Author Robert McCloskey is an author of classic children’s books. I have read some of them many times with my students and with my own children. This may sound cheesy, but when I read one, it’s like visiting with an old friend. Some of our experiences in New England have almost made me feel as if I was living inside of McCloskey’s books. And I’m loving it!
We have picked wild blueberries on the side of a hill, just like in “Blueberries for Sal.” And we used them to enjoy some delicious blueberry pancakes. McCloskey writes about “One Morning in Maine” and we had our own afternoon and evening in Maine when we visited Freeport and Old Orchard Beach.
Perhaps best of all, we had the full “Make Way for Ducklings” experience at Boston’s Public Garden. We saw one thing after the other that looked just like the book! There was the garden, the swan boats, the island for nesting, and even some little ducklings waddling around. For a former elementary school teacher like me, that’s probably more exciting than meeting your favorite cartoon characters at Disneyland!
It’s time for “the Acts of the Apostles.” If you don’t know, this book of the Bible is the fifth book in the New Testament and comes right after the Gospel of John. Here are some of my favorite quotes so far:
Chapter 2, verse 24 when Peter is speaking to the crowd about Jesus- “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”
Chapter 4, verse 12 when Peter speaks to the religious leaders about Jesus- “Salvation is found in no one else, there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
Chapter 5, verses 38 and 39. A religious leader named Gamamiel gives some wise advice about how to deal with the followers of Jesus- “Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
Someday in heaven, I want to ask these men from Acts how much they knew from the beginning of their work. When Jesus left to go up to heaven in chapter 1, did they have any idea what their lives were going to be like from then on? Did they understand the persecution that was coming? And did they realize how God was going to use them to change the world? Did Luke understand that this letter he wrote would someday be a part of what we consider to be God’s Holy Word, the Bible? I guess I’ll just have to wait awhile to get those answers.
In the meantime, I’ll keep reading and learning what I can here on earth. It’s encouraging to read about God building his church because I know that he still does that today. I don’t have to be some guy from the first century living in Jerusalem to be used by God. I’m thankful that God also uses 40-year-old housewives from the Pacific Northwest living in the 21st century.
New Hampshire was fantastic! No agenda, no appointments. Just relaxation at a slow pace. This really is a beautiful part if the world. It has towns sitting at the base of mountains with lots if shops and restaurants for tourists. And there are lots of activities for outdoor sports, like hiking and mountain biking in the summer, and downhill and cross-country skiing in the winter. Does that sound familiar to any friends and family back in Central Oregon? Yes, it sounded familiar to us, too.
There are some differences, though. The mountains are shorter, the history is longer, the churches are older, and some people have a hard time pronouncing “Oregon” correctly. And there are a whole lot more maple trees around here. All that syrup has to come from somewhere, right?
Now we’re ready for the next stop: Boston!