The Children's Book Quote of the Day

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Freedom January 31, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 9:41 pm

Safety is all well and good: I prefer freedom. (from The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White)

I’ve thought about this quote a lot, and how we can become prisoners of our own fears. Safe but trapped. I could write a post about that. But this week, with the Superbowl coming to Texas, I have been thinking even more about the many children who have neither safety nor freedom. If you drive down I30, you might see a billboard with a picture of a young girl and the words, “I am a slave in the land of the free.” I am talking, of course, about the despicable sex trade and the people who are literally enslaved within it. I did not know until recently that pimps and traffickers bring underage girls into cities that host major sporting events like the Superbowl to meet the increased demand. There are wonderful nonprofits and government organizations working hard to rescue these slaves from their captors and I read today that last year they were able to liberate 45 girls during the Superbowl.

In the Declaration of Independence, we state that is a self-evident truth that ALL people are endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I think most of us still really believe that. But I think we are in a habit of turning away from the uncomfortable truth that more human beings worldwide are in slavery than at any other time in history. And a lot of it is sexual slavery. So I ask you to stop turning away your eyes. Look at the problem. See if there’s something you can do to help. And if you pray, pray for the children.


Lost Hope January 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Shanna @ 5:16 pm

I lost hope when I saw the horses’ teeth. (from The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan)

By the way, sorry that I forgot to post yesterday.  I blame winter.

Yesterday, I had thought about digging my car out (again) after the 10 inches of snow we got on Wednesday.  I wasn’t really serious about it–I knew that I could manage without my car.  But when I went down to check on it, I found that the owners of the Jeep (with vanity plates from California) in the parking space in front of mine had chosen to dig their car out for the first time this month, and apparently felt like the hood of my car was the appropriate place to leave their refuse.  I’ll confess to you that words inappropriate to the content of this blog came out of my mouth when I saw that the front of my car was quite literally buried in snow.  And that was when I abandoned any hope of using my vehicle until . . . well, I hear the snow starts melting off in March sometimes.  Or maybe I’ll just cowgirl up and get after it some weekend when I have a few hours to devote to it.  Or maybe I’ll just tackle it at the rate of thirty minutes a day.  I’m thinking 30 minutes of snow shoveling a day for the foreseeable future would result in some nicely toned arms.  I wish I thought that was more of a plus than I do.

So, the quote I used is from a point in the story when Percy Jackson is charged with completing the herculean task of cleaning the stalls of the mares of Diomedes–flesh eating horses.  I kind of felt like my snow-shoveling task was herculean enough until I saw how much more difficult it will be now.



Filed under: Uncategorized — Shanna @ 4:53 pm

“Meanwhile,” said Mr. Tumnus, “it is winter in Narnia, and has been for ever so long, and we shall both catch cold if we stand here talking in the snow.” (from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis)

I know I’ve posted a lot about the weather lately, but all of this snow just piled up all over the place is seriously the hardest thing for me to adjust to.  If you’ve never lived in a place where it snows a lot, I can’t adequately explain to you what it’s like.  There are just piles of it everywhere, anywhere from 3 feet to, well, taller than me in height.  It lines the sidewalks like walls, and everywhere  it seems to impede my ability to freely and easily walk where I want to.  It encroaches into my space everywhere, making sidewalks and streets narrower.  And where little foot trails have been made through the walls to cross the street, it’s mostly a dirty, slushy, salty puddle.  We’ve had over 38 inches of snow this month alone (little of which has melted off), and over 62 for this season, and very little sunshine.  It’s a lot for this Texas girl to handle.  I barely remember what this place looked like before it was covered in snow–hedgerows and landscapes have been swallowed up whole.  Most of the time, I don’t mind it so much, or I am amused by the novelty of it all.

Some days, though–like today–I feel overwhelmed by this surreal place, where the conditions are as alien to me as, I am sure, my arid near-desert home would be to the locals here. I begin to feel like this white, sludgy world with it’s gray sky and dirty streets is all that is and all that ever was.  Winter is hard.  Ever so much harder than I knew before I came here.  It reminds me that we can never really be prepared for any experience until it happens.  We have to learn how to negotiate our way through life as we go.

But then I think about spring.  However much it may feel like winter is interminable, I know that it will end.  I know that the snow will melt, and the world will turn green again, and flowers will bloom.  I know that I will feel the warmth of the hot sun on my skin again, and open my windows to let the sweet, wonderful breezes blow through.  Spring will pounce in like a lion and roar and shake its great mane and shatter winter’s icy shroud, breathing life and renewal over this land.  This is the hope that I have on dreary days: Spring will come.  And there never will be such a spring for me, I think, as this one.


