Happy Friday! I am celebrating the end of the week with my first book review of the Fall in to Reading Challenge!
I just finished reading A Light to My Path by Lynn Austin. This is the third in her Refiner's Fire Series. Each book in the series took a different look at the Civil War - one from the north's viewpoint, one from the south's, and this last one, which was told from the slave's point of view.
I absolutely loved this book. The first thing I noticed was a tie in to the first. Each of these books can be read without having read the others - I read them totally out of order myself! But in the first novel, a girl witnesses her father selling a slave the same age as herself, and sees him being literally ripped away from his mother. This third book catches up with him and tells his story, as well as that of his wife, Anna.
I don't want to ruin the book for you - and I can't do it justice, anyways! You should just read it. But all three of these books, and especially this one, helped me personally understand how God interevened on behalf of the slaves to set them free. And in reading their story, it helps me better understand how God set me free from the bondage of sin through Jesus.
If you want a nice, light read, this isn't a book for you. You will get uncomfortable. But you will also rejoice with them as they learn God's plans are to prosper them and not to harm them. (I can tell you that, because we all know how the war ended!)
The other books in the series are:
Candle in the Darkness
Fire by Night
Before I list the last one, you have to understand something about my boy. He LOVES Veggie Tales and Larry Boy - and that's putting it mildly. Ethan's whole day revolves around which Veggie Tales or Larry Boy movie he's going to watch that day. And he thinks the sole purpose of going to church on Sundays is so he can get a new Veggie Tales or Larry Boy video from the library. This explains why we regularly hear Ethan quote Larry Boy by saying:
13. "I am that HERO!" (and I think he really thinks he is!)
I hope enjoyed that glimpse into the personality of my son. Can you see why I enjoy him so much?!
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My time alone is precious to me. It gives me time to stop thinking and doing, and simply just be. But it's very limited. Usually within 5 minutes someone is calling me, needing me to do something for them.
"But the crowds found out where he (Jesus) was going, and they followed him. And he welcomed them, teaching them about the Kingdom of God." Luke 9:11
I could (and often do!) feel sorry for myself. But then I read this verse and it hit me ~ Jesus was busy and He needed time away, too. He totally knows where I am coming from. But, ultimately He knew His purpose for being here ~ to teach others about the love of God. So even when it might have been inconvenient, He still stopped and took time with those who needed Him. And He did it in a loving manner.
I'm not always good about the loving manner part! Sometimes I am fiercely protective of my time. But when I evaluate what I am doing ~ I mean really evaluate ~ ninety percent of the time I could probably ~ no, definitely ~ let it go in order to lovingly attend to my family. There are times when it might be okay to ask them to wait. But I really need to work on taking an attitude more like Jesus, instead of responding in an impatient way. After all, my purpose in life isn't all that different.
(For a good book about finding time for you ~ 'cause that's still important! ~ check out Taking Care of the Me in Mommy by Lisa Whelchel)
Today Ethan wanted to do a Dora puzzle with me - he loves Dora. I think he believes she's real. If he could have Dora and Veggie Tales come over to play, he'd be in heaven. Anyways, I was busy cleaning up from lunch, so being the good mommy that I am, I asked Hannah to help him with the puzzle. Actually, I told Ethan to ask Hannah, throwing in that Hannah is so good at puzzles and she could show him how to do it. It worked. I've found appealing to my kids' egos does wonders! (Does this make me a bad mom?!)
So, like I said, I've been on the lookout for blogworthy items, so I decided to pay attention to what they were saying while I was cleaning out the microwave. (It also helped me not be too grossed out by the microwave's condition - how does all that stuff get in there?)
Overheard snippets of conversation - mostly one-sided - between Hannah and Ethan:
(In response to Ethan looking at the picture on the box) "Ethan, this is no time for looking, we have a puzzle to do!"
(Later, as the puzzle is being finished) "Ethan James! Good work! You did that piece all by yourself...with some help from me, of course."
"Mommy, Ethan did almost this whole section of the puzzle by himself! I did most of it for him, but he did it!"
I love that my kids are so sensitive to each other's feelings. Of course, things are back to normal now - I just overheard Hannah tell Ethan to go away and not touch "her"puzzle. It must be finished!
One of the songs in Holiday Inn (which is, in case you didn't know, the first movie Bing sang his famous I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas. It's going through your head right now, isn't it?!) is this song he sings for Thanksgiving called "I've Got Plenty to Be Thankful For". He's pretty depressed and makes fun of the song as he listens to himself on record singing it. It's one of those "yeah, whatever. I want more" moments.
