Mar 24, 2007
I'm re-reading this story for the fourth ??? time and I'm in awe of Betty Smith's writing. I'm not exaggerating when I say, "This book is a gift." It was recommended to me by an old hermit man living in the Australian outback during my 12th year. I'd sit and visit with him often during my 3 month long stay...in his rickety, shingled, chocked full, one room tin shack...piled floor to ceiling with yellowed newspapers, knick knacks, and all sorts of odds and ends. We talked about many things I'm sure...but one thing I remember distinctly... is a conversation about this special, special book. That... and Old Man Bill's odd way of wearing a dozen knit skull caps in the early mornings. As the day went on...and the sun grew stronger in the sky...he'd remove them one by one...until he was comfortable with the last two or three...that and.....the kangaroos hopping in the yard...and the deep, dark, cold watering hole where we'd swim...and the name of the funny little town, Dungog...and......the fact that he and I remained pen pals until he passed away... all the way on the other side of the world...in the land down under.
Mar 16, 2007
Sleeping over Nana and Papa's house brings me joy. I love my Nana and Papa. When I sleep over it makes me feel special and
Labels: A Day In The Life
Mar 12, 2007
While researching a childrens book I'm writing...I came across thoughts and ideas which resonate deeply within me...yet feel so foreign set within the context of our modern world.
There is something touching about the Victorian Era family...hanging an ornate black crepe on the front door in remembrance of a relative who's passed away or...honoring the life they've lost by donning mourning clothes for extended periods of time... and by doing so...declaring to the world which goes on living , "I miss my mother...my brother is gone....my husband is no longer with me...my precious baby....." When looking back on these customs... as followers of Christ...they seem to stand out in their dark hues and morbidity...yet there's a purpose served by them....which hasn't been erased...only avoided and masked.
Since the beginning of time...families or friends would handle and dress the body of a loved one themselves and most times...the living quarters is where corporate and private grieving took place. Those grieving would spend much time with the deceased in very close proximity. A father could visit with his daughter before sunrise if so led...kiss her cheek and think thoughts that come during such moments. A boy could sleep besides his brother if he wanted to...slowly easing loose the tight grip of his best friend. The reality of death was ever present and not something to be avoided... but something to be embraced. Somehow...I'm thinking... facing the reality of death...made facing the realities of life more imminent too. As a woman sat with her husband...holding his hand...stroking his hair for the last time...she must have pondered how selflessly he served her in life or how she failed him and what she might have done differently...or would do differently if ever blessed with another marriage. As parents and grandparents grieved over the loss of their little boy...all the children in the family must have felt so loved and cherished...knowing they too...if taken... would be deeply missed. When death is real...living becomes all the more so.
As years pass...practices change. People go to hospitals...loved ones are taken away...strangers do the touching and viewings take place in odd buildings which nobody ever wants to step foot in again. Do we allow ourselves time to process...time to reflect...time to contemplate what we are being taught through death...how these lessons apply to life? By looking death squarely in the face...head on...close up...would we be forced to more fully consider our own life's purpose? It's preciousness. It's brevity. Is the enemy of our souls distancing us through the customs of the times so that we become numb, distracted or placated? It seems to me ....it's as if we somehow think that by keeping death at arm's length...we can actually avoid it as part of life. It seems to me...that by handling death at a distance...a growing temptation to distance ourselves from living life intimately arises as well.
As believers we know that to be absent with the body is to be present with the Lord. There is rejoicing as the Jordan is crossed. As those left behind...we mourn for our earthly loss while celebrating life in death because we know death was forever conquered at Calvary. For us, ultimately...death holds no sting. We are being bitten by a headless snake.
I understand the reasoning behind the symbolism of a cruxifix. We are to remember Jesus. He went to the cross for us. He was nailed there... for us. He died there.... for us. We are to remember.
This symbolism...though as touching and earnest as it might be.... does not speak complete truth to my heart. It is because Jesus has risen. He is alive and the tomb is empty! Many men died on crosses but only One ever lived to talk about it. It is rare to see "mourning clothes" at a Christ followers funeral because we know that.....although our brother or sister is no longer with us...he or she is alive with our Father who art in heaven.
