Next Five Follow Through

A few weeks ago, Crux Staff posted their next five reads. I’ve been working away at my particular next five list, and recently finished reading Still by Lauren F. Winner. Let me tell you about it.


If you’ve read Winner’s other books, this is different from those. Winner uses memoir in all of her writing, but not all of her books are properly memoirs. The books reflect on her own life as an illustration for the more general spiritual life. Girl Meets God is clearly more of a memoir than book of spiritual direction, and Mudhouse Sabbath is clearly more a book of spiritual direction than a memoir. Still leans toward spiritual direction, but memoir and spiritual reflection are deeply entangled in the work.

Winner examines the middle of the spiritual life, that part of the life of faith that most of us live most of the time. The excitement and newness of conversion are past and the wisdom of age is not yet upon us. We are in the middle — and middles are not usually perceived as the exciting part of anything. Winner looks around for positive ideas around middles and finds them in chess and other places.

I read most of this book sitting on a porch in Muskoka, not while on vacation, but in my breaks from directing a leadership training program for potential camp cabin leaders. The week was a crisis for me as I had not planned to be there — but God through circumstances had other plans. I read Winner’s words on mid-faith crises in the middle of continuing to serve in a place and situation when I thought I’d passed my responsibilities on. Winner still went to church and still continued in Christian practices as she moved into the middle of her faith journey; I was still at camp. I found the book helpful in my particular location; you will find it helpful for other reasons and in other circumstances.

Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren F. Winner is available at Crux.


Rebuilding Pat’s canoe: remembering our founder

It’s been several years since Pat Paas, the founder of Crux Books, passed away. Many knew Pat as the Crux eccentric bookseller, some as an avid fly fisherman, but only few would have known he had been rebuilding his grandfathers canoe with his good friend Dave.
I felt honoured when Pat’s widow, Jocelyn, offered me Pat’s partly rebuilt canoe and the opportunity to take over the project. I enjoyed canoeing as a young man and loved working with my hands, so the opportunity to restore a heritage canoe was right down my alley. One thing led to another and before long I convinced my nephew Michael to tackle this project with me.  With great excitement, and grandiose plans, Michael and I drove to Dave’s house to pick up our prize. Visions of a gleaming canoe, the gentle lapping of water drumming against the dazzling newly painted canvas, danced in our heads. Alas, this was quickly shattered when we arrived as we stared at the stark and faded hull, replete with several cracked ribs and even more holes.

canoe overviewIMG_3769IMG_3753IMG_3761

“Wow” I said to Michael, admittedly dejected, “this is going to be a ton of work.”  After Dave explained just how much work he and Pat had done to get the canoe to this particular condition, our enthusiasm quickly returned.  With our heads full of renewed eagerness, after getting a crash course from Dave, we transported the “canoe” to my sister’s cottage.  And that is exactly where it has resided for two years, in exactly the same condition.  What do they say about the best laid plans of mice and overzealous canoe restorers?


Which brings us to 2013.  Yes folks… this is the year.  My excitement has returned and I am now determined, eager, and yes still slightly overzealous to finally restore this treasure.  Which is one reason I also agreed to write this blog.  I am now committed to this project and figure that if I also commit to writing about it, and supplying evidence of progress along the way, it may come to fruition.

Contacting the Canadian Canoe Museum to find a professional restorer I received encouragement from the curator who was pleased this canoe was going to get a second life.  (Perhaps I should name it Lazarus when it actually floats!)  My first intention was to find a professional to simply do the work, without costing an arm and a leg of course.  As I browsed the list of professionals, on the link I received from the curator, I came across the Carlisle Canoe Company.  Browsing their site, the excitement of doing the job myself quickly returned.  Here was a place where I could actually do the work–guided by a canoe restoration professional, of course–where all the tools are available and where needed materials and parts are custom cut for the job.  I’m still hoping it won’t cost an arm and a leg, but also not too many hammered thumbs as well.

Visions from years ago quickly returned.  Ah… the joy and freedom of paddling over glistening quiet waters in a gleaming restored piece of history… the gentle call of the loon in the distance… wait a sec… who told that seagull it could fly overhead and drop…  Oh well, nothing a good cleaning can’t take care of.  After all, the plan now is to try to secure a place for my treasure at the Toronto Sailing and Canoe Club after all is done, seagulls and all.

I quickly connected with Roger, at Carlisle Canoe, and have now committed to spending at least the first week of my upcoming vacation bringing needed life back to a beautiful (at least I hope so when it’s finished) piece of history.  The project start date is Saturday July 27th, 2013.  That’s not only this year, but this week!

So, stay tuned.  More to come.  And please pray for me (and my thumbs).

Blessings, Ed

Heritage Canoe Series next

Bibles for Children and Youth

While we are best known for our superb collection of books for our adult customers, we also have a small section for the next generation of theologians. I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the most popular version of our Children’s and Youth Bibles.

The most popular children’s Bible we have is the Jesus Storybook Bible.

9780310708254This compact Bible is best-known for its vivid, colourful illustrations that appear on every page highlighting the most popular and important stories in scripture. The storytelling is simple but faithful to the original text. At the beginning of each story the author gives you the reference to the full story, so parents can read the full text in advance to help them explain the story to their child more fully if they wish.

Additionally, there are now a series of DVD’s available to go along with the Bible.


A second recommendation is the Spark Story Bible from Spark House Media.

SparkStoryBibleThis Bible is designed to grow with the child. In addition to the bright, colourful illustrations, and big beautiful text highlighting the biblical story, there are a few additional features that ensure you won’t be dumping this Bible just because your child is getting older.

SquigglesMeet Squiggels. Squiggles is an expressive caterpillar that seems to be found on every page. Its changing expression gives visual clues as to the mood of the story you are reading.

Also, there are questions along the way to help your growing learner go deeper into the story. For example “Think of a time when you have been sad. How did God make you feel better?” and “If you were the boy who gave Jesus his food that day, what would you tell people about what happened?”.

For the tweens and teens in your family, we have two recommendations:

The Action Bible: God’s Redemptive Story, is a biblical comic book. At over an inch think it is loaded with incredibly drawn, action-oriented and attention-grabbing images that rival any of today’s comics or graphic novels. It’s so well done, they might just forget they’re reading the Bible (or, learning something!).

AB COVER.inddThis really is a stunning work of art and biblical truth. Get yours soon, because I might just be buying one for myself.

The Action Bible received the Christina Book Award’s ECPA Medallion of Excellence.

Also for the older children is the Manga Bible series, available either as a complete Bible or as individual books focussing on specific topics. Wonderfully drawn in the traditional style of Japanese manga cartoons, these works highlight the action and adventure of God’s story.

maga vol 2Come on in and take a look at our selection. We’re not only for adults.