Reading, Writing and Parenting

Today I was looking over some of my early attempts at writing.  I’m sure somewhere deep down in my inner being there is a story to be written.  Or maybe I should be thinking along the lines that there is a story to be read…its much easier to read than to write.  Anyway, since I was little, I have loved to write.

Part of that is because of a combination of events early in my life.  I am number 5 of six children.  The first four are a at least 8 years older than me, with the baby being somewhat closer to my age.  My oldest sister left for college about the time I was discovering how to hold a pencil.  My mom encouraged me to write to her.  I wasn’t content to draw a picture and write a word or two.  No, I had to write a whole letter.  I had learned to write my letters, but couldn’t spell worth a hoot (hadn’t started school yet you see) but that didn’t stop me.  Mom and all my older siblings would patiently spell out each word so I could write the letters, one by one.  I really thought the idea that I could put letters down on paper and stick a magic stamp on the envelope that would take that paper to my sister several states away was pretty cool!

Then in third grade I had the most amazing teacher.  All the good things teachers are doing today she was doing waaaaaay back then.  We did experiments and wrote about them in our journal.  We raised butterflies and wrote about them in our journal.  We learned about poetry and wrote our own poetry in our journal.  Wham!  I hooked to poetry like it was industrial strength Velcro!  The beauty and flow of words and rhyme.  The rhythm.  Words drawing pictures and evoking emotion.  Here is one of my 3rd grade originals

In School

In school we have spelling,

And a time for work and play,

And just like at home

I could do my work all day.

 

But do you know what?

Oh, please try to guess.

Well … Glory Be

I think I should have my recess.

Ok, that isn’t really ready for publication, but you get the picture. And I’m sure my mom would have something to say about my willingness to do my work at home all day.  I HATED washing dishes!!! Added to my love of writing was my love of reading.  That got me into trouble more than once when for some reason I couldn’t read and hear at the same time. I still get into trouble for the same thing!

Mom always wanted me to write, which eventually led me to start this blog in the first place.  It’s ok that I don’t have hundreds of people following the blog.  I just love to write, although sometimes I forget to allow myself time to do so.  But now I have started something new that melds my love of writing and my love of reading together.  Recently I started reviewing books.  I was invited by Barbour Publishing to join their Review Crew.  Aha!  They will send me a book to read and review if I so choose.  Perfect.  Now I can say, “But dear, I need to read this book for my review.”  Hubby loves me and is happy I am getting a free book to read.  I am happy to have a new book to read and I even get to “voice” my opinion. Shame I wasn’t invited back in my school days.  It would have saved a lot of misunderstanding with my mom.  I remember one time….well, never mind that.  You don’t want to know, I’m sure.

Now don’t worry, I don’t plan to review every single book here, but this recent book is too good to pass  without a comment.  The book is a parenting book by Dan Seaborn, entitled Parenting with Grace and Truth.   I have to say I really enjoyed this book.  Those of you who know me personally know our children are grown and have children of their own.  That didn’t stop me from gaining a few tips starting from the first chapter.  Several times I picked up my pen to take notes. The suggestions given are good ones, backed up with scripture, examples and real life experiences and application.  And the language is easy to understand.  Mr. Seaborn doesn’t just say, “This is what you must do!”  He shows you how to develop your own life rules by looking at character traits that are important to you.  Parenting is hard work, and he understands that and gives encouragement.  He even covers parenting through a crisis and parenting blended families.

After reading this book, I feel I can recommend it to anyone who has any contact with children.  Whether you are a parent, hope to be a parent, or know someone about to be a parent this book is a great read.  Are you a pastor, a teacher, work in children’s ministry or operate a day care? This book is helpful.  Or in my case, are you a grandparent who wants be a good role model for grandchildren?  Then this book is for you.  Yes, at the bottom of this I have to tell you that I was given this book*, but I was not required to review it, especially here on this blog.  If you want to see my official review, it is on Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, and Barnes and Noble. But here, I just want to share with family and friends a book I think is very helpful.

Now all this talking about early writing has caused me to want to pick up my pen and paper.  Gotta go!  I have a story to write!

*I received a copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

 

 

 

Happy Anniversary!

Hard to believe it has been a year since I started this blog.  I well remember the fun I had with my niece Bethany (This, That & T’Other)setting it up and actually seeing a dream come through.  My initial intention was to post a minimum of once a month.  Ok, that part of the dream didn’t happen, but I am not finished dreaming yet.  After a very busy year of sewing, I planned to post pictures of the quilts my hubby and I made for our kids and grandies, but that didn’t happen either.  I admit, I was feeling a little down after the project was finished and couldn’t seem to get myself in gear! Then yesterday, on the very anniversary of my blog launch, I was blessed to have the most amazing perker-upper.