I don't know about you, but I'm pretty guilty of doing the same thing. I keep wishing for the big blessings, overlooking all the seemingly little blessings God grants me everyday. In fact, just this morning He reminded me I had been doing it yet again! For the past few months, we've been playing catch up as I transitioned from babysitter to my new job, with a two month break in between. Things are just starting to fall into place with the finances, but it's still going to be another month before I can quit stressing about it. A typical dialogue with God when I'm balancing the books goes something like "Can't we EVER have a payday where we have something left over? Where does all our money go? Why can't you just give us a break already?!!"
It's not in those moments God whispers to me all the things He does indeed do for us. Probably because He knows I'm not really listening. It's later, like in the shower this morning, when He reminds me of the little things. Like how when Hannah was running out of clothes to wear (literally, not just because I was putting off the laundry!), a good friend sent over half a dozen pairs of pants that were in almost new condition. Or about the second job I have that just fell in my lap when I needed it most. Or how Kevin got a raise this week. Or how about all those other clothes my son has downstairs waiting for him to grow into (thanks to another dear friend!)
And let's not forget that He's determined Hannah's neutropenia is temporary and she has almost outgrown it. That my health isn't REALLY that bad when I have more good days than not. And that He is helping Kevin and I rekindle our romance. And you know, all three of my kids really are little blessings - usually!
Yep, I have plenty to be thankful for right now.
How are you doing in the thankfulness department today?
Thank you to all who have commented so far!
So I discovered this challenge JUST IN TIME on my fav blog In the Midst of It. The challenge starts with the commencement of fall which, depending on what calendar you look at, was either Thursday or Friday, and ends December 21st. But I'm starting today. You can hit the first link to check out the challenge, in case you want to participate. You can do it even if you don't have a blog - and by the way, I don't think blogs count as actual reading!
Here's my lists of Current, Future, and Couple Reads. I'm not listing the books we read with the kids, 'cause I don't want to torture you!
Here's my list of books I am working on finishing:
Light to My Path by Lynn Austin (Third in Refiner's Fire series)
The Mother Daughter Connection by Susie Shellenberger
Blessing Your Husband by Debra Evans
The books I intend to read next:
Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury
Found by Karen Kingsbury (hey, they don't ALL have to be serious!)
Pathway to Purpose for Women by Katie Brazelton
Life Management for Busy Women by Elizabeth George (a much needed re-read at this point!)
Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado
The book I committed to reading with my honey:
Sheet Music by Kevin Leman ('nuff said!)
Hmmm, this list looks a lot more daunting than I originally thought! I love to read, though, so I hopefully will get most of these done by Christmas! I just hope Kevin misses this post - he might not let me buy anymore books until I read these ones!
P.S. Here's the link again to the Fall Reading Challenge, so you don't have to scroll back up and find it!
Fall Into Reading Challenge
We had it all planned - I would be there for "work" so that Hannah would be able to just concentrate on having fun and not have to worry about me leaving. The reality was I actually needed to be there for me!
We got out of the van and, like any good scrapbooking mama, I started to take Hannah's picture - with Emma's Polly Pocket camera, since ours is a piece of junk. (see Snapshots ) I suddenly had a really hard time seeing through the little lens - but I was determined NOT to cry. I mean, I WOULD be there the whole time!
We walked in to the building, and I lost it. It had finally sunk in that this wasn't just about giving Hannah a little more confidence socially, or about finding something for her to do. This was a major milestone in her little life! She had woken up that morning saying "Yay, yay, YAY!" because she felt so grown up. Not me - I cried like a baby! One of the mom's sympathized with me and told me it gets easier. Well, maybe for her, but this was my BABY we're talking about!
This was the little girl who came into the world not breathing, and as gray as I have ever seen a person can possibly be. And when she did finally take a breath, so did I. And I knew then that I would hold on to her more tightly than any other person before her, so scared was I that we would lose her that day.
This was my little girl who had to have a bone-marrow test done at 2 yrs of age - and I had to sit in a waiting room the whole time, not even allowed to go to her when she woke up, because they would only let one parent in at a time. Kevin had been with her when she fell asleep, so they wanted her to wake up with him by her side. I understood, but try and tell that to my heart that was aching to be near her.
This was my sweetie who always found a way to make you spend time with her - without you realizing it was happening. One minute you'd be sitting reading a book by your self, and the next minute she's be on your lap, waiting for you to read to her.
