Re-read: Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins

26 04 2014

The first time I read this I didn’t enjoy it that much, and I read it so quickly so as to find out what happens that I forgot most of it! My housemate would talk about a major plot point and I wouldn’t even remember that it happened, so ready for the first part of the film release later this year, I thought I should read it again!

I enjoyed it much more this time, and I did exactly the same as last time in that I read the last 150 pages (“part iii”) in pretty much one sitting other than stopping for lunch.

I still don’t like the end, I wanted it to end a little differently, but the story is strong, it still twists and turns right up until the end. Definitely a book that hooks you in.

But as we’re due the film soon, I still think I’ll avoid spoilers and just say I misjudged it a little last time, and it really is good!


Edit: 2nd May 2014

I can’t believe in my re-writing this, I forgot the major bit I intended to mention!

There’s a conversation between a couple of characters relatively early on in the book, which is set in the future. It seems to be to be a very direct comment on us:

“If we win, who would be in charge of the government?” Gale asks.

“Everyone, “Plutarch tells him. “We’re going to form a republic where the people of each district and the Capitol can elect their own representatives to be their voice in a centralized government. Don’t look so suspicious; it’s worked before.”

“In books,” Haymitch mutters.

“In history books,” says Plutarch. “And if our ancestors could do it, then we can, too.”

Frankly our ancestors don’t seem much to brag about. I mean look at the state they left us in, with the wars and the broken planet.Clearly they didn’t care about what wold happen to the people who came after them. But the republic idea sounds like an improvement over our current government.

“And if we lose?” I ask.

Easter Sunday – song snippets

20 04 2014

Following on from Friday’s post

The last one is sometimes know as “The resurrection hymn”, and I couldn’t just pick out one verse, so you’ve got the whole thing plus a video 🙂

“Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
let the Church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing;
for her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting.”

“There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine – Bought with the precious blood of Christ.”

“The greatest day in history, Death is beaten
You have rescued me
Sing it out Jesus is alive
The empty cross, The empty grave
Life eternal You have won the day
Shout it out Jesus is alive”

“In the grave God did not leave Him
For His body to decay
Raised to life – the Great Awakening
Satan’s pow’r He overcame”

“See what a morning gloriously bright
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem
Folded the grave-clothes tomb filled with light
As the angels announce Christ is risen
See God’s salvation plan
Wrought in love borne in pain paid in sacrifice
Fulfilled in Christ the Man
For He lives Christ is risen from the dead

See Mary weeping “Where is He laid?”
As in sorrow she turns from the empty tomb
Hears a voice speaking calling her name
It’s the Master the Lord raised to life again
The voice that spans the years
Speaking life stirring hope bringing peace to us
Will sound till He appears
For He lives Christ is risen from the dead

One with the Father Ancient of Days
Through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty
Honour and blessing glory and praise
To the King crowned with power and authority
And we are raised with Him
Death is dead love has won Christ has conquered
And we shall reign with Him
For He lives Christ is risen from the dead”

It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming – S.M. Lockridge

19 04 2014

This is often credited to Tony Campolo, but that’s only because he quotes it from S.M. Lockridge (the guy who did the “That’s my King” sermon) – and below is only an extract from the full 45 minute sermon!

I posted the first part of this on facebook yesterday, and will post the second part tomorrow, but I wanted to put it together all in one place, so Easter Saturday seemed a good day to do that!

“It’s Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter’s denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. But Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. But Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. But Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. See Him walking to Calvary, the blood dripping from His body. See the cross crashing down on His back as He stumbles beneath the load. It’s Friday; but Sunday’s a coming.
It’s Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, “Father, forgive them.” It’s Friday; but Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God who will not abide with sin pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, “My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?” What a horrible cry. But Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. And at the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil of the Temple that separates sinful man from Holy God was torn from the top to the bottom because Sunday’s coming.
It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that’s because it’s Friday, and they don’t know it, but Sunday’s a coming.
And on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of Calvary. Satan thought that he had won the victory. Surely he had destroyed the Son of God. Finally he had disproved the prophecy God had uttered in the Garden and the one who was to crush his head had been destroyed. But that was Friday.

Now it’s Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn’t the only thing that was shaking because now it’s Sunday. And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb.
Yes, it’s Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it’s Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says. He is risen indeed.
It’s Sunday, and the crucified and resurrected Christ has defeated death, hell, sin and the grave.
It’s Sunday. And now everything has changed. It’s the age of grace, God’s grace poured out on all who would look to that crucified lamb of Calvary. Grace freely given to all who would believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary was buried and rose again. All because it’s Sunday.”

