Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Like Cards and The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Ya know, it's hard to write with Adventures in Odyssey playing in the background.  The boys listen to them at bedtime, and I think I enjoy them as much now as I did when I was their age.  Such great stories!  Such distracting stories.

I once gave a boy a Valentine that said, "Valentine, I like you a lot.  In fact I'm head over heals in like with you!"  and on the inside whatever cute little animal was on the cover, was upside down.  There aren't a lot of options for "like" cards.  There should be more, because people throw around the word "love" far too carelessly.  Perhaps I should break into this niche market, creating Valentines and other general "I like you" cards for those wanting to express their true feelings -- not an exaggeration of their feelings.  File that thought for someday after someone else has already become rich off of it.

Anyway, that's what Odyssey brought to mind this evening.

On an entirely different train of thought, I'm so enjoying "The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party" by Alexander McCall Smith!  I capered happily through the first eleven books in his "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series a little over two years ago, and thought I had come to the end of the adventures of Precious Ramotswe, but -- oh joy! -- I recently discovered there are two more books!

Here, one of the amusing passages that typify the series:
     In his view... women... wanted machines to work, but they did not necessarily want to understand why they worked or, more important, why they went wrong.  Love was usually quite enough to stop people going wrong, but would not always work with machinery.  One of his clients had just demonstrated that.  She had brought in her car, which was behaving erratically.  "I love it," she said.  "I am kind to it.  And now it has decided to turn against me.  What have I done, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, to deserve this?" 
     "It is not love," he had said.  "It is oil."
     That is what Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni thought about how women treated cars.
One last thought:  I thought "bemuse" meant basically the same thing as "amuse," but to a lesser or more curious degree. It doesn't.  It means to befuddle, confuse, confound, mystify.  Good thing I looked it up before describing the previous passage as bemusing.  Amusing.  That's what it is.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Four Years and Counting

It's only Tuesday but I've got a few minutes on my hands and some thoughts on my heart.  As y'all may already know, Wade and I started pursuing adopting a child four years ago (seriously, four years?!?).  Because of a variety of hold-ups, we didn't get our foster license for almost a year and a half, and then we were on a wait list with AASK, a branch of the foster care system that deals with placing kids needing permanent homes.

In the two years since we finally got on board with all the necessary entities, there have been two times when we were seriously considered for a child or sibling group needing a permanent home.  Both times the case workers narrowed their search down to two families (one of which was us), agonized over which to choose, and opted to place the children with the other family.

I am convinced that God lead them to their choices, and so it was good that they didn't choose us, but it was also very emotionally draining both times we were told, "You may have a child very soon," and then were told, "Not this time."

I bring this up because once again we're being considered for a placement.  At this point the case workers are still recruiting families, and there will likely be lots since the child is young and healthy -- a truly blessed condition, we've come to realize!  

Having been "so close" twice before, I'm trying to not get my hopes up, while at the same time having at least the beginnings of a plan in place should we get her (her!).  It's hard to stop the mental checklist once it starts -- Do we still have a car seat that size?  What bedding will we need?  How would we shuffle the boys to open up a bedroom?

Anywho, all that to say, please pray.  Pray for this little girl, her current foster family, her biological family, the social workers making choices about her future, and her permanent family, whoever that may be.  I'll keep you all posted if any news comes up to post!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ten Minutes -- A Rant

Today's ten-minute contribution may go a little over the allotted ten minutes, because it's a rant, which is precisely why I'll try not to go too far beyond ten minutes.  Because who really wants to hear someone rant for ten minutes?  

Okay, here I go.

I despise Halloween!  Casually referred to as "the Devil's holiday," it encourages goriness, gluttony and greed.  I feel like this is one area where Christians should definitely be misfits, counter-cultural, a set-apart people -- you know, like Jesus was.

On the other hand, there is nothing devilish about dressing up in appropriate costumes, celebrating a feast (in moderation), and sharing our own bounty with others.

I wonder whether this is one of those areas where the apostle Paul would advise: follow your conscience.  Those whose faith allows them to eat meat offered to idols (or observing Halloween) should feel no qualms about doing so; but for those whose faith is weak and are bothered by eating meat offered to idols (or observing Halloween), it is sin to do so.

The problem I see with the conclusion of this argument, however, is that those with stronger faith are the ones who could observe Halloween!  This seems backwards to me.  Maybe because my faith is weak.

Anyway, the occasion is approaching and I'm dreading it.  I think I'll conveniently become bedridden-ly sick and let my husband and kids -- who are not in the least bothered by the holiday (as if it could even be called a "holy" day -- sheesh) -- observe it without me.

Okay.  I feel better now.  Sort of.  Thanks for listening, if you're still out there.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Talking to Myself in the Past

I recently read something in which the narrator said, "If my 11-year-old self could see me now..." and I thought, "You do that TOO?  I thought I was the only one!"

I like to mentally go back and tell my younger self that it's going to be okay, that things I worried about then -- no one's ever going to want to marry me, I'll never get over being painfully shy, I'll never be able to handle the responsibilities of being an adult -- are going to turn out okay.

For the most part, I think my childhood self would be pleased with my adult self.  She would be thrilled with my marriage, with my ability to talk to adults comfortably, with my still-tight bond with childhood friends, that eventually I outgrew acne, and that I'm proficient in the kitchen.  She would wonder where the rest of my kids were (I was planning on at least seven, you know), how I could possibly be such a dork in front of my husband, and what in the world am I doing living in North Dakota.

If I could really go back and tell myself things and have it actually make a difference in my past, I'd tell myself not to buy into teenage drama (not that I did that much, but there was more than enough of it); that there's no point in dating until I'm ready to look for a spouse (which I think Dad and Mom did tell me, but I didn't really believe them -- would I believe myself?); that when given the opportunity to show love, seize the moment;  to spend more time with my grandparents while I have the chance.

It makes me wonder, these reflective thoughts, what my future self would someday like to go back and tell my here-and-now self.  Don't worry as much about how the kids are doing in math as how they're doing in integrity.  Take every opportunity to do something fun with Wade.  Don't make a big deal out of spilled milk -- the price and inconvenience are nothing compared to the cost of grumbling at your sons.  Wear more sunscreen.  I don't really know, but these are my guesses.

So what would you say?  What would you tell your childhood self?  What advice would you give your ten, twenty, thirty-years-ago self?  I'd like to know!  Maybe I can't send myself messages from the future, but I can take the wise words of others and listen to them now.  So share -- what would you tell yourself?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Four Days Ago

Four days ago, the woodvine was a riot of red and the grass a sea of brightest green.

Four days ago, bumblebees spelunked in hollyhocks for late season stores of nectar.

Four days ago, the heady aroma of pastel sweet peas wafted through the sun-warmed air.

Today, the picnic table planter of zinnias is being dusted white.

Half summer, half winter -- this is fall.