We’ve Got A Lot Going On

A week and a half ago, my mother in law broke her leg. Since then, for related and unrelated reasons, it has been crazy busy around here.

The broken leg will keep C in recovery for 12 weeks. This changes some things for all of us. She’ll start out on a nursing facility which is right by our house, so we’ve started going in shifts to be with her. Sam and Noah each rode their bikes down to see her yesterday.

Yesterday was the end of the summer reading program, and there was a festival downtown with free carousel rides. We finally made it to the carousel! There were long lines, but fortunately rides can accommodate a bunch of people at once. I kept hoping to get a phone call from the library saying one of us, okay me, won the prize drawing. I put all of my tickets in the drawing for Renaissance Theater tickets and restaurant gift cards. That would make some great dates this fall!

I had some spare time yesterday, and realized I didn’t have a book in the house that I hadn’t read. Like an alcoholic with no drink in sight, I began to shake at the thought of filling the time, filling the hours of nursing, filling the next week while Luke is gone. As I perused my bookshelves for a title I might feel like reading again, it occurred to me that I should use this time working on my memory verses. A phrase in my morning reading in Hebrews stuck with me:

“strengthen yourselves in grace”

What does that mean? What does that look like in my life? Maybe a good start is taking some time to memorize words that are eternal. So I did. It was very cleansing.

Luke is headed to Mammoth Cave for four days. I honestly don’t mind his trips with the Trail Life Troop, because I don’t enjoy that kind of travel right now, and because while he is gone I can read and relax. That sounds bad, like when he’s here I don’t do that, but for some reason there is more open space and free time to do what I like now, so I’ll take it. We may do a day trip to a petting farm and dairy on Tuesday, if we aren’t too crazy busy. This is more my style.

The Last Three

The kids put on Barbie and the Fairy Secret, so I thought I would sit and write a while. Things have been busy this weekend, so a dumb movie and a blog post are great ways to wind it down.

I’ve been faithfully filling my bingo card for our library summer reading program. Last week I had three more books to finish, and was reading them all at the same time (“I don’t know how you do that,” Aliyah says. It’s just like watching two or three shows at once. Very doable.). Reading them simultaneously wasn’t the difficulty; it was the big book, the one on my bingo card that was described by having more than 500 pages- Les Miserables. I wasn’t sure if I could read it all before the end of July, and two books besides. But I was able to pull out the win, with time to spare.

Les Miserables was one of the free books on my Kindle, so I don’t know how many pages it actually is. But it was a lot! I already knew the plot, so this helped me figure how far along in the book I was, and it helped me skim through some parts that were long and uninteresting to me. LM serves as a type of historical novel, and includes lengthy explanations of the faulty penal system at this time period in France, the battle of Waterloo, the mindset of the revolutionary and the bourgeoisie, and the plight of orphans (gamin), to name a few. I leapt over whole chapters, gratefully, when I realized the author was going into detailsville again. On the other hand, I found so many great phrases and passages to highlight, both from his opinion pieces and from the things characters said and did. Time goes by, but humans are all the same, in many respects. I appreciated reading Les Miserables, and would highly recommend it.

Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison, kept me wondering what was going on. One doesn’t see the word Solomon until page 283, and never did it share meaning with the book of the Bible, like I thought it would. It is a coming of age novel about an African American man, and the challenging relationships he has with family and others. This is in the early and mid-1900s, when racial tensions were high. (Many would say they still are, of course.) Maybe because I’m white, maybe because I have led a pretty easy life, I don’t relate to books like this. But occasionally I will read one, and strive to finish it, knowing I have lots to learn about others and their struggles. This book satisfied my bingo square “something with ‘song’ in the title”.

I also needed a book to fulfill “something you should have read in high school”. Aliyah recommended a book she had just finished, and I laughed at how this would work! Party of One is written by a single girl about the misconceptions and realities of being single. All too often we look at singleness as a bad thing, as a lonely season just to be survived until marriage, and we can look at single people with poorly placed pity and even be found guilty of thinking there is something wrong with them! When the truth is, God’s plan for any human can be accessed and embraced right now. None of us should ever put off doing things or thinking we’re just getting by until the next life happens. There is no such thing. A single person isn’t flawed any more than a married one, either. This book was an eye opener for me in a lot of ways. I was glad to have read it now, when I am raising my daughters. But it would have been great for me to read in high school. I might have avoided some heartache and gone after other opportunities with more gusto. Singles have unique privileges.

Bingo! I felt such accomplishment when I collected my prize tickets. I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone with each of these books, but it was time well spent.

 

Double Take

Luke left for Columbus with…wait for it…Sarah at the wheel! This time of driver training is nerve wracking, but the benefits of one more driver under our roof will be worth it. I am not a good one to have in the passenger seat, even when it is Luke driving, so he has taken the bulk of educating Aliyah, and now Sarah. I so appreciate him for doing that.

