During this summer of multi-camping, the Fry has learned many new things: "Recycle, stop making garbage," says Go Green Camp Vandy. "Help the animals, protect their habitat," says the Nashville Zoo. "Share with your friends," says Vacation Bible School.
But my personal favorite is what the Fry learned from Safety Week at Bounce U.
"Don't be distracted while driving."
Apparently the police officer who visited admonished the kids to never text or talk and drive.... all very good and worthwhile advice. But I'd like to know why the good officer didn't talk to the kids about correcting a REAL distraction while driving, something even more dangerous than sending the occasional grocery list item to your husband before you forget for the 5th day in a row.
I'm talking about a situation like this:
It's three months until we move, but in the spirit of making hay while the sun shines
, I've begun casually, nostalgically sorting and packing a few things. In a pile of books in the parlor I came across a collection of Anne Sexton's poems. Opening randomly, I read--and burst into tears.
Daisy doesn't care for horses, but she is
13, and I see this moment coming.
Pain for a Daughter // Anne Sexton
Blind with love, my daughter
has cried nightly for horses,
those long necked marchers and churners
that she has mastered, any and all,
reining them in like a circus hand -
the excitable muscles and the ripe neck -
tending, this summer, a pony and a foal.
She who is squeamish to pull
a thorn from the dog’s paw
watched the pony blossom with distemper,
the underside of the jaw swelling
like an enormous grape,
Gritting her teeth with love,
she drained the boil and scoured it
with hydrogen peroxide until pus
ran like milk on the barn floor.
Blind with loss all winter,
in dungarees, a ski jacket, and a hard hat,
she visits the neighbors’ stables,
our acreage not zoned for barns,
they who own the flaming horses
and the swan-necked thoroughbred
that she tugs at and cajoles,
thinking it will burn like a furnace
under her small-hipped English seat.
Blind with pain, she limps home;
The thoroughbred has stood on her foot.
He rested there like a building;
He grew into her foot until they were one.
The marks of the horseshoe printed
into her flesh, the tips of her toes
ripped off like pieces of leather,
three toenails swirled like shells
and left to float in blood in her riding boot.
Blind with fear, she sits on the toilet,
her foot balanced over the washbasin,
her father, hydrogen peroxide in hand,
performing the rites of the cleansing.
She bites on a towel, sucked in breath,
sucked in and arched against the pain,
her eyes glancing off me where
I stand at the door, eyes locked
on the ceiling, eyes of a stranger,
And then she cries…
Oh! My god, Help me!
Where a child would have cried “Mama!”
Where a child would have believed “Mama!”
She bit the towel and called on God,
And I saw her life, stretch out…
I saw her torn in childbirth,
And I saw her, at that moment,
in her own death,
And I knew that she knew.
Poetry Friday is hosted today by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
, where she's sharing some of the poems exchanged through the Summer Poem Swap she has organized. I'm participating and will have at least three to share next Friday--thanks, Tabatha!
Hickem, Catherine. (2012). Heaven in Her Arms: Why God Chose Mary to Raise His Son and What It Means for You. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-1-4002-0036-8.
What do we know of Mary?
What we know of Mary’s family is that she is of the house of David; it is from her lineage Jesus fulfilled the prophecy. Given the archeological ruins of the various places thought to have been living quarters for their family, it is likely the home was a room out from which sleeping quarters (cells) branched. As Mary and her mother Anne would be busy maintaining the household, with young Mary working at her mother’s command, it is likely Anne would be nearby or in the same room during the Annunciation. Thus Mary would not have had a scandalous secret to later share with her parents but, rather, a miraculous supernatural experience, the salvific meaning of which her Holy parents would understand and possibly even witnessed.
Mary and Joseph were betrothed, not engaged. They were already married, likely in the form of a marriage contract, but the marriage had not yet been “consummated”. This is why he was going to divorce her when he learned of the pregnancy. If it were a mere engagement, he would have broken it off without too much scandal.
Married but not yet joined with her husband, her mother would prepare her by teaching her all that she needed to know. This is further reason to assume that Mary would be working diligently under her mother’s eye when the Annunciation took place.
We know that her cousin Elizabeth’s pregnancy was kept in secret for five months, and not made known until the sixth month when the Angel Gabriel proclaimed it to Mary. We know Mary then rushed to be at her elderly cousin’s side for three months (the remaining duration of Elizabeth’s pregnancy), and that this rushing appeared to be in response to Elizabeth’s pregnancy (to congratulate her), not an attempt to hide Mary’s pregnancy. Note how all of this is connected to Elizabeth’s pregnancy rather than Mary’s circumstances. As Mary was married to Joseph, he likely would have been informed of the trip. Had the intent been to hide Mary, she would have remained with Elizabeth until Jesus was born, not returned to her family after the first trimester, which is just about the time that her pregnancy was visible and obvious.
So we these misconceptions clarified, we can put Mary’s example within an even deeper context and more fully relate to her experience. We can imagine living in a faith-filled family who raises their child in strict accordance of God’s word. The extended family members may not understand, and certainly their community will not, so Mary, Anne and Joachim, and Joseph face extreme scandal as well as possible action from Jewish authorities. But they faced this together steep in conversation with God, providing a model for today’s family.