Good Friday – song snippets

18 04 2014

Just a few verses from different songs focussing on the Good Friday part of the story… come back on Sunday for part 2!

“Through the kisses of a friend’s betrayal,
He was lifted on a cruel cross;
He was punished for a world’s transgressions,
He was suffering to save the lost.
He fights for breath, He fights for me,
Loosing sinners from the claims of hell;
And with a shout our souls are free –
Death defeated by Immanuel.”

“Behold the man upon a cross, my sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life – I know that it is finished.”

“Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.”

“I may not know of the pain of His passion,
But I believe that in my place he stood:
That I may know freedom and live in forgiveness,
For I am redeemed by His great love.”

“And when I think of God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.”

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

17 04 2014

I sat my GCSE’s in 2004, including English Literature. English was never my strong point, I’m a maths and science girl, and much as I read like crazy as a younger child – Secondary School English really put me off, I didn’t read books for leisure properly for years afterwards (other than Harry Potter maybe!).

The book that was chosen for our exam was To Kill A Mockingbird. I read a couple of chapters of it, and watched the film, and then the night before the exam tried to cram in a few more chapters, and came out with a C grade overall, and everyone was happy.

But a couple of months later I decided to read the book and try to read it properly. It then sat on my shelf until a month or so ago, when I finally picked it up to read properly this time, and it was fantastic! No wonder people rave about it, but when as a 15 year old you’re made to sit there and analyse the placement and choice of every single work then it is impossible to enjoy the story. (Maybe that’s why these blogs I do on books I’ve read can’t really be classed too much as “reviews!)

Reading for leisure, I really enjoyed this. The book has two main storylines, which kind of take turns to be told, but I was laughing at point, sad at others, and genuinely couldn’t see what was coming next! If you failed to read this at school, do try again – it’s worth it!

To Kill a Mockingbird

North, South, East and West

14 04 2014

For a long time I’d never left NW Europe, then a year or so ago, I started to go a bit further….

This time 2 years ago

Furthest North: Groningen, The Netherlands
Furthest South: Saint Jean de Monts, France
Furthest East: Berlin, Germany
Furthest West: Lands End, England

In a year’s time

Furthest North: North Queensferry, Scotland
Furthest South: Kampala, Uganda
Furthest East: Kampala, Uganda
Furthest West: Lands End, England

…Looks like I need to stretch west next!

Prayer & Opportunities

6 04 2014

Last night I watched Evan Almighty, I’m going to go and see Noah tomorrow, so thought I may as well watch something ‘similar’!

In the film you get this quote, which I always find really interesting.

“If someone prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience, or the opportunity to be patient?
If they prayed for courage does he give them courage or the opportunity to be courageous?
If someone prayed for their family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or gives them opportunities to love each other?”

I think on one level this definitely has some validity, if we ask God for something and then don’t try it given the opportunity, then of course it won’t happen.

But what about when someone is in an awful situation where all we want to pray for them is peace and strength. They already have the opportunity to exhibit those things, so does this really apply then?

What do you think?!

Philippians 4

5 04 2014

Verses from this chapter seem to be everywhere I go at the moment.

We’ve just done it in church and at housegroup, and I just keep seeing it quoted on twitter, on facebook, in devotionals, all sorts of places. So I thought today I’d just read it through again in one go, and share…

It’s full of so many “quoteable” verses, so many nuggets of wisdom and things to reflect on. Each time I read it, something else jumps out at me!

I was going to bold some of my favourite bits, but actually I don’t want to influence your reading of it, so I’m just going to leave it as is… enjoy.

Closing appeal for steadfastness and unity

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Final exhortations

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Thanks for their gifts

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Final greetings

Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Self confidence

2 04 2014

Self confidence has always been a bit of an issue for me in that I’ve never had much.

In the last year or two, with the help of some amazing friends, and just general sorting myself out, this has grown, and I’m much more comfortable in my skin, and definitely less shy of things (at least, compared to what I used to be).

That said, you never want to be over confident, and I worried last week that I reached that.

At house group on Thursday I kept finding myself chipping in, far too often, and I realised I’ve been doing this more and more.

And now it’s time to cut back.

So where is the line? What makes you too over confident, and what means you don’t have enough?

April Fools 2014

1 04 2014

Here we go – year 5 of the April Fool’s Round-Up

Links are just in the order I found them, and I’ve put some of my favourites in bold if you only have a few minutes!

In related news, I really hoped this was an April Fool but it seems not….
Nick Griffin says foodbanks are for indigenous Brits only
as the tweet was done in march