That day I realized that it was the start of her spending more time away from me. I didn't like that idea! I want my babies to stay that way - babies! How dare they grow up so fast! So yes, I admit it, I cried. And then I smiled bravely, so Hannah could see just how fun her day would really be. And as I watched her go off and make a new friend, I knew I'd be okay. For now. Just don't expect me to hold it together next year when she starts Kindergarten!
I have to apologize - I didn't mean to neglect you this past week. I have had a serious case of writer's block. I never thought that could happen to me! I mean with all the crazy things that happen in this house, who would have thought I would not be able to find SOMETHING to tell you!
I am not neglecting you - I promise! This week is Hannah's first day of preschool, and I am lucky enough to have to sit in on her class for work. Oh, the hardship that will be - watching my daughter expand her horizons! So I should have something to write about out of that experience.
On another note, I have discovered something about myself that may shock and surprise you. I have learned through working these last several weeks that I HATE the phone! I hate making phone calls - I put them off to the very last possible minute until I am forced to do them while waiting to make a trip to the ER. (And, lest you think I am exaggerating, that is exactly what I did on Saturday. And I'm okay, by the way! It turned out to be nothing serious!)
I can't understand it. I LOVE to talk! I enjoy nothing more than a nice, comfy chat with my friends. But for some reason, just the thought of making a phone call is enough to send me looking for some dark, dirty corner to clean out. I made excellent headway last week at work organizing our files. But I still have a stack of people to phone - it just isn't going away!
My new strategy is to recruit people to do the phoning for me. But this still requires making phone calls of my own! I'm telling you - they made email and instant messaging for people like me!
Recently I saw in our church bulletin a member info update sheet that asked which method of communication you prefer - email or voice messaging. I was excited to see yet another way of avoiding the phone! If only I could get all of my contacts for work on board with this, my life would be easier.
So please don't take it personally if I rarely pick up the phone to call you. It's nothing personal! I just need to clean out my storage room, first.
The one we own is practically as old as me. Kevin bought in journalism school, and it has been slowly dying ever since. First the flash broke. Then it started to streak the best pictures on the roll (never the worst ones, or even in unobtrusive spots, but always on somebody's face!). The other day was the last straw. I was going to take a picture of my boy and his backpack, but I had to load the camera first. Kevin has given me many tutorials on his precious camera, so I know how to use it. It ate the film...literally. Of course, two days later, Ethan's backpack broke, is unfixable, and that means I have lost a valuable and important scrapbooking opportunity. I'm still trying to get over that one!
I really want a digital camera. It's good for scrapping, saves money on film and wasted shots, AND, most importantly, would enable me to share my babies' pictures a lot more easily, especially here. I think I have a good argument, but Kevy says "no". He thinks old fashioned is best (I should remind him of this next time he touts the superiority of his Mac notebook!).
If I had a digital camera, I could have shared a few pictures with you today. You would have seen my sweet boy taking a nap on my bed this afternoon, hand grasping his broken backpack so tight no one could take it from him. You'd see him sleeping on his side to compensate for his new backpack that's in place behind him. You would be able to gaze at his cherubic face with it's rosy cheeks and pouty mouth turned toward his other hand clutching his "milky" and puppy. And you'd know he was warm under his teddy blanky that goes all over the house with him.
Maybe I would have shared a moment with you involving Hannah, surrounded by her little people village and ponies, her golden hair shining in the sun that filtered through her window. You might have seen her face puckered in determination as she tried to get her dolls just right, or maybe have caught her in mid-sentence as she made them talk, totally oblivious to anything but her little make-believe world.
Maybe you would have been able to sit in on Emma's first week of piano practice. You could have seen her perched so proudly on her piano bench, excitement and joy etched on her face as she discovered the key that unlocks the door to the world of music. You might have noticed her well-tanned hands (with their dirty fingernails!) eagerly feeling the keyboard as she played her first song.
But, no. You, dear friend, are to be deprived of such snapshots of my family, until my husband decides to give in and get me that digital camera. Maybe for Christmas, okay Honey?
My dearest friend is moving next week to Alberta, and today was our day to say "see ya later!" So I thought it was fitting to honour her here today...love ya, sweetie!
