LOVE This Book!

0714171121eThis just came in, so daughter Amanda is reading it to grandson Oliver. I got to help with a bit of editing on this book — my favorite by Leanna. The graphic artist and illustrator are the same as for Bizarre Bible Stories 2!, and they did a terrific job on this one.  OK, maybe the pictures are what makes it my favorite. Here is the endorsement I wrote for the back.

Reading My Little Red Jalopy was a delight, bringing me back to summer days as a kid, with school far away and a drooling dog in my lap. The ingredients are simple. An imaginative writer inspired by the common joys of kid life, coupled with outstanding artwork. The result is true reading indulgence. Like all truly great Children’s books, I enjoy it as much as my grandkids.

Dan Cooley

Author, Bizarre Bible Stories

2 Adventures Coming!

packingAdventure #1: we leave for Maranatha Ministries in Port-au-Prince TOMORROW. We will keep you updated on overweight bags allowed in, on-time flights, kids saved and mosquitoes killed. We are taking 20 bags, 50 pounds each, plus our carry-ons that contain our stuff. Check out the towel pile in the back! Also, buy God’s grace our new church was able to raise over $15000 to help out with English Camp. It’s been a good year. Now the adventure begins….


Second – My Little Red Jalopy by Leanna Craig Lebato comes out any day now. Illustrations are by Jose Ramos, the same guy who did Bizarre 2. Editing my me, but it’s still a fun book. Check out her killer website here. 

My Little Red.jpg


2 Silver Lining Myths, and a daughter who loves living at home.


IMG_0023-1 Max about 11 years ago.

There is no such thing as life’s “Silver Lining.”

My husband and I have moved in with my parents until September. That’s not my anti-silver lining point… My parents are visiting family in Texas and we are watching my mom’s favorite child, Max – a Bernese Mountain dog a little larger than a minivan. He is old and smelly. Like most minivans.

This morning my husband took our son Memphis downstairs to eat breakfast while I got ready for work. Shortly after, I heard him yelling, “THERE’S POOP AND PUKE EVERYWHERE.” Quickly and to my utter relief, Jon brought me Memphis and returned downstairs to clean.

Do you remember the scene from Jurassic Park where they’re taking Triceratops samples? If you happen to be the proud owner of a dog the size of a minivan, and they get sick in your house this is what you can…

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A Cooley Hymn

0964862-R1-E039-1Those of you who know me know of my phenomenal musical talent.

I have none.

So, this poem was written by my sister Janice, music written and performed by my brother David, posted by me. The picture above I had made from a slide of David and Janice when my parents were missionaries in France in the early 50s. They are old now.




4/4, 102 bpm, D                                                                                    Words: Janice Cooley Jones

Music: Dave Cooley

D                                       F#

Make sure of your footing, while loved ones are slipping.

G                              D                  A
While grasping at sin, they scoff at your stand.
D                                        F#
They’ve had godly learning; they’ve had the equipping.

G                                   D           A
Now shunning the power, they label it bland.

G                             D
Pray. Dig your roots deeper;

G                                 D
Watch God make you stronger.

G                   D                        G                 A       A
Trust Him and serve Him; your faith He’ll expand.
D                               F#

They deny God is loving, and run from His mercy.
G                                     D                    A
They dishonor His word as they break His commands

D                                          F#
World’s pleasures are fleeting.  God knows how much longer

G                                              D                   A
They’ll struggle. When humbled, they’ll reach for His hand.



G                                               D

Lord, give them perspective, while opposing and provoking,
G                                                   D                           A

Lord, give them perspective-while they chase the world’s charms,

G                                                     D

Lord, give them perspective-while they’re fighting your pleading
G                                            D             A
They’re not making progress, they’re sinking in sand.
G                             D
Pray. Dig your roots deeper;

G                                  D
Watch God make you stronger.

G                   D                        A      G        D
Trust Him and serve Him; your faith He’ll expand.


G                   D                        A      G        D
Trust Him and serve Him; your faith He’ll expand.

The Last Battle

last battleThe Last Battle: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good Quote: Possibly the greatest picture of Heaven outside of the Bible is given in the last chapter of this book. I won’t put all that here, but just the end of the end. Which is, I think, the best kids book ending ever written.

“”Have you not guessed?” … “There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of you are—as you used to call it in the Shadowlands—dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.” …

 All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

The Bad: This is CS Lewis. He doesn’t write bad. Period.

The Ugly: Off all the Narnia stories, this is the saddest. You can feel the frustration and disappointment of the characters – until the final chapter. I love it.


The Nones Have It

Will the Nones really have it? I love the Lewis quote in here about translation. I never thought of his writing that way, but his writings were a translator of sorts for me. Makes me realize the importance of my translation for others.

Mere Inkling

noneThe arrival of the “post-Christian” Western world is ahead of schedule. Great Britain just passed the point where those with “no religious preference” actually outnumber those who profess to be Christians.

With Europe leading the way, can North America be far behind?

You know what makes this even more shocking? The results come from a survey where all the people claiming to be disciples of Jesus needed to do, was simply check a box. One wonders how many among that 48% would still claim to be Christians if they lived in Iraq.

Ponder for a moment the sobering title of an article in London’s The Spectator.

“Britain Really is Ceasing to be a Christian Country.”

The secularization of the United Kingdom was a matter of great concern to C.S. Lewis. And this erosion was well underway during his lifetime.

The truth is that although Lewis excelled as a Christian apologist (defender of the faith)…

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The Silver Chair

silver-chair-theThe Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good Quote: I asked my Dad once if he ever wondered if the Bible was fake. His answer went something like this, “Yes. But whenever I have I look back at my life, I have absolutely no regrets for where I have followed the Bible, and seem to always regret where I have wandered away from it. So, I would live by that book even if I thought it was all made up. But, that of course keeps me from believing it is all made up.”