Along with gardening and sewing, I really enjoy taking pictures of critters.  I haven’t picked up my camera much in the last year or so…it seemed to take all my energy to keep my head above water so to speak. But last week I put up my hummingbird feeder and a finch sock outside my window.  Nothing new in that, but there haven’t been many visitors in the last 2 years.  Then a hummingbird appeared!  Something about a hummingbird just has to bring a smile.  There followed a string of visitors: some yellow finches, a beautiful male cardinal, and other birds paused in their daily routine to say hello. Yesterday I set my chair near the window, opened the curtain wide, and sat down with a book. And then it happened. That spark deep inside that called out to me to find my camera was reignited.  Where did I put it anyway?

I spent several hours watching the parade of birds and rushing to the door to try to take the perfect picture. Notice the positive side effect of this activity…exercise rushing to the door and back.  God is so good to me in so many ways.

The perfect picture didn’t happen, but something better DID happen.  Getting that “spark” back for however long it lasts is such a blessing.  And I’ll keep trying for that perfect picture!April Hummer

CRASH! BANG! BEEP BEEP BEEP

It is hard to believe almost a month has gone by since I last put pen to paper.  Er….finger to keypad.  Certainly there have been plenty of thoughts going through my head, but by the time I was able to sit anywhere near paper OR a computer, the thoughts had filed themselves away somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain.  I should probably say the deep jumbled recesses of my brain…who knows if I will ever be able to retrieve them.

In other words, I have been BUSY.  Even the garden has almost forgotten what I looked like.  Any gardening trips were quick and early in the morning as the temperatures in our area climbed higher and higher, with humidity making it difficult to breathe.  Some days the best I had time for was to go out the back door, stand on the step for a moment and look out and notice the trellised green beans were steadily climbing higher and higher.  I definitely want to plant them again.  Its my first year planting this variety and regardless of what they taste like (which I won’t know for a few more weeks) they really look great as they are growing.

But I digress from what I was going to say.  Yes, I can hear some of you chuckling and saying well thats nothing new.  Those who know me and love me best know I am quite capable of talking in circles…or maybe spirals since I don’t always make it back to the starting place in my allotted talk time.  Fiddle. There I go again…

Anyway, life events have kept me too busy to write like I wanted.  Life had been good…but busy.  Getting back on track sometimes takes a little nudge, and yesterday I was nudged. Each year, about this time, I clean my workroom for the summer.  My job is part time and only during the school year but I tend to put a lot of heart into it.  We may lose our funding so I needed to take home some personal things that I would generally leave in place. There was a supply of things like coffee and creamer, extra bottled water, powdered drink packets that you add to your water bottle, power bars…you get the picture.  Everything was placed carefully in a box for me to take out to my car.  To be truthful, everything was placed carefully in several boxes because I also had some knitting for those nights when no one came to work, some slippers for the times I had to walk through ankle-deep water to get to my modular, and shawls for the times the cold air whistled through the cracks in the door faster than the heater could heat the room.  Hurrying along, I placed all the boxes together, and figured I would take a box to the car each time I had to go in the main building for something. And since I tend to carry more than I should, when that time came I tried to pick up a box, scoot around the corner of the table, holding the box against my chest with one hand while I figured what else I could carry.  Suddenly a multitude of things happened at once. I realized that the box I was holding held the container of hazelnut syrup that had a cracked lid. My thoughts at the time went something like this: “Oh no, this is the box with that bottle of syrup with the cracked lid.  The syrup is leaking out of the box…Ahhhh, when I tilted the box it must have been enough to spill the syrup.  WAIT, my knitting is also in this box!!!! And syrup is all over me! CRASH. BANG. BEEP BEEP BEEP!”  And all that happened within the space of about 3 seconds.

Looking down at the drip, with all that traffic in my head, there was no room for my brain to tell my feet to stop.  And since my hands automatically reacted to sit the box back on the table, they were going in one direction and my feet in another direction.  Not. Good. At. All.  (I always wanted to write something that way since it seems to be the trend lately in any books I read.)  My trusty well worn Crocs connected with the syrup now in the floor, and down I went.  CRASH.  My ankles bent forward a bit more than was comfortable to bend, and my knees hit the floor. Ok, a lot of me hit the floor.  BANG.  And before I think anything beyond, “God I need some help here!” my cell phone went off in my pocket. BEEP BEEP BEEP.  It was my oldest son texting to see how my day was going.

I love God things.  Before I even fell, God took into account that I might want to have the assurance of help and had my son pick up his phone and text.  In the time it took the message to reach me miles away, I had started and ended my fall, probably doing some fancy footwork in the process.