1. She's stuck with me for THIRTEEN YEARS! (I swear I did not plan that!)
2. She gave me an April O'Neill ring when we were in high school in place of a friendship ring.
3. She loves Dukes of Hazzard - even if I don't!
4. Her dimples...'cause I'm a sucker for them.
5. We can communicate a whole conversation with our eyes...even from across the room.
6. She knows more about cars than any guy I know, and...
7. ...she won't drive anything imported!
8. She thinks decaf is a waste of time, but doesn't complain when I make it anyway.
9. She gave Kevin a mini-boxing game to replace the big one I made him give up when we got married.
10. She lets me see her cry.
11. She knows I am crying right now as I write this...and she's crying, too!
12. She followed her heart and went through 4 years of University and countless low-paying jobs to make sure she could provide for her kids. Which is why she's moving...and I'm so proud of her!
13. But most of all - I love Sharla because she's still the best and truest friend I have ever had!
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I think there are some of you who would appreciate this! I thought I should clarify why on earth I felt compelled to take a nerd test and post the results on my side bar. I'll tell you - one day I was reading my favourite blog In the Midst of It (which incidentally was the first blog I ever read and I am now totally hooked! Since I am using Kev's Mac, I can insert the link for some reason, so just click on the sidebar. You can come back when you are done!)
Okay, now where was I? Oh yes, I was reading this lovely lady's blog. I think if I lived near her, we'd be friends. I mean, she likes scrapbooking, diet coke, talking about her kids - all things I like! She also has a freakish need to fill out forms - which I also enjoy. If you give me a form, I'll have it filled out in 10 mins. Same with surveys - I LOVE surveys. Maybe it's because someone actually really wants to know what I think, instead of me subjecting them to my opinions while they're gagged and bound! Anyways, she posted about this funny little test and what her score was afterwards. You know I HAD to click the link and take the test. And thus I discovered that I'm really not the nerd I thought I was. Sort of. I mean, it is kind of nerdy to take a nerd test, is it not? Can you really see someone like Jennifer Aniston taking it?
So now you know why it's there - and I bet now, if you're like me, you're going to want to take it, too! (Unless you already have - then I bow down to your survey taking quirkiness!)
Share your scores!
It's enough to make me want to go shopping in my faded old sweats - at least THOSE fit!
Yesterday was my day to clean out our fishtank. I say ours, but technically it's Emma's. We bought her a goldfish for her birthday this spring. Dorothy has become a very real part of our family, so if I just throw her name out there, that's who she is! (We just assume Dorothy is a "she". I mean, her name IS Dorothy!)
So, like I said, it was my day to clean out the fishtank. Funny how that became my job! So Hannah and Ethan watched me take out the water, use the gravel vacuum to get up the gunk, etc. Hannah scrubbed the sides of the tank nicely, and we filled it back up again. Our habit is to give Dorothy a little snack after this ordeal, since it must be upsetting to have to dodge the scrubbing brush! So we gave her her snack, closed the lid, and that was that
The tank is in the girls' room. Hannah was playing dolls while I was checking my email, when Ethan joined her. All of the sudden I hear Hannah yelling and crying - I ran upstairs to see what was wrong (thinking it was just Ethan teasing her again - he IS two!) and I hear her calling out something about Dorothy. I finally figured out that Ethan had dumped the entire contents of Dorothy's food into the tank! I guess he thought he should have helped, too!
If you have never had this happen to you or someone you know, let me tell you this. Within 10 mins the water was cloudy and orange. I scooped out as much as I could, praying she wouldn't eat TOO much and explode!
Today her water was still gross, so I Googled "my son dumped all the fish food into the tank". Apparently, this is a common occurrence in boys 6 and under! I was able to find tons of advice for dealing with this dilemma - much of which was just replace the water and vacuum out the gravel. I'm happy to say her tank is almost normal now.
You know, I did notice something in my Google search. None of those links contained the phrase "my daughter". So in the interest of fairness, I searched for "my daughter dumped the fishfood into the tank". You know what the first hit was? "My CAT dumped the food!" But mostly the hits contained "HE dumped the food", referring to little boys.
I love my boy. We're just going to keep the food way out of his reach for awhile!
My goal is simple - to update you, my friends, on all the goings on in the Mitchell household on a consistent basis. I'm hoping that you, in return, either leave me nice little comments to humour me, or that you will at least let me eavesdrop on your very own blog so I can keep up to date, too. You know you want to! Admit it!
Don't expect anything TOO profound. You do remember I have three kids - who has the time or energy to be profound!
So, welcome! I hope you come to enjoy my little family as much as I do!