Gimme A Light

“…if it is a religious ceremony we may not be able to understand it, for the mysteries of most religions are very dark and not easily understood, even by those who profess them.”-Captain James Cook, The Voyages of Captain Cook

I have had something very interesting happen to me this week: three books I’ve pulled from the shelf have bombed. One I finished, see last post, but the other two I barely got through a few chapters. Maybe I should be vetting my recommendation sources. Maybe this lets me down easy from a summer/nursing/reading high that will come to a close with school starting next week. But it does make me realize again how there isn’t anything new under the sun and, they really are just books.

Imagine my hesitancy to start The Voyages of Captain Cook next. I mean, would I get anything out of it? Page 15 I find the quotation above, and it brings to light what I’ve just been speaking of. What is your light? What brightens your eyes? What do you look forward to doing? What brings you joy? The psalmist in the Bible says the LORD is his light and his salvation in Psalm 27. I’m trying to memorize this chapter, and one time I was going over it I was stopped at that first phrase: the LORD is my light… It is humbling to note how many other places I look for light than to the LORD, the only source. And this is evident in our human history of false religions- doing things a certain way to gain some light to our paths, while we only end up in further darkness, confusing to others and even ourselves. Thank God for the Bible, truth and light right at our fingertips.

For with You is the fountain of life, and in Your light we see light. Psalm 36:9

First World Problems

I picked up the book Pachinko because it was recommended on Goodreads. Not sure if I’ll do that again: the book, like many humans, lumps all religions together, rendering Christianity ineffective. Why keep reading a book that doesn’t line up with my worldview? I guess I want to see how it ends, if in any kind of redeeming way. That would make the references to Christianity shine out a little bit. But things don’t look promising. Most of the main characters are dead, with no great legacy. One thing I have learned from reading this book is the confusion and oppression that results from war-torn countries. Humans displaced who just want to be humans, not treated badly just because of their national heritage. I got to thinking about how great it is to live in America, and to be from here, too. There is little room for any of the problems those impoverished people around the world face. We can get to complaining, but most everything here boils down to being ‘first world problems’. Here are some of mine.

Our kitchen sink went out this past week, and the part needed to fix it won’t come for another week. When you use the faucet then turn it off, you hear a sound like Dory speaking whale, and water goes everywhere. So we keep the water valve turned off most of the time, to curb the flow. I was using ice cream buckets I filled in the tub to rinse dishes for the dishwasher, which still works. But the dishes come out still smelly, or it could be my imagination. So today I have Caleb, our resident plumber while Luke is gone, turn the sink on while I do a lightening fast round of dishes. This will be our new normal indefinitely. Don’t buy Pfister.

Luke took the van to pick up kids from Lakeside today. I had planned to go to the store, but pouted when I realized with both him and me gone, I’d have to take littles, and he’d have the van til late tonight. Oh, well, guess that meant the trip to Aldi would wait til tomorrow, and I would get creative about dinner with the plethora of foods I have on my shelf already. We’ll dine on a tater tot casserole, baked beans, and applesauce.

While cleaning out my cupboards, I found three bags of beans, so I’m thinking I should try to work more of those in our diet. I found a neat website that offers pinto beans five ways, and am off to get my beans cooking. That will cure me of complaining, one way or another.

 

For Gifts I Didn’t Expect

I’m currently reading a book called The Good and Beautiful God, and in it the author challenges us to keep a gratefulness journal of God’s many blessings. My first entry was “gifts I didn’t expect”. Here are an assortment that come to mind.

-an art book that the kids all signed for Mother’s Day last year. I knew Luke took them to Ollie’s, but I didn’t know they were shopping for me.

-my baby shower for Julia. Chloe is continuing to benefit from that.

-a personalized baby quilt for Chloe. A young friend made it, and it is too pretty to use!

-a stuffed animal homemade by this girl’s little brother. I don’t know if it is a pig, or a bear with a pacifier, but how sweet of him.

-my parents just shared some money with us that will help us greatly in finishing our house. Now that we are only a year away, I feel like I can plan. I know how fast a year can go by.

-we’ve had both expected and unexpected bills lately, and a way to cover them all. Though I do confess to a sour stomach when I opened the dentist bill. So much money, and charges all due to fillings and sealants, not routine care. I feel guilty for not making the kids brush enough. I feel bad for putting Luke’s hard earned money to something like this. It was a heavy weight on me til I paid it this afternoon. I’m not sure all of the guilt is justified, the kids may just have bad teeth and that bill was for three, not just one. But it hurt me all the same. We’re brushing tonight, mark my words.

-so many children to fill our arms and home. The older four, as we call them, are at camp this week, the middle two last week. Anytime one or more is missing, you can tell. Aliyah flits about a lot these days, to photo shoots and coffee with friends, so I’m getting a little used to her not being here. But it is hard. I like to have them all around. A book idea I had was all about families, a counting book, where the last page said, “What is a family? A family is room for one more.” We have found this unexpectedly true.

A Tight Ship

Oh, a travelling life, a travelling life for me…

-Mr. Potts, senior

I’ve come to love the Aubrey Maturin book series, naval tales set during the Napoleonic Wars. This fifth book I’m reading now, I have not skipped a word, but earlier on, I couldn’t hack the sea going jargon at times and was forced to skim. Definitely a growing love for these books and their colorful characters. I noticed in this book how attractive the rigor would be on a ship- things stay clean and sharp. Of course, there are many hands to do work. But I wonder how much like the keeping of a ship I could adopt here at home.

One thing I note is that personal belongings stay stowed away, and the public spaces are orderly and methodical. While we can’t accomplish this right away (we’re finishing rooms in the basement-squeal-so people are all over the place until they can move in), it is definitely a good goal.

There is a time to work, on a ship, and a time to play. The other day Anna and Micah were painting, something I rarely let them do, though I love it myself. Micah said, “Let’s pretend we are artists…” and my heart squeezed. Of course you are artists, no pretending necessary. But I run our home like we don’t have time, energy, interest, or organization enough to fit these things of beauty into our day. They think it is forbidden fruit when it should be their daily bread.

Always something to learn, there is.

-Yoda