It is good and right to by at the bedside of the dying...to bring comfort...receive comfort...witness God's grace at work...grasp hold of last words...it is good. It is good to have children there...watching and learning....living. The greatest lesson we can teach them by our example is.....
...in Christ...the utter ugliness and horror of death has no ultimate power. In Him, life has meaning. Remember. Remember. Remember.
Mar 10, 2007
Mondays mornings are rushed. Mom and five kids getting out of the house by eight might seem easy-breezy to some...but for us...and for other families at home (who will most likely get what I'm talking about)...it's not always pretty. Most of the time...the girls have their clothes laid out the night before...book bags are supposed to be by the front door waiting to be loaded into the car...snacks are out on the kitchen counter to be packed if not already packed...and breakfast for those who are awake enough to eat... winds up resembling something to be inhaled on the go like a banana or a bagel. We do make an effort to prepare. I promise.
Even so....someone forgets a pencil and has to run around looking for a sharp one or a sharpener...usually that same person needs to take the hairbrush into the car because there just isn't enough time to put it through the bedhead while there's a mirror around... and you can pretty much bet that the person who left their shoes out last night so they would know where to find them...has misplaced them and needs to search for or choose another pair which...winds up not matching their outfit...which is disasterous...which results in a rise in the early morning frustration level. This seems to creep in without fail every single Monday. Usually, I (Mom) am the most stressed out member of the group.
This last Monday was a doozy. Wake up a few minutes early because I need to print a vocab lesson for 11 kids and my printer runs out of ink. Instant frustration. Plan B...I'll write the list on the board and my students will never know the difference. Back downstairs to manage our time. Someone's in the shower....good. The baby doesn't like the outfit laid out for her and decides she will not hear of it. I am the mother and she is the daughter and she will submit though... tantrum or not. I spend a few minutes dressing a resistant three year old while explaining how dishonoring she is considering the children in Sudan who have no clothing and are freezing cold at night and not protected from the sun or sand or wind during the day........Second shower now running...good I'd love a cup of coffee so Brad says he'll brew a pot for me. Wonderful. Pack up the snacks...put the tray of meatballs I cooked for lunch by the front door so they are not forgotten in the fridge....put a brush through my own head...slap on some concealer and lip gloss...check on my coffee...there's something wrong. Instant frustration. Brad checks the machine...has no idea what's causing the clog. Dumps everything out and starts another pot. Baby still not happy with her outfit...hairdo's for the girls...all around hustle and bustle...one yawning teenage son...a wet headed long locked preteen with a shirt that needs ironing. And the coffee machine is failing to meet my expectations. So what do I do? I am short with Brad and everyone else. The machine works for me every time I use it...what did he do differently?!!!! Frustration. Never mind. I gather our stuff...recruit help from the kids...load the car and leave like a woman scorned. A mile down the road my cell phone rings and it's Brad. I took his phone. He has mine... and by the way why did I leave without saying "goodbye".... and he wanted to pray..... I hang up on him because I am frustrated and I don't want a lecture. Even though we are running five minutes late, I stop at the gas station for a cup of steaming hot coffee. Get back in the car and it might be hot but it is nowhere near good. Get to co-op where Brad meets me in the parking lot to exchange phones. We exchange glances too...but no words. The tuth, I'm utterly embarrassed by my attitude and I just want him to smile without me having to repent. He drives away...filled with self control...but I get no smile. We are not in class five minutes and I'm just catching my breath...when Jemima snuggles into the seat next to me with her math book and accidently kicks over my steaming hot cup of bad coffee. I am no longer frustrated. Only convicted. So during the break, I call Brad and say. " I'm sorry." He forgives me.
It's Saturday now. Brad arrives home from running some errands with a smile and surprise cup of steaming hot delicious coffee for me. Four days and a morning have passed... and I'm not sure if I ever expressed how sorry I am to the kids over my attitude last Monday morning...and since I can't clearly remember if I did apologize to them....I'm pretty sure I didn't. And even if I did...two repentful moments are better than none. I'll go do it now.
Mar 7, 2007
What a blessing my kids friends are to me!!!!!!!!!!! Honestly, Lord, you are so good and wise in your orchestration of relationships. I see glimpses of your loving hand in each one. To think what you are doing...how you are moving....what you have planned! It's so wonderful to be a witness to.... and a participant in..... your weaving.
