Archive for August, 2011

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

More ways to enter for a mystery prize

I’ve been watching out here in Australia for gifts for winners of one of the Mystery Prizes from Down Under. Today, I added 3 more opportunities to add your name for the drawing. Go on over to my travel blog, Tell Me When to Pack, and throw your name in.

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Monday, August 29th, 2011

Remembering Daddy

Today is the anniversary of my father’s birth on August 29, 1922, so he would have been 89 years old this year.

Johnny wrote this poem in honor of Daddy and read it at his funeral. Psalm 1 was one of his favorite passages of scripture.


In Memory of Dr. George Henry
Reflections on Psalm 1


No tree however deep the roots,
However high and green the shoots,
However strong the trunk has stood,
Or firm the fibers of the wood,
No tree was ever meant to be
A never-ending shade for me
Or you.  Save one: where Jesus died
With bleeding branches spread as wide
And far as faith for sinful men.


But there was shade, especially when
The tree was old: the leaves were thick
With life, and though the root was sick,
The bark deep-creased with age, the limbs
Were laden down with love, and hymns
Were heard beneath when wind bestirred
The bowing branches with the Word
Of heaven.  O there were years of shade!


And more: there was the fruit he made,
Or better, bore, when all the ground
Seemed dry, we turned again and found
The branches heavy with some rare
Well-watered food and sweet called Care.
There must have been a river there
Beneath the arid earth somewhere
Deep-flowing up around the tips
Of dying roots and giving sips
Of everlasting life for him
To share with us while every limb
Gave up its own.  O, there was fruit!
Life-giving from the dying root.


And more.  Much more.  There was the wood
And it was strong.  It had withstood
A thousand storms, and everyone
More firm.  And now for every son,
Grandchild and every daughter here
He lies a fallen tree and dear,
And leaves in you the solid wood
And bids you stand where he has stood
Beside the river of the Word,
And that you keep what you have heard,
And sing with him in one accord:
“My fruitful house will serve the Lord.”


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Sunday, August 28th, 2011

One of our first real dates

Today when I was skimming through the blogs I subscribe to, I was reminded of one of the first real dates Johnny and I had. Real means we planned ahead and went somewhere, as opposed to the impromptu “Want to go to Dipper Dan’s for an ice cream cone?” after the evening service at Wheaton Bible Church.

One summer Saturday we and two other couples piled into the van that belonged to one of the guys, and we spent the day at “the dunes.” The Encyclopaedia Britannica Blog calls Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore an off-the-beaten-path venue.

There are several reasons for me to remember that day–all embarrassing.

1. Not being very adept at make-up, I wore mascara. When we ventured into the water, it dribbled down my cheeks. Johnny asked, “Why do you wear that stuff?”

2. On the way home, Johnny “casually” eased his arm toward the back of the seat behind me–just to rest his arm, you know–and jabbed his elbow into my eye.

3. The next day my sunburn had fully developed–all on one side. Why? Because I felt it wouldn’t be polite to turn my back on Johnny and so while we were lying on our towels in the sun, I always had my face turned toward him .

Thank God, he’s brought us a long way since those first uncomfortable days.


Make sure your name is entered at my travel blog, Tell Me When to Pack, for one of the Mystery Prizes from Down Under. So far, you can enter up to 3 times–#1 and #2 and #3.

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Friday, August 26th, 2011

Come on along

Having 2 blogs now feels a little like having 2 children. I don’t want to favor one child over the other. You, my readers here at, are my first child. And right now, I’m off traveling in Australia with my 2nd-born, Tell Me When to Pack.

Thing is, you don’t have to stay behind. I want to take both my “children” with me.

So today, for example, come on along and find out what Johnny had to say about teenage idols.


You can also make sure your name is entered for one of the Mystery Prizes from Down Under. So far, you can enter up to 3 times–#1 and #2 and #3.

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Thursday, August 25th, 2011

The Help

I’ve been thinking I want to reread The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. It’s been some time, and I remember that my main opinion was that it was a very good story, very well and realistically told. I want the book to be fresh in my mind in case I go see the film.

I recommend Thabiti Anyabwile’s thoughtful, detailed review of the book. Even if you’re not sure you’ll read The Help, it’s worth reading Thabiti’s thoughts from his perspective of having been a child whose mother worked as a domestic in a white home in the South.


Reminder: You can follow our time in Australia at my new blog, Tell Me When to Pack.

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Sunday, August 21st, 2011

My new blog takes wing

Today is the inauguration of my new blog, Tell Me When to Pack. From now on, that’s where you’ll find my travel-related posts. The rest of life will still be here at Noel Piper.

I hope you’ll visit. First up, there’s a chance to win a mystery gift from Down Under.

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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Music for the last days of summer

Relaxing, carefree summer days . . . . Sounds good, and there were a few days like that.

But the last days of summer have revved up. Getting ready to fly on Sunday to Australia (more on that later–not too much later, I hope). Last minute curriculum choices for home school beginning in just 2 weeks, as soon as we return home. AND hurrying to have my new travel blog ready before I travel at the end of the week (more on that soon too–really soon).

So, my background music today needed to be calming enough to slow the spinning wheels, but not peaceful enough to put me to sleep. I found it — X5 Sampler of Adagios. To add to the pleasure, the download is totally free.


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Friday, August 5th, 2011

Pulling heroes out of hiding

I want you to meet my cousin Rebecca.

Her beauty is not only on her face, but in her heart. Her heart is huge and keeps her looking toward far corners of history and geography, on the lookout for the works of God in people’s lives.

I am thankful that in her books she shares her discoveries with us.

She wrote first about more well-known historical figures– Amy Carmichael, George Mueller, and Fanny Crosby.

Her most recent books are the beginning of her Hidden Heroes series– With Two Hands: Stories of God at Work in Ethiopia and The Good News Must Go Out: Stories of God at Work in the Central African Republic.

Obviously, there’s another book underway. Rebecca tweets teasers, and is posting chapters on her blog.

You go, girl!






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Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Rediscovering Wendell Berry

Sometimes I forget about an author I’ve really liked. Then when I’m reminded of that person, it’s like discovering him or her all over again. Today I rediscovered Wendell Berry who has written many books, both fiction and nonfiction.

During this month of August, ChristianAudio is offering a free download of his novel, Hannah Coulter. Seeing this offer, I remembered how much I’ve enjoyed his books in the past. The most recent I’d read–too long ago–was Jayber Crow.

One reviewer says: “The prose is luminous. It’s like Berry found a way to turn his poetry into a novel.”




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Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

An introvert thinks about friendship

When the folks at Tabletalk asked if I’d write an article about women and friendship, I was honored and agreed.

Then I panicked. On the introvert-extrovert spectrum, I’m way over toward the introvert end. That means I’m more energized by being alone than by being with people. What in the world could I say about friendship that could be helpful to anyone?

With the hope that I’m not the only introvert in the world, I submitted an article that was published in the July issue of Tabletalk. My story was posted on their blog.

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