Last Monday we had our family photos done. Aliyah took most of them, all the ones she wasn’t in, and brought her friend to do the ones we all needed to be in. It went pretty well, when all we have to compare is the year Micah was a baby and we were trying to do things ourselves with a timer at Ohio State Mansfield. Luke lost it pretty early on then, so I knew we needed to make this session snappy. Aliyah was on it, having some experience with family portraits, and with our family in particular. We were able to get some great shots of all of us, and groups and individuals. What a treasure, as many commented on Facebook, both the photos and our children.

Speaking of family, we had two of Luke’s siblings visit with their families over the fourth of July. One family stayed with us, a good kick in the pants to get work done on the basement rooms, so that-

-the girls could move downstairs, so that-

-the little boys could move from the living room into their room, so that-

-we could get new furniture for the living room. The prices we were seeing for new couches were discouraging, until Luke thought of Ikea. There we could get two couches without breaking the bank, and even though they likely won’t last very long, we aren’t out a whole lot.

We had a fun and busy time with the visiting folks, going to the zoo and blueberry picking and a pool party. I had planned some large meals, but we only ended up eating one of them. So once the relatives left, I had a lot in the fridge and pantry. That, and every time I thought I would head to the store, I got rerouted or just didn’t feel like going. So here it is Wednesday, and my meal/shopping week renews on Friday. I might as well keep on limping along until then. Only problem is, Luke feels like we have not been eating all that great, as we limp, and is tired of the pasta dishes. So I looked at a cookbook for some fresh ideas. I’m thinking of getting a Crock-Pot, but am not sure I want a big one. I have a lot of problems with them, one being breaking the inserts in my sink. You did read insertS. It came to me while looking at my cookbook- Crock-Pots are inexpensive enough to get two regular sized ones. I could follow the recipe, just doing it twice over. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that before. Next week we may try Crock-Pot meatloaf or stew. Wish me luck!

Why I Love The Greatest Showman

You shall teach these things to your children, when you lie down and when you get up and when you walk by the way…

We traveled home from the zoo last night, and Sam put on the soundtrack from The Greatest Showman. The kids love the songs and know each by heart; even Julia could be seen mouthing the words from her car seat. Luke, who has only skimmed through the movie, marveled at their attraction to it. It is a story about some circus freaks, right? What’s the big deal?

On the surface, that could be assumed. But there is still beauty, and even truth, to be recognized there. The second time I saw it, the more I loved it and thought this was so.

I love the way the characters are tested throughout the story. Some are aware that they are not like everyone else, the freaks. But through the course of the story, they grow close in community, and celebrate their differences (in a good way, not just what our society pushes in the way of gender and sexuality differences). These people become a family.

I love how a character is challenged in his own beliefs about race. He falls for a girl who is of a different race, and at first, he can’t seem to make it public, acting rather like a hypocrite, wanting to please others. But eventually all that matters is his love for her, and her love for him, and he doesn’t care who sees.

I love how marriage is upheld, even atop someone’s biggest dreams. In one of my favorite books, Phil Vischer spoke of how his dream had to die because it was replacing God in his life. In the end, he says, it is just you and God. Not your car, your house, your dream, and God, just you and God. Sometimes God lets our dreams come true, but sometimes He wants us to give them back to Him, because His dream for us is better. The greatest showman has to choose what dreams he wants, because he can’t ‘have it all’. And we see him choose, something rare in Hollywood, his wife and children. Just fabulous.

So, yeah, I’m a big fan of this movie, because I get to watch it with my children and point to those great truths and say, look at the beauty in choosing to love, to look past appearances, to be true to your marriage, and ultimately, be true to yourself. These things are what I hope my children think of when we belt out,

THIS IS ME.

Scenes From A Foot Doctor

I last posted about my feet at Easter. The tradition our family has of footwashing on Maundy Thursday gave me some concerns, since my toenails were suffering from my sneakers. They started feeling better this spring, but not looking much better.

There was an odor I was noticing on my side of the bedroom that I thought was the carpet, as we are in the room the boys used to inhabit. Blame it on the boys, right? Luke had said that he thought I had a nail fungus and I dismissed it at the time, not really wanting to think that was true. One day the odor popped up again, and I thought I’d check my sneakers, just on a whim. My right shoe smelled with that same odor! I felt a kind of shame, one because I have had this problem and have basically ignored it up until this point (way to take care of my body!), and two because Luke did say something, and I thought I knew best and totally wrote him off. It reminded me of the time (times, let’s be honest) I am stubborn to a fault. I wouldn’t let the wedding photographer put up lights in the sanctuary because I wanted to keep things natural. Things were natural all right, but they were dark. I lost a good job at a science museum in Roanoke because I wouldn’t renew my social security card with my new name when we were first married. It is a thing with me. I want to change, and to listen to my husband, especially when he has what is best for me in mind.

So my first doctor’s appointment was this morning, and I prayed on the way that things could stay simple and uncomplicated. I could just see me leaving there for the hospital and getting put under for foot surgery (I’m sorry, Ma’am, you’ve let this go too far…) I even left Chloe at home because I had no idea what to expect. But it wasn’t like that at all. In fact, my doctor sounds an awful lot like Luke. Maybe I can get good at listening to the both of them.