In The Silver Chair, the Green Witch had convinced the kids that what they remembered of Aslan and Narnia was all a dream, that her underworld was all that was real. So similar to living here, where any mention of Heaven seems to be an escape from reality, where our world seems to be all there is. Puddleglum’s answer to the Green Witch was similar to my dad’s response to me.

“One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. . . But there is one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all these things—trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of your is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it.”

The Bad: This is CS Lewis. He doesn’t write bad. But could he dance like John Belushi? I hope not. A man shouldn’t be good at everything.

The Ugly: Puddleglum. The way Lewis describes him, he is super cool, but flat ugly.

Sooooo….Basically, I’m Right: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

SoooooThe Good: The subtitle for the book is, How I Didn’t Allow a Disease to Defeat My Spirit. That is SO the book. It’s full of terrific stories about bees, the Tooth Ninja, and even planting plants upside-down. Only someone who has lived with the continual pain of Lyme disease can simultaneously convey the feelings of hopelessness and hope, of sadness and humor. I recommend this book for anyone who needs a good laugh, as well as for everyone who believes life is bad enough to give up. Reading it is like sitting in Starbucks with a close friend who is encouraging you through their pain.

The Bad: I think the backstory is in the wrong place. The book doesn’t start with a bang, and it could. If any of the middle crazy chapters were put at the beginning, it would suck you in. It’s also important because chapter one is what comes up on Amazon when you click on the book. Starting with explaining the title and backstory may have hurt sales. Once you hit chapter three, you can’t set it down until finished. So Emilee, if you are listening, swap chapter 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 with chapter 1, and then you can retire on your earnings.

Just remember me.

The Ugly. Lyme disease is way uglier than I realized. To keep going is one thing, to keep going with an undefeated spirit, that is cool. Well done Emilee!



The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

dawn-treaderI have a good friend who claims this is the best book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. I like her anyway. She is SO wrong.

The Good Quote: There were parts to love– the dragon, dufflepuds, stopping the slave trade– in spite of this being the worst book in the best book series ever. I suppose my favorite part would be when t he ship was heading into nothing but blackness. Everyone wanted to turn around–the captain of the ship, the King, and even previous King Edmund. But then obnoxious Reepicheep the obnoxious mouse spoke up.

“‘And why not?’ he said. ‘Will someone explain to me why not.’

No one was anxious to explain, so Reepicheep continued:

‘If I were addressing peasants or slaves,’ he said, ‘I might suppose that this suggestion proceeded from cowardice. But I hope it will never be told in Narnia that a company of noble and royal persons in the flower of their age turned tail because they were afraid of the dark.’

‘But what manner of use would it be plowing through that blackness?’ asked Darinian.

‘Use?’ replied Reepicheep. ‘Use, Captain? If by use you mean filling our bellies or our purses, I confess it will be no use at all. So far as I know we did not set sail to look for things useful but to seek honor and adventure. And here is as great an adventure as ever I heard of.'”

The moral? Don’t bring talking mice on trips.

The Bad: This is CS Lewis. He doesn’t write bad. But did he know how to adjust the valves on his car? I’m guessing not, and that makes me feel good. A man shouldn’t be good at everything.

The Ugly: Eustace Scrubb. Where did he dream up that name?


Prince Caspian

prince-caspianThe Good Quote: There were two parts of this book I really liked.

1: When back in Narnia they found that some of the animals weren’t good, talking animals anymore, like they had been in previous trips. Instead, some had gone wild, and it was hard to know if an animal wanted to talk to you – or kill you. Then Lucy said, “Wouldn’t it be dreadful if some day in our own world, at home, men started going wild inside, like the animals here, and still looked like men, so that you’d never know which were which?”

Good question.

2: Not long later Lucy can see Aslan the Lion, but the rest of her company can’t see Him. Aslan lets Lucy know they needed to go a different direction, but the company can’t see Him, and they disagree. It just isn’t the logical, safe way to go. So, they take a vote, and Lucy loses. Of course, their direction almost gets them killed, they change direction and Lucy gets to see Aslan again. That’s when things take a surprising turn.

“For a long time she was so happy that she did not want to speak. But Aslan spoke. ‘Lucy,’ he said, ‘we must not lie here for long. You have work in hand, and much time has been lost today.’

‘Yes, wasn’t it a shame?’ said Lucy. ‘I saw you all right. They wouldn’t believe me. They’re all so—‘

From somewhere deep inside Aslan’s body there came the faintest suggestion of a growl.

‘I’m sorry,’ said Lucy, who understood some of his moods. ‘I didn’t mean to start slanging the others. But it wasn’t’ my fault anyway, was it?’

The Lion looked straight into her eyes.

‘Oh Aslan,’ said Lucy. ‘You don’t mean it was? How could I–I couldn’t have left the others and come up to you all alone, how could I? Don’t look at me like that . . . oh well, I suppose I could. Yes, and it wouldn’t have been alone, I know, not if I was with you. But what would have been the good?’

Aslan said nothing.”

The illustrations of following Christ throughout the series are remarkable. Love it.

The Bad: This is CS Lewis. He doesn’t write bad. But did he know how to quilt, or sweat copper pipe when he had a leak under the sink? I’m guessing not, and that makes me feel good. A man shouldn’t be good at everything.

The Ugly: The truth at the  end of the above quote. It goes on to say,

‘” You mean,m’ said Lucy rather faintly, ‘that it would have turned out all right–somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?’

To know what would have happened, child?’ said Aslan. ‘No. Nobody is every told that.’

‘Oh dear,’ said Lucy.

‘But anyone can find out what will happen,’ said Aslan.”

And that is the beautiful truth.