Now just so you know, I am perfectly fine, although I admit my ankles have let me know they prefer I don’t try that trick again.  My body doesn’t want to do too much today. And the song, “Pop! goes the weasel” has ricocheted in my head for almost a day. But I just love how God provided not only the cushion to my fall, but the reassurance that someone was thinking of me right at that moment.  And the nudge that while this might not be the best post I have ever attempted, I can take the time (off my feet) to sit and write about it without feeling like there is something else I should be doing instead. And maybe, just maybe since I’ve taken the time to write this down, that weasel will stop popping through my head!

Ripples

RipplesWhen my children were little, they loved little cars. They took pretty good care of these cars, so they built up quite a collection. Some were name brand models like Hot Wheels or Matchbox. Others were the 6 in a package for a dollar kind. They had all colors and models. Somewhere along the line, they cooked up quite a scheme. Calling their unsuspecting mother into the room, they had several cars lined up. It was my job, they said, to choose the one I liked best. Just a word to all mothers…children usually have a reason for what they ask. Their reasons rarely match ours, but they are reasons just the same. Beware! Anyway, I picked out the make and model I thought the most appealing at the time. “That’s HIS car. That means you love HIM best!” they cried. Oh man! I tried to never fall for that again. However, although their questions or comments became more thought provoking, they never yet have quit asking…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Recently my youngest son sent me a text message. “Where do the ripples in the pond go?” At first, I sent a cute text back…the ripples travel to the shore and wait in peace until they are needed again. Then I thought, wait a minute, there is something really deep here. I promised I would send a more mature response later via email. It took me a while to send it because each day I seemed to gain some new depth from the question and answer. In order to truly understand “The Sisters by Choice” I think I first need to tell you my answer to that question.
The ripples on the pond begin with an interruption of the calm pond surface. It may have been a stone that plops into the water as a grandfather attempts to teach his grandchild how to skip stones across the pond. It may have been a huge drop of rain heralding the arrival of many similar drops. Perhaps a fish broke the surface out of curiosity of the great world beyond their watery domain. Regardless of the reason, the surface tension has been disturbed, and the resulting ripples travel in ever widening circles away from the initial point of contact. Eventually the ripple meets the shore, causing a few grains of soil to be displaced. I could easily visualize the tiny water droplets then slowly leaving the shore and moving ever so slowly back to their place in the pond each time another ripple reached the shore.
Then I thought about what ripples I might send…what effect I might have when I ripple the surface of life. First I thought about my impact as a Christian. Many times God disturbs the surface of our calm, comfortable Christian walk. The ripples we send out are up to us. We can refuse to react, and the ripple is barely noticeable. Or, we can draw on God’s strength and make a difference. Each time I am obedient, and move in the way God commands, there is an impact on the effects of sin in this world. The wall that satan (I refuse to capitalize this) has built to confuse and confound the world is large. But if I am obedient, slowly but surely that wall is impacted, grain by grain, until, along with the ripple of others, the wall will come down. If even one person comes to meet Christ as their personal savior, the ripples with be worth the effort.
Likewise, through obedience to God, I can make ripples in other areas. Think about world hunger. Many of us remember being told to clean our plates and to think of the starving children in whatever country was the popular example at the time. Now, cleaning or not cleaning my plate truly didn’t change the shoreline of world hunger. However, if every time I went to the grocery store and bought groceries I bought even 1 can to share, that added to the efforts of the ripples of others will make a difference to at least some local children.

Now that leads me to ponder my day. What ripples will I cause today? Will they be good ripples or harmful ripples? Will my ripples make a difference? Even a smile can have a ripple effect. Think about it in a quiet moment and see how you can start a ripple and make a difference.

I’m Blogging!

I love to hear someone say, “That’s on my bucket list.” Really? Generally I don’t know where my bucket is! And usually I’m not paying enough attention to where I am going, so even if I did know where the bucket is, I would be afraid I would kick it. That being said, today I will start my bucket list. And if I add too much as life goes along, I will simply get a bigger bucket.r First I want to grow so much closer to God than I am now. This is something that is MY responsibility. I can’t just say, God, I want to get closer to You.” I have to make steps to make it happen and believe me, God will more than meet me half way. It comes down to more of God, less of me. Second, I want to be a better wife and mother. I do ok, but I think I can do better. Funny how that is related to number one! Ranking the rest of the items isn’t likely at this point, so I’ll just lay them out there. Make quilts for our children and grandchildren. Sew enough crafts to sell at a craft show to earn back some of the money I spent on all the fabric in my sewing room. (lol) Research blogging and seriously consider becoming a blogger. And maybe all those bloggers in the family could email me tips and what they WISH they knew before they began blogging. Write a book. Finish the projects Mom asked me to do for her. Go on a short term mission trip. Ok, so my bucket list is not like most people’s bucket list, but hey, its My bucket. Which, by the way, is purple with yellow flowers and green stems, with a hummingbird humming close by.