This is history January 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 10:21 pm

“This isn’t a mess, Daddy,” she declared. “This is history. And in the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘We are made by history.’(from Imogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming)

Can I just say how excited I am at the prospect of going through piles of old family letters this year? Some might say, “What a mess!” or “What a pain!” But to me, it is our history. What we are made of. I’m so excited!

Also, Imogene’s Last Stand is a must read for all history and children’s book enthusiasts. Truly a gem.


My husband is a fox

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 10:16 am

Then Mrs. Fox got shyly to her feet and said, “I don’t want to make a speech. I just want to say one thing, and it is this: MY HUSBAND IS A FANTASTIC FOX.” (from Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl)

Men get so much flack in sitcoms and other pop culture environments, not to mention among women at the water cooler. It drives me crazy. If you appreciate your husband, don’t be shy to say so. And the more you call him a fantastic fox, the foxier and foxier he’ll be. Men seem to respond to respect like that. 😉


No matter January 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 11:55 pm

A person’s a person no matter how small. (from Horton Hears A Who by Dr. Seuss)


Whole cauliflowers January 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 11:32 pm

Mrs. Darling was married in white, and at first she kept the books perfectly, almost gleefully, as if it were  a game, not so much as a Brussels sprout was missing; but by and by whole cauliflowers dropped out, and instead of them there were pictures of babies without faces. She drew them when she should have been totting up. (from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie)

And so it happened that while I was piling Brussels sprouts into the health savings account (read: future new baby fund), whole cauliflowers dropped out of the regular checking account. The one we are supposed to be living on. Leftovers for dinner this week and cooking from the pantry the next. 😉


Pretty inconvenient January 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 11:26 pm

I was proud, but I wasn’t so sure I wanted to do my best all the time. I thought it could get pretty inconvenient. If people started expecting a lot of me, I would have to do more and more. (from The Most Beautiful Place in the World by Ann Cameron)

 This is how I feel about cleaning my house. If the first time someone comes over my house is spotless and cookies are just coming out of the oven as the tea kettle whistles, they will be expecting some version of that everytime they come to visit. I remember when I used to actually clean the cleaning supplies. I washed the dustpan and brush every time I used it, for example. I remember when I used to scrub the floor on my knees. I remember when I used to sweep the front porch on a regular basis. And I remember when I used to check all of the cards in the Taboo game after our friends went home, to make sure they were all facing the right way for the next game.

I remember when I had a baby.

Perfection got more and more inconvenient.

You can come over if you want. We’ll play Taboo and I won’t worry about where you put the cards. If I find one in the couch four weeks later, I might just toss it on top of the cabinet where the games are rather than climb up there to get the game down to put the card in the box. If you come over, we can make cookies. I have cute aprons we can wear while we bake, but they are not ironed. And I will leave the mixing bowl “soaking.” Indefinitely. Make sure you wear shoes in the kitchen, unless you like the feel of cereal crunching under your feet. Benjamin likes cereal. It’s everywhere. I still sweep the floor every day, but cereal is still somehow a constant. And I never wash the dustpan and brush anymore. Ever. It would still be drying when I need to sweep up the next pile. Of cereal.

(ps I posted two posts today because Friday I was unable to use the computer. My husband was building Megadesk.)


The monkeys looked

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 11:11 pm

The peddler looked at the monkeys. They monkeys looked at the peddler. (from Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina)

I take off my scarf and leave it on a chair. Later, I see Benjamin wearing the scarf around his shoulders. He watches me put on my makeup. Later, he climbs up on Jon’s desk and gets a dry-erase marker. He writes only on his eyelids. The baby is inconsolable and I say, “Lord, help me” under my breath. Minutes later, I hear him say, “Help me” in a whisper. I drop something on my foot and say “Ouch!” He laughs and says, “Ouch!” I burn my toast in the broiler and say, “Dang it!” He says, “Dang it!” He sneezes and I say, “Bless you!” I sneeze and he says, “Bless you.”

The monkey is watching me. He is listening to me. I think I need to work on saying more “bless you”s and fewer “Dang it”s.



Filed under: Uncategorized — Shanna @ 8:45 am

Memphis hadn’t got the word that it was winter.  The trees were green and the sky was a brilliant blue. (from The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan)

Sorry I forgot to post yesterday! Boston has definitely gotten word that it’s winter. The high for today is 12 degrees, and that just blew my Texas mind. It did. It sounded a little bit like a balloon when the air is let out slowly. I’ll be meditating on warmer climates today and trying out my new down coat. Well, I guess the good news is that the sun is out and there’s no precipitation coming today. For those of you in cold climates, I feel a sense of solidarity with you. For those of you in warmer climates, think of me with compassion today.