We hope you draw encouragement from the content below, and pray that it inspires you to live your everyday life with courage, authenticity, and joy.
Peruse as much or as little of it as you please. 


Engage with Art










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National Gallery of Art






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National Gallery of Art


Fishing on the Susquehanna in July
Billy Collins


I have never been fishing on the Susquehanna
or on any river for that matter
to be perfectly honest.

Not in July or any month
have I had the pleasure—if it is a pleasure—
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

I am more likely to be found
in a quiet room like this one—
a painting of a woman on the wall,

a bowl of tangerines on the table—
trying to manufacture the sensation
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

There is little doubt
that others have been fishing
on the Susquehanna,

rowing upstream in a wooden boat,
sliding the oars under the water
then raising them to drip in the light.

But the nearest I have ever come to
fishing on the Susquehanna
was one afternoon in a museum in Philadelphia

when I balanced a little egg of time
in front of a painting
in which that river curled around a bend

under a blue cloud-ruffled sky,
dense trees along the banks,
and a fellow with a red bandanna

sitting in a small, green
flat-bottom boat
holding the thin whip of a pole.

That is something I am unlikely
ever to do, I remember
saying to myself and the person next to me.

Then I blinked and moved on
to other American scenes
of haystacks, water whitening over rocks,

even one of a brown hare
who seemed so wired with alertness
I imagined him springing right out of the frame.

Want to see something featured here? 
Send artwork that is in the public domain, or your own personal creation, to yvsceball@gmail.com with the subject line “Engage”.


What We Are Reading

And why you should read it too!

Lewis was, apparently, having a difficult time writing this series until, he says “suddenly Aslan came bounding into it.” 

Aslan. The Great Lion, Son of the Emperor across the sea. He is the Creator of Narnia and all of its talking beasts, and He is their Defender in this land threatened by cruel witches, oppressive tyrants, and false deities. He intervenes in unexpected and mysterious ways, for He is not a tame lion, no – He is not safe. But He is Good.

The GSB team read these stories as children, and coincidentally, several of us are re-reading them now. This world is breaking our hearts again with sheer beauty, with painful goodbyes, with the ache of hope…and with longing for the next time the One we Love will reveal Himself and set the story Right. 

Aslan.

Jesus.

Narnia is helping us to remember how directionless the story of our lives had been until suddenly Jesus came bounding into it. How we, ordinary men and women, are invited into an extraordinary calling. It is rekindling a deep Love in us for our Creator and His Words.  

This, claims Pastor Doug Wilson in his “Lewis Lectures“, is precisely the point, for “[the] righteous use of fantasy literature is to go into another world to listen to the story so that you can be catechized, or equipped, or discipled by the events in the story.” Much like the Grand Syndicate Ball, the intent of Narnia, he argues, is “to drive us back to ordinary life with a deeper appreciation for what we find there”.

Why don’t you pick up these books with us? Whether you have read them recently, a long while ago, or never at all, we think these books can offer something new. They can guide us Further Up and Further In to our ordinary, extraordinary, lives. 

The GSB Team

Tell us what you think about Narnia by starting a conversation on our facebook group, using the tag Spare Oom


Remember What God Has Done

Snow Ball 2012

The hall was dark and I stood alone, watching an even darker silhouette stride unhurriedly closer. The clacking of his shoes echoed strangely in that large space.

When he reached me he turned, offering his arm. I gathered up my skirts and accepted, relieved to find that I did not stumble as we began our stately walk, deeper into the unknown.  

Save for the sound of our shoes, silence reigned until we reached a doorway at the end of the hall. My escort halted and spoke my name, as if in sudden revelation.

“Yes?”

“Ah” I could make out the barest trace of a smile on his shadowed face. “I did not recognize you at first. You look stunning.” 

“Thank you.” Before I could say more, we were through the doorway where it was darker still, winding our way between vague shapes and irregular corners. Then there was light.

Releasing my arm but not my hand, my escort bowed and I remembered to curtsy. His eyes met mine and he whispered “This is who you are supposed to be” before turning and vanishing back into the dark. 

Another voice was announcing my name in grand, reverberating tones and I was walking down a staircase. My right hand trailed softly along the banister as I entered the most vivid and dream-like evening of my life.

It all blurs in memory – the faces, familiar and solemn, the velvet and wool of tuxes and the satin and gauze of gowns, the colors, rich and thick as an oil pastel…and the glimpses of the woman I am supposed to be. 

I found her in the moments of fearlessness, joy, and authenticity that stole over me. She lent me her grace and earnestness as we danced through the night. 

I hardly recognized myself. 

When the dream ended, the words remained – This is who you are supposed to be

The Grand Syndicate Ball, to me, is always a reminder of Whose I am, and of who I am becoming.

Praise the Lord. 

-Anneliese Katherine Myers

Want to be featured here? Write a description of what The Grand Syndicate Ball has done to you and send it to yvsceball@gmail.com with the subject line “Remember”.