Monthly Archives: February 2007

“We’re baa-aack!”

Whew!  I’ve been gone nine whole days!  First, we left town for my daughter’s soccer tournament last weekend, took advantage of the San Antonio Zoo on Monday, the McNay Art Museum on Tuesday, and my husband and I (with the baby) just HAD to spend 3 nights in Corpus Christi for a church council meeting (very rough, I’ll admit.)  We finished off yesterday celebrating my grandfather’s 93rd birthday.   It was a great week (plus) but, as the saying goes:

There’s no place like home.

 Must go unpack and deal with my mountain of laundry.

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Book Review: Baby by Patricia MacLachlan

My 10 year old tossed Baby by Patricia MacLachlan at the end of her bed last night. “That was sad” was her only comment.

Having an attraction to “sad” books, I immediately grabbed it and began reading it while putting my toddler to sleep. I stayed there until I finished. When I finished my side was numb and I had tears running down my face. What a beautiful book.

Patricia MacLachlan has a rare gift among storytellers. She writes stories poetically. I don’t mean she uses poetic phrases, as so many good authors do, but she composes poetically. She turns simple words, that could be read by any second grader, and makes a story that reads like one big poem. Each word is savored, never wasted. The wonderful thing is that readers none too fond of poetry would never have guessed that they just read a poem disguised as a story.

Baby (1993, Delacorte Press) might be my favorite among her stories. The author is probably best known for Sarah, Plain and Tall. Even non-readers may be familiar with the Hallmark movie version of the story. That book, although poetically written, translates well into a dramatic reproduction. Baby would not work so well.

Baby is about words and the power of words and the destruction in lives when words are withheld. Like a good layer cake, it is also about loss, pain, cycles, giving, and healing.

Twelve-year-old Larkin lives with her mom and dad on an island year round. The story opens at the end of summer, as the last summer ferry carries the tourists away until the next summer. One little island “guest” is left behind at Larkin’s home. An almost year old baby, Sophie, has been left by her mother with a note attached telling the family that “I will come back for her one day.” Sophie becomes the catalyst which brings about healing in Larkin’s family.

As the family takes in Sophie, they uncover the pain surrounding the loss of Larkin’s newborn brother, “Baby,” six months prior. Larkin’s parents never talk about him, never named him, and through their silence have isolated each other from themselves and from their daughter. The story unfolds beautifully as Larkin’s family cycles through fear of love, love for Sophie, then once again has to face loss again, when Sophie’s mother returns in the spring to claim her. During the story, Larkin discovers poetry and how words are “wondrous” and powerful, and through this power Larkin and her family find their way back from loss and pain.

Baby speaks powerfully to foster care, too. Larkin’s grandmother, with foresight, has the following conversation with Larkin:

“This is not meant to be easy,” she said, “It is a very important thing to do, for Sophie and especially for your mother and father. But it will not be easy. Do you understand?”

I understood. I did. I knew that what she meant was what Papa had said. Sophie was not ours. Someday she would go away. Another thing to miss.

“Why is it important?” I asked her…

“It is important, Larkin, because we are giving Sophie something to take away with her when she goes.”

“What?” asked Lalo [Larkin’s friend]. “What will she take with her?”

“Us,” said Byrd firmly.

“And what will we have when she’s gone?” I asked .

Byrd is silent. It takes the rest of the book for Larkin to have her answer.

I had a wonderful conversation this morning with my daughter about the book and the power of words. We were reminded of how God spoke world into being and how Jesus is called the Word made flesh. Words are ordained by our Creator to hold power…power to heal and soothe, and also power to hurt. MacLachlin’s book addresses how the absence of words can be just as harmful as the ill-used word and what blessings may flow when words are used to heal.


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Some really great music

For years, my friends have had to listen to me complain about contemporary Christian music. Much of the time, it’s SO CHEESY. I can’t stand about 95% of it. This gets me some raised eyebrowns from time to time, as if to say “Is she really a Christian? How can she say that?”

