Runnymede Presbyterian

The Betty Methley Memorial Library & Resource Centre

The Time Keeper

by Mitch Albom
Reviewed by Betty Stainton

In the beginning there were three children, Alli, Dor and Nim. Ali and Dor were mormal-size children but Nim was bigger, stronger and had more power.

Dor was a gentle boy who was afraid of time running out, so he spent his time measuring, first the hours, then days, then months and so on and on. This angered God who gave us enough to start with.

Only mankind measures time. We have time pieces everywhere. We have a desperate fear of time running out.

In time, Alli and Dor married. Dor was still measuring, when Nim came to him and asked if he would like to work on the big tower Nim was building. Nim wanted it to reach the sky and the gods who resided there. Then he would be the most powerful man on earth. Dor refused and Nim told him to go away or he would be forced to work on the tower.

After a few years, Alli became sick and Dor ran all the way to the tower so that he could climb it and beseech the gods to cure Alli. As he rushed to the top, the tower collapsed. Many workers were killed but Dor was catapulted into a cave. He wept and his tears formed a pool. For the next six thousand years Dor sat in that cave and listened to voices coming from that pool begging for more time. He became Father Time himself.

Two of the voices belonged to Sarah and Victor. Sarah was a teenager who was not popular. She was too bookish, too clever, too fat. Victor wanted to live forever. Victor was a very successful business man but he was very ill. Sarah was having boy trouble—after all don’t boys always kiss and tell. She wanted to end her life while Victor decided to embrace a cryonic tomb. Dor came from his cave to help these two navigate our time oriented world. To save himself he must stop the world and save them.

Time is a gift to us. So much and no more. Learn to use it wisely.

About the Author: Mitch is a gifted writer. He has written several books, among them Tuesday with Morrie – a best seller. He is an author, playwright, screen writer and lives in Michigan with his wife Janine. His books are an excellent read. Make time for them.

From Under a Blazing Aspen: Seeking Faith in the back of Beyond

by David Webber
Reviewed by Betty Stainton

David has written books about his growth in faith. He was not a church-goer in youth but his grandmother nourished his faith and nature enriched it until finally he entered the ministry of the Presbyterian Church. He is a country boy and embraces John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”.

The world around him has always been an inspiration. All his stories are prefaced with a description of how animals fascinate him, a season’s change or a spectacular sunset and then he finds a particular passage from scripture that is pertinent to that situation.

He tells stories of an eagle swimming to preserve her fish, an eagle robbing an osprey of it’s hard dinner, otters performing a ballet in the lake, foxes playing or being stalked by a cougar.

Churches, as buildings that need maintenance, are non-existent. Instead, people meet in homes. These meetings are non-denominational. David’s teammates are John Wyminga and Shannon Bell-Wyminga and together they cover a vast territory. People don’t live close to any one place.

David writes about visiting an elderly native and the topic turns to Mother Earth. The elder pints out that earth sustains her children, whether they are four-legged, two-legged, swim or fly and we are destroying this.

One night John was coming home late from a church house gathering. He paused, looked up at the starlit sky. He smiled, shook his head saying, “and they actually pay me to do this”.

Rural ministry in the Cariboo is hard work with many hours of driving on less than perfect roads. It is also extremely enjoyable. The people and the country make it that way.

David Webber is no stranger to us. He is a contributing editor to the Presbyterian Record and is a minister/missionary in the Cariboo-Chilcotin district of B.C.

Books authored by David Webber:

  • From Under a Blazing Aspen: Seeking Faith in the back of Beyond
  • And the Aspens Whisper: Listening for God in Nature’s Cathedral
  • Like a winter’s Aspen: Embracing the Creator’s fire
The Five People You Meet In Heaven

by Mitch Albom
Reviewed by Betty Stainton

To-day is Eddie’s birthday. He is an old man, embittered by the disappointments and hardships of life. He has a bad knee—a war injury—and other health complications. His work, as a maintenance man at an amusement park, frustrates him. He blames his father for being there. His father always used to say, “This ain’t good enough for you.” But the children think he’s great. “Hi, Mr. Maintenance Man,” they’d call out.

Little does Eddy know that this is his last day on earth. As the hours creep away, Eddie checks the rides to make sure all is well. Then he looks up! At the top of Freddy’s Free Fall a basket was hanging loose and the riders were hanging on for dear life. This was fixed by someone going to the top, unfastening the bar and pulling the riders to a safe platform. But a young girl was frantically calling for her mom and she was lying right in the path of the displaced car. Eddie grabs her and his life is over. He does not know if she lived. All he can feel is a pair of hands in his.

As Eddie gains his form, he wonders where he is. This does not look like the Heaven he imagined. Where is everyone? As time as he knows it goes by, Eddie meets five people, some of whom he didn’t even know. Each of these people had a profound influence in the actions and decisions Eddie made on earth. He meets his father and forgiveness on both sides result. He meets his wife, she died at forty-seven. The love they had is kindled anew. He learns from one that anger and resentment are poisons that affect the holder. He meets a little girl, Thala, who died due to Eddie’s war activities—his guilt trip. In the end it was Thala that brings him to heaven.

After his initiation, Eddie goes in the river and is washed clean of his trouble.

About the Author: Mitch Albom is a gifted writer and explores the unknown to bring hope to all. This fantasy is written to teach us that Heaven is where we finally learn what our life on earth was all about.

