Wednesday, January 23, 2008


yesterday did not go as planned. after the martin luther king holiday i was looking forward to buckling down and accomplishing some school with S and B. but with blowing snow and treacherous bus routes, a local rural school cancelled classes. i watched the news without realizing how it would affect my day, after all, C goes to a private school and S and B don't have to worry about snow days! but a phone call and 20 minutes later, i was now the caregiver to a dear friend's daughter whose school was closed.

A is an adorable sweet 6 year old whom i simply love. but with her arrival i saw my plans for the day dissolve. she has downs syndrome so she needs more attention than another 6 year old might. and she had no interest in learning about copernicus, galileo, or astronomy. so while my day was pleasant, it was nonproductive. S and B were gems. they played with A and entertained her all morning. S played chess with her (she has her own set of rules and remarkably, usually wins as her pawn moves across 7 spaces to capture your king) . he spent 20 minutes setting up our old brio train set for her, only to have her drop it in 2 minutes for the lincoln logs. B graciously allowed her to play in her room with her most prized horse collection.

so last night i was lamenting to mark about my day and the school lessons not accomplished and he replied, "don't worry, hon, they learned more important lessons about compassion."

oh, thank you for those words! i needed to hear that, especially from him!

everyday gift: lessons in compassion

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Water for Elephants ~ by sara gruen

this book was mildly entertaining at best. i did manage to finish it, but i cannot give a high recommendation. it was a bit rough around the edges for my taste. if a book has redeeming qualities in its characters, storyline, or overall message, i can easily overlook a book's shortcomings in crude language or unpleasant scenes. unfortunately, WFE did not offer much to redeem its shortcomings.

Friday, January 18, 2008

sweet solitude...maybe not tonight

i hear the shower turn off and B's voice singing a funny tune as she gets ready for bed. C is busy doing his homework. S has his nose in a hardy boy mystery and M is doing some work on the computer. the dishwasher is humming. now's my chance! i steal away to the bedroom, put on my flannel jammies, and climb into bed with my book. after a day filled with non-stop activity, i love to finally have some time to myself...

but in walks B with a stack of library books about the solar system. "aren't you supposed to be on your own bed for reading?" "oh, mommy. your bed is so much cozier than mine!...did you know that pluto is not a planet anymore?... i can say the planets in order...My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pancakes...but pancakes doesn't count anymore...if the planets had an election i would vote for neptune...or maybe saturn..." "ummm, B, if you're going to read, you have to stop talking!"

M finds his way into the bedroom. "what time is sunrise? ...windchill factor tomorrow...deer hunting...plummeting temperatures...AND plummeting stock prices...."

now C..."our class is staging the lincoln douglas debates and i've been elected you know where i can find a black top hat?...don't forget i'm going to the birthday party tomorrow night...when can we shop for a present?..."

S realizes he is missing out and joins the party. "room for me to snuggle?...oh and mom, i need to go to the library tomorrow, i finished my last book..."

oh, i am tempted to shut my door to the chatter, to the demands already filling up my tomorrow, but look what i would be missing. and i remember my resolve for the year, just listen. someday they will be too busy to talk about their day with their mom on the bed and then i would regret missing out on those moments.

maybe we should invest in a king sized bed.

everyday gift: daily chatter on the bed

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pavilion of Women ~ by pearl s. buck

this is the third book by pearl s. buck that i have read, and i must say that my respect for this author grows with every book! she is a master storyteller, creating lasting impressions with her complex and endearing characters. The Good Earth is her most famous book, having earned the pulitzer prize.

Pavilion of Women is the story of a woman who seeks to redefine the second half of her life by retiring from her role as a wife by assigning a concubine to fulfill that responsibility. she anticipates her freedom and discovers it in a completely unexpected way. the author creates such depth and complexity in her characters and then weaves their lives together in a seamless story. the growth and change that take place in madame wu, the main character, is truly beautiful. this book offers such insight into relationships and human nature. although buck was raised by missionary parents, i would not consider her books to be from a christian perspective. i do see her knowledge of christianity and the Bible in her writings, but it is mingled with eastern philosophy. nonetheless, she is an author i consider to be a must read.

i highly recommend Pavilion of Women and i look forward to reading many more of ms. buck's novels.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

boys and robots

C and S were upstairs in their room with a couple of friends building and programing their mindstorm robots. i was hearing the normal bumps and thuds followed by hooting, hollering, and peals of laughter. then i saw C dashing upstairs carrying his tool box. so, i, being an astute mother, inquired as to what his intent was! he replied without slowing, "oh, don't worry, mom! we only need this for extra weight on the ramp."

don't worry?! RAMP?!

that is supposed to reassure me?

everyday gift: boys being boys

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

coffee on a frosty morning

sipping my hot coffee, i survey the frosty pasture and the sunrise. normally i would step out onto the deck to count my sheep, but not on this frigid morning. the thermometer reads 8*. i'll be content to see them through the window with my toes on the heat vent and my hands warmed by the heat from my coffee mug.

everyday gift: coffee flavored with toffee nut

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Shack ~ by william p. young

it is not often that a book touches me so profoundly, but i can say of The Shack that i was very moved and deeply challenged in my thinking of God. the author gives a fresh perspective on the difficult questions of evil in the world and the role that God plays in tragic events in our lives. it goes way beyond the trite answer "that some good will come out of it". i am going to reread this book so i can further think through the thoughts it raised. i consider this a "must read" for every christian or for anyone pondering these questions.


i hollered up the stairs, "stop that arguing! and no, i don't want to know what happened! can't you boys just, please, work it out?"

as i walked away i shot up a prayer, "Lord, what am i going to do with those boys? where have we gone wrong? give me patience and wisdom."

isn't there some biblical example i can cram into their heads...errr, i mean, teach them during devotions? let's see...cain and abel? no, that ended badly. jacob and esau? no, constantly competing for the birthright, feuding for years. joseph and his brothers? no, i can totally understand that selling into slavery thing. don't' want to give them any ideas. ahhh, what about james and john? two brothers working side by side on the fishing boat. hearing the call of Jesus from the shore to follow him and they drop their nets and follow, together. even after the crucifixion when they went back to fishing, they stuck together. through thick and thin. and answered the call a second time after Jesus arose. "Lord, make them like james and john...following together after You.....and i promise i won't be like their mother, asking for thrones for her boys to your right and left!"

later, i overheard one taking responsibility for his part in the dispute and asking forgiveness. the other granting it with a hasty, "i'm sorry, too." yes, my peacemaker and a brother overcoming his tendency to hold a grudge. maybe there is hope.

everyday gift: forgiveness granted and brothers restored

Friday, January 11, 2008


a friend on a message board that i frequent put out a challenge: choose a word for the new year. this word will characterize your focus, attitude, hopes, prayers and resolutions for 2008.

one word.

i chose the word listen.

at times my life seems to swirl out of control with the busyness that comes to a family of 5. there is always laundry to be done, the phone ringing, lessons, soccer practices, an orthodontist appointment...the noise of a busy life seems to steal the quiet needed to hear that still small voice of God; to hear past the whining to a tired girl who really just needs some undivided attention; and to tune into a husband who does not always verbalize his thoughts.

my word will be listen. so in the new year may i quiet my heart, my thoughts, and life long enough to listen to the Lord's voice, to the tug at my sleeve by my children, and to the needs of my husband.

"now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life..." deut. 30:19b-20a