February 2, 2018

Books Read in January



I set a goal for myself of 25 books read in 2018. Two a month plus one. We shall see how I do, but January, I rocked my goal! Here's what I read:



Gretchen Rubin's book, Better than Before, has been on my to-read list for awhile.  I loved it!  I am really into goal setting and habits these days and her book is inspiring and energizing.  I decided to give up dessert in the middle of reading this book.  I decided dessert abstaining was easier for me than moderation and so far, 4 days in, I am dessert-free! Here's to 4 more dessert-free days! 


I read this over Christmas break and into the very first day of January. So technically its more of a December book, but I am counting it in my 2018 goals!  I get afraid to read books that wreck my heart and so I was worried this would.  Instead, it's forages into the human soul of intercultural experience which made my heart sing and ache with the beauty and terribleness of life. It did not wreck me, it was not hard to read.  It was a gift of what it means to be human.


 I am a Rae Carson fan and listened to her whole series of Fire & Thorns which I loved. This is book 2 in the Gold Seer Triology. I enjoyed this creative YA novel of a young woman with the gift of finding gold and an evil uncle after her gift.  I am not sure if I will finish the triology, however.  I liked it, but now I feel like I know enough about this story.  The BEST thing about this book was listening to the amazing southern accent of the narrator.  That was worth it's weight in gold (see what I did there?).



      This was a library bookshelf grab which NEVER works for me--and yet it did this time. This may be my favorite of January.  The memoir of Britain's longest serving nanny, Brenda Ashford.  She nannied for 62 years through WWII and into the homes of the rich and the not-so-rich.  Beautifully written, compelling and joyful even in the hardest times Nanny Brenda experienced.  I was taken with her voice and experience.  I want to meet this amazing woman!


  Our January book club read.  I have not seen the movie yet, but will.  Everyone loves Wonder--the story is full of it--Wonder, that is.  For some reason, I was not super interested to pick this up, but so glad I did.  Told from the perspective of several characters, it grows empathy in the reader for all the characters (almost!). 


What did you read in January or recently?

October 23, 2017

Weekend Report

the beautiful stone walls of Kentucky at Shakertown
*There are 936 weekends before a child turns 18.  Being intentional about how we spend weekend time helps me not lose the weekend into a series of household chores and doing unimportant "stuff".

What a full and beautiful weekend this was!

Friday evening we celebrated the Word Made Flesh community with a potluck.  I left work early (at 4 p.m.) to run errands with our nanny (and friend), G, and picked up food items and transitioned the children from the other nanny (A) to G.   I set up the potluck at our church  while G took care of our little kids (plus a couple of extra from the WMF community) at our house.  The potluck warmed up my heart for sure hearing the connections between people as well as brief bits about what they are doing in the world to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  I went to bed by 10:30 p.m., very, very tired, but full of thanksgiving.

Saturday Clint had board meetings and board hosting all day (from 8:00 a.m. until after midnight).  I ended up doing a lot of back and forth.  Saturday morning I took the little kids to get donuts for our oldest daughter's filming project and also picked up bottled water for the board.  Then, we went back into Lexington for a birthday party of Kai's school friend at a trampoline place. I was so proud of us that we had bought the present LAST weekend and already had it wrapped.  I am still celebrating that tiny win still. Almost every child at that party cried at some moment or another.  Kai's fav was the dodge ball and I made a mental note to take him back for that.   I managed Emily and chatted with the other parents.  We drove back to Wilmore, picked up a board member to take to the airport and also Madi and headed back to Lexington. After dropping off the board member, the four of us went to a newish outdoor mall in Lex.  We had popsicles, walked around some shops, went to the outdoor playplace. I also dealt with both kids having major poo incidents.  Then we went to P.F. Changs and sat on the outdoor patio and had a great dinner. Madi and I decided that the best part was definitely the battered green beans in that spicy sauce.  We came back home and watched UP which Kai had not seen and actually was not that excited about.  Not enough excitement, I suppose.  I fell asleep at the end, but it was all good.  I went to bed shortly after the movie was done and Madi left.  It was a great day full of kids, but really full of driving as well.

We had two house guests in our home as well for the weekend so on Sunday morning, I got up and took care of kids and made coffee for everyone. Clint went to an early service with of our guests, a musician, who was leading worship.  I got the little kids ready for church and went to Sunday school (which was a great discussion on death, but seriously a good discussion).  After Sunday school, I came home met back up with Clint and our friends.  I put some leftovers together for lunch and the baby down for a nap.  We all took rest times and then we went on a hike at Shakertown's beautiful wooded property. I can't believe that I have never done that.  I took note of lots of places at Shakertown that I need to come back to and sit and read and write.  We came home and I made a sausage, potato and kale soup.  Hung out with kids and did the bedtime routine--a bath for Emily--Emily is loving bathtime now.  All the splashing has started!
Clint and our now one last guest went to a movie. I went to bed, leaving the kitchen a wreck, because there wasn't any time to get it all done.

The weekend was abundant.  The hike was on my bucket list to get us into the fall leaves.  The soup was a perfect autumn soup. The time with the kids was awesome. And getting to be around WMF people was great.  AND, I got enough sleep.

October 10, 2017

On Hospital Stays & International Travel

Like we are boarding a plane for a great trip, Emily and I are all checked into our seats, she buckled up with All the Wires and we are off, but for a hospital travel trip of an 18 hour EEG to see if her seizures are responding to medicine.  We know that her seizures are gone--or decreased greatly--but we will find out if her brain is operating in healthy patterns. 

Hospital stays feel like international travel. When you travel internationally, you have to manage your food and your child in a confined space, you experience anxiety at not being in control of the plane or the travel itinerary or the pilot. Your flight may be bumpy or stormy or uneventful, but nevertheless, it's out of your comfort zone. Likewise, you don't manage the hospital schedule and nor do you control when the doctor or technician will see you. Being in a hospital or plane is a bit anxious because you are not in the pilot's seat. Despite the calming colors and the semi-peaceful surroundings, you are aware at any time something bad could happen and has happened before. Time outside of the plane or the hospital does not exist. Your identity and your "real life" melts away as you take on the identity of "traveler" or "patient". You follow lights and sounds on screens. You follow instructions from people you don't know and really have no reason to trust except that they are licensed by some authoritative board. The food isn't good, but you eat what you have to eat. You sleep in uncomfortable places and you drink less than great coffee. You leave with jet lag due to overnight wakings at random hours by the staff. 


When I parked today, the sign said: "Take any elevator for all destinations". Is there an elevator that will take Emily to the "Whole & Healthy" Destination? Is there a path that moves us to the promised land minus the wilderness? International travel takes us places and we are different when we return home because of what we experienced. I am learning that suffering and hardship takes us places we didn't know were out there and we are different when we return home. It's a lesson that we are not the pilot of our own lives as much as we plan and organize. We make decisions and respond and grow, but none of us can control the road ahead of us. But the rugged beauty, the transformation of soul, the growth of relationship, the depth of God, all of this is the promised land.
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