He is the author of Tuesdays with Morrie a best selling book about student and teacher.

Angels in Red Suspenders

by Ralph Milton
Reviewed by Betty Stainton

This book is fun. Some of the stories are really for good laughs, others for smiles but all are about joy—joy found in all situations. He concludes that spirituality divorced from humour leads to despair.

Angels, he thinks are people who love their neighbour and do good to those who hate them. As for the red suspenders, well, they’re to hold his pants up.

The book is divided into chapters. Each chapter has several stories pertaining to the title of that chapter. The trouble is that one leads to the next and first thing you know you have spent an hour or more reading.

There is no commandment in the Bible that says “Don’t have fun!” There is far more in the Bible about joy than anything else. Jesus told a rich young man to love God and other people as much as himself. “Tough” said the young man. “It sure is” said Jesus, grinning. “Getting a rich young man into heaven is as easy as getting a camel through the eye of a needle, but with God’s help it can be done.”

One of Ralph’s stories is about a very important young executive trying to cope with a Vancouver snow storm. He was trying to relate this to his son who lives in California only to be told that it never snows in Vancouver.

One of the Chapters is “How to Sleep through a Sermon.” Ralph sings in the bass section of the choir—in direct line with the minister’s (his wife) gaze. During one of her least inspired sermons, Ralph assumes the pose of the “thinker.” Trouble is, if he relaxes too much he could just roll over onto the contralto’s lap. He missed the sermon in church but he sure heard the one on the way home.

Ralph talks about the seven deadly sins: Wrath, Lust, Avarice, Gluttony, Sloth, Envy and Pride and how we, as a public service translate these seven slimy sins into vigorous virtues that are useful, fun and most of all profitable.

There are many such stories. The book is in our library. I hope you will read it.

Ralph Milton is a broadcaster, publisher, public speaker, author and angel. He is co-founder of Wood Lake Books and now lives in Kelowna B.C.

Old Turtle

by Douglas Wood

Long ago, an argument arose between mountains and rivers, stars and ants, lions and bears about the nature of God. A terrible cacophony of quarreling voices rang out until wise Old Turtle quelled the din, explaining that “God is all that we dream of, and all that we seek … all that we come from and all that we can find.”

In this powerful and profound book written by Douglas Wood and illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee, the animals and other beings of the Earth argue about God, describing God in their own images—as a wind who is never still, a rock that never moves, a swimmer, the shining sun, a river—until Old Turtle intervenes to say that God is all these and simply “IS.”

When people are created, the same old arguments begin and there is more discord. Then all the elements and animals of the Earth remind humans why they were created, thus demonstrating the healing power of the natural world.

This classic is recommended for children 5 years of age and older. Children may enjoy the beautiful pictures but I believe adults will get the most from this book. With sophisticated language and difficult ideas it is more of a picture book for adults than a children’s book.

God’s Dream

by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has a vision of God’s dream, which he shares here with the youngest of listeners. It involves people who reach out and hold each other’s hands, but sometimes get angry and hurt each other—and say they’re sorry and forgive. It’s a wish that everyone will see they are brothers and sisters, no matter their way of speaking to God, no matter the size of their nose or the shade of their skin. Aided by vibrant artwork evoking such images as a rainbow and a sharing circle, Tutu offers the essence of his ubuntu philosophy, a wisdom so clear and crystalline that even the smallest child can understand.

The Blessing Seed

by Caitlin Matthews

An enthralling new version of the world’s beginnings, using the Judeo-Christian creation story as a basis, supplemented with mystical interpretations. The first Man and Woman are thrilled with the new world that God has just created. But do they have a task in life? To find out, they decide to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge, despite the fact God told them not to touch the fruit until it is ripe. When they disobey his request, he explains to them that they now have four paths to choose from: the path of wonder, the path of emptiness, the path of making and the path of coming home.

God’s Paintbrush

by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

Children speak about God in ways that are different from adults. They ask many questions about God, questions that can be startlingly direct. Oftentimes adults—parents, grandparents, and teachers—feel uncomfortable answering them. Through fantasy, involvement, and imagination, Sandy Sasso and Annette Compton invite children of all faiths and backgrounds to encounter God openly through moments in their own lives and help the adults who love them to be a part of that encounter. This book provides a gift of images that nurtures and encourages children in making meaning of their world.

With over 100,000 copies in print, God’s Paintbrush remains one of the most popular spiritual books for children of all faiths, all backgrounds.

God’s Quiet Things

by Nancy Sweetland

This book encourages young children to stop, look and listen to the world around them. They may be surprised at what they see and hear. Simple rhyming text accompanies bold, colourful illustrations. The lyrics show children the marvellous things they can discover by looking and listening and the soft pastel illustrations reveal that God’s quiet things are always there just waiting to be discovered. “Listen for God’s quiet things, like butterflies with velvet wings, or raindrops making quiet rings on water …”

Psalm Twenty-Three

Illustrated by Timothy Ludwig

The love, fear, and faith of one of the most beautiful psalms find expression in a picture book set in a contemporary urban neighborhood. Glowing, realistic paintings of two African American children in a warm extended family illustrate the lines of the psalm, taking the kids through one day from early morning to night. Through this powerful series of illustrations, artist Tim Ladwig delivers the inspirational message of hope and rebirth found in the Twenty-Third Psalm. The words of the ancient psalm seem even more relevant against the backdrop of the inner city.