A Special Lady-Helen McSpadden

I remember…

a photo of a woman
A Special Lady

Yes, I remember countless times of sitting around and talking in the Beachhouse at family reunions in Myrtle Beach. The conversation would often drift to events growing up in Copperas Cove. Aunt Margaret would sometimes tell the story about tubing down the river and having a “wardrobe malfunction” in front of her son. We always managed to at least touch on matters of faith and life. Most topics were open will for discussion: religion and politics were included.

Granted, most of the voices were mostly in unison. The dissidents tended to keep their voices quiet out of respect. Who knew that 2° could cause so much friction!

Aunt Helen As a Postage Stamp

I also remember LAUGHING together, all of us! “Air-Conditioning Wars” kept several of us busy for a while.

Since yesterday, we all will have to rely on our memories to see Aunt Helen. She moved from Church Militant to Church Triumphant rather unexpectedly. We are just now realizing how much we will miss her.

It is easy to take people for granted.

Until you can’t.

She has been a gift to us all.

LCMS Life Conference

Rev. Robert Zagore, Executive Director of the LCMS Office of National Mission, talks about the 2019 LCMS Life Conference. Learn more about the Life Conference at calendar.lcms.org/event/2019-lcms-life-conference.

Midterm Elections and the Religious Community

Washington observer Tim Goeglein joins moderator Kip Allen to discuss the implications of the 2018 elections for the religious community.

LISA READS a couple of books on writing

Today, I finished reading two similar books:

  • 30 Day Novel Workbook: Write a Novel in a Month with the Plot-As-You-Write System by Lynn Johnston
  • 30 Day Novel (How to Write a Book in a Month) by Tara Maya

They didn’t make it to my personal “top 10 list” of favorite books that I can’t wait to read it again. They probably aren’t bad. In fact, I think these books may be better than I think they are. I’ve just been coming to the conclusion that, instead of talking about writing and reading about writing I NEED TO SHUT UP AND WRITE! I am done, Done, DONE with this kind of book.


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LISA READS: Camino Island by John Grisham

Lisa Reads… A Game of Thrones

Lisa Reads: A Clash of Kings

LISA READS: Camino Island by John Grisham

I have been intending to review this audiobook for a week now. Guilt from not working on my NANOWRIMO novel Getting in the way, so I did absolutely nothing. For now, I’m declaring a moratorium on that guilt. I’m declaring December to be LISAnowrimo! I put it on my Google calendar, and everything! For now, I’m forbidding myself to work on that thing until December.

Of course, if I decide to treat it like I treat most “forbidden fruit,” I’ll be hard at work before then.

Instead, I’m doing a few other things… Like reviewing books.

I’ve been told that most people prefer video commentary to written commentary. That seems weird to me. Still, I’m curious… Which way do you prefer getting book reviews?

Not that I will listen. I will do what I want to do anyhow, maybe. I think. Maybe not.


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Lisa Reads… A Game of Thrones

LISA READS a couple of books on writing

Lisa Reads: A Clash of Kings

Lisa Reads… A Game of Thrones

I should have been working on NaNoWriMo, so I read a book instead. Maybe, since it’s an audiobook, I claim it was research… YEAH! That’s the ticket!


Lisa Reads… A Game of Thrones
A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1
By: George R. R. Martin
Narrated by: Roy Dotrice

This story is Complex, Rich, Flawed, and WONDERFUL!

I didn’t necessarily want to start this series, it is so popular. My taste often runs contrary to popular taste.

In addition, I received innumerable versions of the same bit of advice: Don’t become attached to any of the characters. Odds are, they will die.

It’s true. George RR Martin is more than willing to sacrifice characters when the story needs this to happen. It doesn’t occur randomly, though. He is a master of foreshadowing and he does it subtly. Some of the texture of the story comes from this deft hand. When certain events happen in the last 100 pages, I remember imagery from the first 30 pages that I thought was lovely but unnecessary. He told us PRECISELY what he was going to do, but hid it well in plain sight.

This is a complex story. I still don’t know if I know who all the characters are in just this book. I know some of them fairly well, but like real people in real life… Most of who and what they are lies hidden.

Some of the cultures remind me of peoples from history. Similar flaws and strengths show up in unexpected ways. Characters that you think are completely evil, sometimes show deep humanity. Others that you respect and love, betray those they come into contact with. And yet, sometimes others get their just desserts.

Many people should NOT read this book. It is sometimes quite bleak in its understanding of humans. It is sometimes brutal. It is sometimes almost unendurable. I don’t like it.

And yet, this is an excellent book. I am in awe of the skill that George RR Martin shows in storytelling.

Will I read the next book? Yes. I need to read a couple of others, first. I need to decompress.