Mar 4, 2007
If somebody else's mother let him jump off the Empire State Building, would you want me to let you do it, too?
Bored people are boring people.
Names do hurt.
When you fall, get back up.
The Lord sees everything.
And He loves us just the way we are...but too much to leave us this way.
It might be Friday but Sunday's a comin'.
Nothing worthwhile happens after midnight.
There will never be another today.
Everybody else may be doing it, but you're not going to.
If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything.
There's room for everyone at the table, except the devil.
Don't take rides or candy from strangers...in fact if you're not with one of us....just look at the ground.
If you are with one of us...smile and be polite.
God does not call "the equipped"...He equips "the called."
If you leave, it's easy to show me your back, but when you come back you will have to show me your face.
If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing well.
Girls, why would a farmer buy a cow when he can get the milk for free?
Boys, there's no such thing as free milk.
And, if you are sitting on a bus or in a doctor's office next to a woman or a girl who is standing...get up.
Also, when boys are walking with girls...boys walk next to traffic.
Treat your friends like family and your family like friends.
Say, "I'm sorry."
Say, "I forgive you."
Be a servant.
Brothers, treat your sisters like butterflies.
Sisters, respect your brothers.
Cheaters never win and winners never cheat.
Don't ever talk about the future and forget to say, "Lord willing."
If it's true...it probably ain't new.
If it's new...it probably ain't true.
Pride goes before a fall.
Silence is golden.
Mar 3, 2007
Can God interrupt a life...change a heart...turn a man around and redirect his steps? Yes!!!!!! And if President Logan were a real person...God just might be doing that very thing. Waiting for Monday on the edge of our seats because we're nothing more than a bunch of "24" worshippers (jk...jk...jk...) rooting for Jack and the gang.
By the way....if Logan winds up being a self-serving, lying, hairy loser....oh well....the thought of him getting saved is fun for the time being.
Mar 2, 2007
8:30-9:30 fruit for breakfast...chores (beds, laundry, vacuuming, dishes.)
10:30-11:30 Mad Science Dry Ice Co-Op Class at the library (computer time for Zion. When I pick up a copy of Harper's Bazzar...two well meaning moms of adorable toddlers pass knowing glances...I am one of "those" mothers who's more concerned about fashion than I am about reading to my own daughter...and on Dr. Seuss's birthday nevertheless!!!!!!
12:00-12:30 Large double cut cheese pie and and antipasto salad at Rays Famous Pizzeria.
12:45-1:30 2nd library visit of the day (different branch) to pay off late fees/return titles and borrow more. When Galilee is asked by the librarian what her least favorite subject is...she doesn't really want to say...because her "teacher" is standing right there. After realizing that I already know the answer to the question she manages.... "well...... math is my enemy."
We're interrupted by a fire drill...which is sort of like a mini field trip for us...nice surprise.
2:00-3:30 Math (after 7 years of home-educating I'm still "in the Saxon box"...as long as we get one lesson a day done, mama's happy.)
3:30-5:30 Mcabe, Galilee, and Zion play outside with the neighbor kids.
3:30-5:30 Jemima melts down over Math and Language Arts corrections...forgets how to hold a pencil...declares she has no idea how to spell...cries when I tell her to get her act together...and eventually finishes her work...neatly,
without error or drama...in an honoring way. I write SUPER STAR at the top of her paper and she smiles.
5:30-6:00 roasted vegetables and orange slices for a snack.
6:30 Bradley and Bria arrive home after a day at the office together and working out at the gym (Bria squeezed in a guitar
lesson and kinda sorta read over one of his writing assignments but didn't actually do it.)
The rest of the night: cereal or bagels and cream cheese for dinner....there's always leftovers (pasta with norwegian meatballs and brown gravy...or that double-cut pizza.)
I'm already bathed and in my pj's...ready to sit with my hubby and kids and watch a movie. I like Fridays.
Goals Met: Day spent with family...interacting with multi-aged students...adults in the community..eating well...exercising our intellects and bodies. Building spiritual character and... relationships.
Mar 1, 2007
The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.
Thank you, Lord...for humble parents. They glorify your name by lifting up their grandchildren in prayer...and by laying them down at the foot of your cross.