read his latest book, for which he won a Printz Honor.  But I will!)  I think his sense of humor is brilliant, and his insight into today’s culture is hard-hitting–both those things were clearly evident again in his speech.

I got to meet both of those authors at the YA Author Breakfast, and I will post pictures.  That breakfast was a whole lot of fun.  They said to “think speed dating,” and had the authors spending 10 minutes at each big round table.  It would have been nice if there were either more authors or fewer tables, but it was still a lot of fun.

More author talks were also highlights.  I guess I’m a writer at heart, and hearing other writers talk about their craft inspires me.  I’m also a new, idealistic library science student, very excited about finishing my degree this year and beginning a career as a librarian, with the glorious job of connecting people and books.

Other wonderful author talks were by Lois Lowry at the Margaret Edwards Luncheon, and Judy Blume.  So inspiring!

One place I didn’t expect to see authors was at the oh-so-fun Book Cart Drill Team Championships.  The hosts were Jon Scieszka and Mo Willems!  They are every bit as funny as the books they write, and I was thrilled to have front row seats to see them, even if the Book Cart Drill Teams hadn’t been so much fun.

Yes, I went to some workshops, too.  I enjoyed the one called “What’s the Big Idea?” about using story times to teach early math and science concepts.  It ties in well with the training we already received about early literacy.  There are many playful things you can do with kids that will teach them as well as providing a bonding experience.

But especially fun was browsing the booths and collecting ARC’s or buying inexpensive copies of books.  Now I have my old problem in full swing:  So many books, so little time!  I got smart after the first day, and brought a rolling bag to carry my loot.  I filled it each day!  Yikes!  Now there are some fantastic books sitting in my house waiting to be read!


Finish Well

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

As I travel on the journey of life, God keeps using Sunday’s sermons to touch my heart.

Here’s a link to last Sunday’s sermon:

Pastor Ed Allen is starting a series from I and II Kings.

It has not escaped me that this tied in beautifully with some verses that had struck me a few days before the sermon:

Jeremiah 31:3-4, 16-20 (New International Version):

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
I will build you up again
and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel.
Again you will take up your tambourines
and go out to dance with the joyful….”

This is what the Lord says:
“Restrain your voice from weeping
and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord.
“They will return from the land of the enemy.
So there is hope for your future,” declares the Lord.
“Your children will return to their own land.

“I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning:
‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf,
and I have been disciplined.
Restore me, and I will return,
because you are the Lord my God.
After I strayed, I repented;
after I came to understand,
I beat my breast.
I was ashamed and humiliated
because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’
Is not Ephraim my dear son
the child in whom I delight?
Though I often speak against him,
I still remember him.
Therefore my heart yearns for him;
I have great compassion for him.” declares the Lord.

With these verses, I was struck by how free God is to forgive and restore us.  We can blow it; we can reject Him completely.  But still He considers us His dear child; still He delights in us.

When Pastor Ed explained the overview of the sermon series in the books of Kings, he mentioned that these books, besides showing the downfall of Israel, also show how ready God is to forgive.  All He asks is–brokenness.  When Israel was broken and repentant, God freely forgave and restored them to His great love.

I thought that was a beautiful reference to the Jeremiah 31 passage–where Israel was actually broken and repentant, and God is freely restoring them, with no reproaches.

Brokenness–Not much fun.  But once we’ve gotten there, God can restore.

We talk about “broken homes.”  Well, if a marriage and family are broken, perhaps that puts them all the more in a position for God to restore.

God heals broken lives.  Can’t he also heal broken marriages?

Back to the sermon, the main point of the sermon was about Solomon.  He started out so well, and had so many things going for him.  But he did not finish well.

It’s rather ironic.  The man who penned the words, “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23), was also the one of whom it was said, “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been” (I Kings 11: 4).

We were reminded that the Christian life is an ongoing race.  It’s not time to sit back and rest on our laurels.  Wise Solomon was not wise in letting his wives turn him from God.

Good thoughts!

My New Blog

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

I’ve decided to move my blog from to my own site space.  If all goes well, I will set up a feed back to the blogger page, but do the original posting here.

This blog started as a travel blog, but now it’s transforming to all kinds of thoughts about life, especially what God is teaching me.  I will try to put a category title on each post in order to organize the posts.