A word about the reader, Roy Dotrice… I enjoyed his performance. People seem to either love or hate the way he handles characterization and voices. I thought it worked well.


Related Posts:https://lmstapp.com/2019/01/21/lisa-reads-a-clash-of-kings/

LISA READS: Camino Island by John Grisham

LISA READS a couple of books on writing

Lisa Reads: A Clash of Kings

Religious Liberty in Culture and Courts

Gregory P. Seltz, PhD, Executive Director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty (LCRL), joins host Kip Allen to discuss issues concerning people of faith in current events, current culture, and the court system. Learn more about the LCRL at lcrlfreedom.org.

Lisa Reads…

The Samurai

The SamuraiThe Samurai by Shūsaku Endō
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and/but think that what you get out of it is what you bring to it. Granted, I will have to read this one again to test the theory. My tastes and suppositions seem to been strengthened while reading THE SAMURAI.

Things that I particularly noted and appreciated:
-While I am used to books that paint Jesus into something that looks good on a Hallmark greeting card, this one reminded me of how truly strange it may seem to worship a dying man on the cross. It’s even weirder that this is God-made-flesh, coming with the purpose of bringing those who are offended by Him back into relationship with the Trinitarian God of the Bible.
-Baptism works. Sometimes it works in spite of the person being baptized.

Is it a perfect book? No. Is the theology always great? No. This is a work of historical fiction. It works well on multiple levels. It leaves me wishing for more. Sometimes, it left me cold. Sometimes I was offended. (That’s okay. Sometimes it is necessary to be offended to grow.)

View all my reviews

Happy “Clergy Appreciation Month”

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

1 It is also taught among us that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God by our own merits, works, or satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith,
2 when we believe that Christ suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us.
3 For God will regard and reckon this faith as righteousness, as Paul says in Romans 3:21–26 and 4:5.
1 To obtain such faith God instituted the office of the ministry, that is, provided the Gospel and the sacraments.
2 Through these, as through means, he gives the Holy Spirit, who works faith, when and where he pleases, in those who hear the Gospel.
3 And the Gospel teaches that we have a gracious God, not by our own merits but by the merit of Christ, when we believe this.
4 Condemned are the Anabaptists and others5 who teach that the Holy Spirit comes to us through our own preparations, thoughts, and works without the external word of the Gospel.
1 It is also taught among us that such faith should produce good fruits and good works and that we must do all such good works as God has commanded,6 but we should do them for God’s sake and not place our trust in them as if thereby to merit favor before God.

Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959), 30–32.

These articles in the Augsburg Confession are tied together. Our JUSTIFICATION is from God, worked by faith. Faith doesn’t sprout willy-nilly from the air, THE OFFICE OF THE HOLY MINISTRY (A.K.A. PASTORS) preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments. The Holy Spirit works faith in those who hear The Gospel. After faith works, THE NEW OBEDIENCE begins showing up in our lives as a way to thank our God for these extraordinary gifts.

If God chooses to work through plain old human beings, far be it from me to argue. Pastors, their wives, and children certainly have targets painted on their backs!

We get to thank them for their work this month. This article is a lousy way to do it, but it’s my way to start.

Happy GET ORGANIZED WEEK?!? Who knew!

I admit it. A couple of days ago, I was surfing the web when I should’ve been writing. Guilt about my lousy efforts at writing in September was probably leaking into October, but I didn’t know it at the time. It was just easier than actually writing.

Naturally, I justified my surfing by saying that I needed it for story research. Yeah… Okay. I suppose that everything I absorb will probably find its way into my writing. Eventually. If I actually WRITE instead of frittering all my writing time away looking for LOL cats or videos of fractals to mesmerize myself. (Although… That video about that guy forging obsidian into a sword is really tugging at my subconscious. It NEEDS a story!)

man looking defeated under a mountain of paper
Drowning under a Mountain of Paper
Photo credit: allispossible.org.uk on
Visualhunt.com CC BY-NC

One of the potentially useful websites has lists of weird holidays to celebrate. According to that site, today starts GET ORGANIZED WEEK.

How depressing! That just isn’t my strong suit or favorite hobby!

So… I created a “content calendar” for this month. Monday is my day to post here. We will see how well I do at that. I also have another blog and a diary. Tuesday is for the other blog, Wednesday is for the diary. I will probably tell you whether I’m keeping it, but only if I’m doing well.

While I probably should have my head examined, I decided to take a break from the short story class that I’m struggling with. I am plotting a novel this month. I’m planning on trying NaNoWriMo. Maybe.

Since some of the homeschooling families at my church are forming a kids’ writing club, I’m helping with that.

I think my motto is when in doubt, start more projects! At least it keeps me from organizing stuff…