Photo by David Tomaseti on Unsplash

Anything that gives light must burn.

As I was returning a stroller-full of books to my library this week, I began chatting with a stranger about the work of parenthood. He had commented on my double stroller- a contraption he hadn’t seen before- or perhaps not noticed before.

He had spent the last 10 months caring for his newborn granddaughter, and he missed her. She was now in daycare, and his days were a little more empty. Yet he was now tuned into the work of childcare, now taking notice of the brilliance of double strollers.

We chatted a bit about the high-level of care and activity children require and I mentioned how my mom often says “there is a reason people have children in their 20’s, and not their 50s!”

He responded in the most sincere and serious voice:

“We parents and grandparents are the fertilizer for the next generation. Anything that gives light must burn.”

Anything that gives light must burn.

I had expected him to agree with my small talk with a hearty agreement about how much work small children are, but instead his comment went right to my heart.

Life is sacrifice. We must burn ourselves up, give of ourselves, to share our light with our children, family, friends and community.

It was a stunning and beautiful reminder from a stranger that I needed to hear.

I ate your crackers all.

My toddler is not quite three years old, so I suppose many would say he’s in the thoroughs of the terrible twos. But are they so terrible? Some days, I would say yes.

But as we are closing in on his upcoming third birthday, I’m more often like to say:

Terrific twos. This age brings so much excitement and fun to life. I love seeing a two-year old’s discovery of how water can dump out of a bucket, the thrill of running through the grass with a butterfly net, or the endearing way he believes he can “catch the bird!” And then he’s heartbroken when the bird flies away, yet again

The way he can tear apart his sister’s neatly arranged bed, jewelry box, and treasured toys in a matter of seconds. When accused of the crime, he admits to it with great joy, not understanding the aggravation he is causing the eldest child.

The way he is quick to help me in the kitchen, mashing potatoes for dinner, squishing his hands in the bread dough, and pouring the sugar for dad’s afternoon tea.

This age brings the ability to pretend and play. Witnessing his imagination with just his backhoe loader, fire engine, and “thomas guy” (a thomas the tank engine driver) is such a delight.

The sweet innocent way he tells the truth, no matter what. The minute dad gives him a sweet or vitamin gummy bear- he’s off to tell his sisters about his bounty. When he takes their snack we hear “SweetPea, I ate your crackers all.”

When I leave him home with dad to run an errand or fetch the girls from school, he laments with tear-filled eyes, “Mama, I lost you! Don’t lose me again!”

As of late, he won’t give me kisses or hugs every time I ask (as they do when they are between one and two years, another magical age.) but instead I hear “Mama, lets fight!” He wants to tumble, toss pillows, throw balls and general rough-house with whoever is willing and able.

Perhaps the greatest joys of motherhood is the gift of watching your young child grow, develop and mature. As we turn the corner of the “terrible twos,” I can’t wait to see what the “thrilling threes” have in store for us.

Growing up, Expectations, and Mercy

As parents, we are striving to teach our kids right from wrong, virtue from vice, how to pursue the good, even when it is time-consuming, less comfortable, and downright hard. But how do we do this? And what sort of exceptions should we have for them?

If we expect our kids to clean up after themselves, wake up and go to bed on time, limit screen time, not be lazy around the house – we also need to follow these same rules. But most of the time we don’t.

A family friend recently passed away, and I was able to read her blog that she maintained before her death. She remarked that her son asked her for one last bit of advice for family life, and she told him: To help your children grow up, you must grow up. Simple, but profound words.

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Ode to Library Book Sales

Tables of books,

dusty and old

yet full of wonders,

treasures untold.

Will I find an old Bible?

Or Robinson Crusoe on his raft?

Or if I search really hard,

an entire set of the 1970’s ChildCraft.

For only one dollar-

I can’t believe my victory!

The 3-disk DVD collection,

of Anne of Avonlea!

Oh, Library book sales,

you have given me,

a home full of books,

and a heart of glee.

Many Saturday’s spent,

I could tell many tales,

of my favorite hobby,

Library Book Sales.

Review: The Star Of Kazan

My husband selected this book for me at our local library book sale. “I felt you would like it,” he remarked.

Indeed, I do. It is a young adult novel, and is not a complicated plot. A young orphan girl lives in Vienna, raised by two maids. As the story unravels, young Annika lives a contented life. She has friends, is loved and care for by her two adopted aunts, and loves her city and neighborhood.

I have a great love for books with a sense of place, and the descriptions of Vienna in the early 20th century had me deep in romantic nostalgia for a place I have never been.

The markets are full of freshly baked pastries and sweets, strongly brewed coffee, music and small cafes bustling with life. Ibottson’s descriptions of fish markets, butcher shops and the Spanish Riding School all help to draw the reader into the lovely landscape of European life.

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Review: A Lantern In Her Hand

Book Review: A Lantern in her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich

I am a member of a delightful facebook group that discusses all things quality books and literature. My “to-be-read” list grew and grew after joining the group, but that is a delightful problem to have.

In a thread about books that have a “strong sense of place,” I came across A Lantern In her Hand. This novel centers around a young girl, Abby Deal, who sets aside a dream of becoming a singer, and forges ahead into pioneer life in Nebraska in the mid-1800s. Her life is one of adversity and hardship,  as is typical  in pioneer novel.  Yet this book stands apart from others because of its long view of Abby’s life, and particularly on her journey of motherhood.

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Review: A Handful of Dust

I picked up with book based on a recommendation of a friend, and the fact that it was actually available at my library for immediate checkout during the COVID lockdown(1.0) Written in 1934 by Evelyn Waugh, I was intrigued, as I had only read his most famous “Brideshead Revisted.”

I had absolutely no idea what to expect; I approached the book expecting it to be akin to an Austen or Dickens. Nothing prepared me for the sarcastic and satirical novel that it is.

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Review: Island of the World

“You will not want to put this book down until you finish it, and you will continue to live in it even after you close it’s covers. This story will change you. And make you a wiser better person- is there any greater success for a book thank that? —Peter kreft

Not very often does a book come into my life that utterly consumes my mind and heart. I have heard people say they were so consumed with Kristen Lavransdatter that they found themselves actually praying for the characters, but this sounded pretty silly and far-fetched to me.

Until I met Josip Lasta.

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