But, really, have you listened to it closely? Why do Christians have to dumb down our music? To hear singers re-create a Brittney Spears sound and somehow “sanctify” it by the lyrics just doesn’t work for me. Quality and beauty should be a major goal of any artist, and as Christians, we should never forget it.

Last year, a musician, Nathan Clark George, appeared in town for a couple of small church concerts and I bought a few CDs. I loved his music. He categorizes himself as an acoustic/folk artist. The thing I love about his music is that it is real. He writes about all of life from a Christian worldview and let’s it be that. He doesn’t try for a “Christian” song…they just are because that is who he is.

The guitar, mandolin, violin, fiddle, and cello playing on his Slam the Door CD are phenomenal. My favorite song is “Feels so Foreign.” Besides the soulful violin playing, I like how the lyrics are an honest struggle with Scripture. He knows that the Word is true but the thought of not being married still to his wife in heaven makes heaven “feel so foreign” to him. I love the authenticity.

Check out his website and listen to a few of his songs. You can also listen and rate one of his Scripture songs on the indieheaven site. If you’re like me and cringe from Christian radio , or even if you love Christian radio but appreciate an acoustic/folk sound, you won’t be disappointed.

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Happy St. Valentine’s Day

“Our Hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” St. Augustine

 

For God so loVed the world

that he gAve his

onLy

begottEn

SoN,

thaT whosoever

believes In Him

shall Not perish

but have Everlasting life.

-John 3:16

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Meanwhile, only a month later…

…I finally got my Christmas boxes put away. When my hubbie came home he almost tripped because he was trying to step over the now non-existent boxes that his body has been trained to manuever around ever since I optimistically had them out since Epiphany. That man must really love me. Or is very blind. Seeing as he is a pilot for a living, I think it is the former.

Here is a great idea for those of us who have a thing or two not yet crossed off on our January to-do or honey-do lists.   So cute…I love her attitude.  I would have followed her example but somehow the hearts stuck to my boxes would not have had the same effect.

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Color-blind vs. Color-blessed

I hope this works! I’ve managed to shift my sick baby (see last post) to where I can use both hands. I only hope it lasts!

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ever since I heard MLK’s quote years ago, I was determined to be color-blind. Of course I wanted for all people to be judged by the content of their character…why on earth would their skin color matter? So I tried never to notice the color of people’s skin, thinking this was the proper thing to do.

Easier said than done.

It wasn’t until I sat through a Beth Moore study that I realized why this is…duh!…God gave us eyes and well, we notice things. We notice that one neighbor is covered with red freckles, another is swathed in skin the color of coffee with cream, and yet another is so translucent, you could count every blood vessel in her body!

In the study, she summed up my whole ridiculous notion of being color-blind, in her usual funny way. We stammer, we stumble, we back pedal, all in trying to avoid naming a race, or admitting that we noticed a person is black, brown, or whatever. Here on the Texas border, I hear people say “See the Spanish waitress over there? Could you get her attention?” I promise you that there is not a Spanish waitress around for miles and miles. It is just that in our effort not to notice, we just get all tied up, and end up using the nearest ridiculous phrase available. In many cases, by avoiding the more accurate description, as in the Spanish waitress case above, we inadvertently turn the real term into a perceived derogatory one.

What phrase Beth introduced to me was “color-blessed.” Ahah! I loved it! What a relief! A phrase to fit reality. A God-honoring phrase. A people-honoring phrase. When we are color-blessed, we can live into the reality that we are all made a little different and hallelujah, how beautiful it is!

I have been thinking about this a lot lately as we enter into the whole new world of adoption. I get excited thinking about our family being color-blessed, should God choose to bless us that way. It makes me remember another phrase from MLK’s speech:

“…one day … little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

Amen.

 

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I guess the disadvantage to formally learning to type…

…is that I’m awfully impatient typing with one hand. My other hand is holding my sick toddler, as it has been doing since Thursday!! I’ve been writing posts in my head for days now but I can’t stand the hunt and peck. It makes me feel all “scribbly” inside, in the words of my 7 y/o.

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