Although sometimes scriptural interpretations are flavored with modern-day eye, overall this book will be more than just a quick read for a young mother (or new bride, or teen aspiring to overcome the challenges of American culture, or single parent losing her mind). It is a heartwarming reflection with many examples that open up conversation with God. As an experienced psychotherapist, the author’s examples are spot on and easy to relate to. We do not need to have had the same experiences to empathize, reflect, and pursue meaning; we see it around us in everyday life. As such, a reflective look upon these examples can help one overcome an impasse in their own relationship with God and also open the reader up to self-knowledge as Hi
When S was born I breastfed her diligently, mashed my own organic purees and prided myself on my brilliant parenting when she grew up to love her broccoli and kale, sardines and lentils - happy to try everything and always wanting seconds. E was fussier but also quite greedy so could usually be cajoled into eating her cucumber in exchange for a yoghurt. I used to think that she was a fussy eater because she didn't like tuna!
And then came D who hated my purees, rejected finger foods and would quite happily eat nothing but cornflakes (but only with added sugar). I can count the foods he will eat on one hand and he has never knowingly eaten a piece of fruit or a vegetable. And I don't mean, "He doesn't like fruit but will eat blueberries and bananas because every child likes those fruit" - he has never eaten a piece of fruit, never mind a pea or a carrot.
Yes, I've tried 'hiding' vegetables plus he picks his own on the allotment, he eats with other children, we do lots of cooking together, blah, blah, it never makes the slightest difference, he will retch if there is onion hidden in his pasta sauce. When I'm feeling particularly guilt-ridden I blend spinach into his pesto (one of his five foods - he is a true SW child <blush>) but most of the time I just give in and allow his plate of casserole to be replaced with peanut butter and toast, of which 90 per cent of his meals consist.
Therefore D's willingness to eat a new food is a cause for celebration in our house, especially if it's not a sweet. Ok, it's practically a cake - banana bread with chocolate chips - but it also contains lots of banana (fruit!), hopefully enough to stave off scurvy. And it's delicious - we made three last week and each one got eaten in a day.
|Image: Adrienne Yong|
I used the recipe from the Great British Book of Baking
- I was a bit snobby about the book because of that annoying TV show (baking as a competitive sport is one of my irrational dislikes - Jane Brocket wrote a great post about this on her blog here
) - but I've used it lots and every time the recipe has turned out great (unlike the error-ridden Hummingbird
book). And if even D will eat it, it can't be too bad...
I just received my author copies of a new anthology, Always There. These true stories show how God moves in the lives of mothers of young children. The anthology makes seventeen I’ve had stories published in. and as I did with prior anthologies, I’ve now read every story in it. The best way to write for anthologies is to read them so you know what publishers are looking for.
Always There surprised me with its depth. I was expecting stories along the line of ”the five-second rule” (how parents become increasingly lax about allowing their children to eat food dropped on the floor) or “the crying kids in Wal-Mart” (how parents used to be annoyed by crying children in department and grocery stores but now are the parents of those children themselves). These are the types of stories young mothers tell one another while commiserating over the struggles of parenthood, but such stories have been told so often they’re clichés. Always There skipped the clichés, the trite, and the shallow in laying open what women in the trenches of early motherhood truly feel.
One woman who struggled with infertility wrote of hating pregnant women. Several women wrote of feeling inadequate and overwhelmed as mothers. Others spoke of the difficulties of missing sleep. I especially appreciated this statement from Rachel Swenson Balducci: “Rarely does any good come from a sleep-deprived mother analyzing the way things are” (p. 131). Plenty of truth in that! But every story also included hope and the quiet acknowledgment that God is with us every step of the way.
This anthology is produced for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), and I expect it will comfort and uplift young moms. If I submit to the publishers again, I will keep in mind that they, like most anthology producers, want honesty and insight, the a-ha rather than the ho-hum.
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Yesterday was my little Tyler's first birthday. It felt as much of a celebration of us making it safely through one year of parenthood, as it did a celebration for him.
Although I started writing and illustrating children's books well before I had my own child, I can see why so many people are inspired by their own children to start creating. To be honest, part of me had felt (and feared) my creative life would be over once our baby arrived — due to time constraints as a mum — but now I feel I'm actually being refueled and inspired as I watch him grow and develop, as he takes each new step in his life journey, and exhibits his funny little quirks. And don't even get me started on the cuteness of his round head and chubby feet.
The journey as a parent is a fascinating one, full of highs and lows, laughs and frustrations and exhaustion. I created this video for Tyler, for us, and for family and friends near and far, to mark his first year. He has watched it about 20 times already as he dances along, and each time it ends, points to the computer and demands "a-deh!" ("again!").
I hope you enjoy meeting my little bunny rabbit...
For the past couple months when I have a few minutes I've been reading Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott. The book is a journal of her first year with her son, Sam, and how it changed her life. It is dark and funny and brutally honest. When I've had two hours sleep and am covered in spit-up and pacing the apartment trying to get baby to sleep its helps to hear about motherhood from a writer's perspective- she spares no detail good or bad. This is part of an entry when her son was 7 months old:
"I wish I felt more like writing. I don't particularly feel like I have anything to say these days. I feel like the propulsion is missing. All that emptiness and desire and craving and feeling and need to achieve used to keep me at the typewriter. Now there's me and Sam, and it feels like there's not any steam in my pressure cooker. Whenever I teach, I tell my students about that line of Doctorow's, that when you're writing a novel, its like driving in a tulle fog: you can only see about as far as the headlights, but that's enough; it's as far as you have to see. And I tell them that this probably applies to real life, too. But right now I feel like I'm just sitting in the car with Sam, not really going anywhere, just getting to know each other, both of us looking out through the window at what passes by, and then at each other again."
This is how I feel today. Writing and painting feel very far away.