The Children's Book Quote of the Day

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A mighty view December 6, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 2:28 pm

From his balcony, he looked down over the houses of all his subjects–first, over the spires of the noblemen’s castles, across the broad roofs of the rich men’s mansions, then over the little houses of the townsfolk, to the huts of the farmers far off in the fields. 

It was a mighty view and it made King Derwin feel mighty important. (from The 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss)

I can’t include this passage without also quoting from the very next page, where we see Bartholomew Cubbins looking from his little hut toward the castle:

It was exactly the same view that King Derwin saw from his balcony, but Bartholomew saw it backward. It was a mighty view, but it made Barholomew Cubbins feel mighty small.


Has this ever happened to you? You are standing in line at the grocery store, paying with money you worked hard and honestly for, and you notice the person in front of you messing with her smart phone with professionally manicured hands before she pays with a food stamp card? Before you can stop yourself, judgement floods your mind. You inwardly scoff. How irresponsible! How wrong! If she can afford a smart phone, why does she need food stamps? Your view makes you feel superior, smug, and smart.

Does it occur to you that you actually don’t know a thing about her situation? You don’t know if she has a job or what kind of job she has. You don’t know if the card is her own or if she is doing a favor and shopping for a down and out neighbor. You don’t know if the smart phone is work-issued or if was purchased and put under contract before hard luck hit. You don’t know if her sister is in cosmetology school and practices on her nails. Perhaps you are so privileged that you have never known what it might be like to not have anyone teach you priorities or fiscal responsibility, to not know the kind of fear that accompanies generational poverty and therefore you cannot put yourself in her shoes. Maybe she is irresponsible but has never been taught differently or maybe she is working as hard as she can and she never thought she would be in this situation. Does it occur to you that it might make her feel mighty small to pull that food stamp card out in front of everyone?

My friend, Cassi, and her young sons have been lending a helping hand to a group of homeless people in their town. Not surprisingly, some people who have heard of what they have been doing have cautioned her to “not help too much.” They’ve passed on their judgement like germs on a shopping cart and assumed they know the character that leads to homelessness. But Cassi is both braver and kinder than to allow it to infect her. She said this in response to them today: “We can’t get on our high horses and pretend that we know anything about anyone that we have never taken the time to get to know personally. And besides, what if the stereotypes WERE true for everybody? They all of sudden become less deserving of grace and love and help? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t we be reaching out even more so to those folks?”

Cassi could have chosen differently. When her son expressed his desire to help a homeless person, she could have said, “No, honey. That man is clearly an alcoholic and anything we give him will just be wasted.” But she didn’t. Instead she chose to teach her children (and her friends) that mercy and grace are not to be earned and nothing given in a spirit of love is ever wasted. She chose not to sit in her beautiful home and feel superior or to drive by in her nice car and turn up her nose. She chose to set aside the mighty view, to cross the distance so that she was face to face and eye to eye with a person in great need. And, in so doing, she probably made that person feel bigger. Thanks for the lesson, Cassi.


Match up November 20, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 10:45 pm

She shook her head and laughed. “Glory, sweetie, our hands aren’t a thing alike. But they match up pretty good.” (from Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood)

Lovely little reminder that our hands don’t have to be the same to match up well or work together. It’s true in marriage, friendship, and work. If all of our hands, personalities, and abilities were the same this life would be dull and nothing would thrive. Diversity of talent, opinion, background, passion, and gifting is the beating heart of community, industry, church, education and home I think. May we remember to seek out hands that are different and clasp them to our own in friendship and cooperation. And may we see our differences as a blessing and a benefit not a hindrance or division.


A lot more interesting November 4, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 11:38 pm

If you’ll let me tell you what I imagine about myself you’ll find me a lot more interesting. (from Anne Of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery)

I know, I know, everyone talks about this and here I go reinventing the wheel. I can’t help it. I’m going to talk about social media and the lives we put out for the world to see.

Our real lives (plain, old, unromantic real lives) often don’t seem interesting enough to share in a culture that is all about sharing. We are supposed to share the minutiae of our days but only if it makes everyone else “like” what we post. So here we sit, fingers hovering over keyboards hoping to find something to say that will be interesting enough. We post pictures taken from the right angles to show the cleanest corner of the house and only one chin on mama and it’s like saying, “Please like me. Please think I’m interesting. Please call me Cordelia?” We think we want this validation of our day-to-day but I believe in our hearts we are looking for a Marilla out there who says, “Anne is a fine name and nothing to be ashamed of.” Someone who will risk a relationship in real life even though we show our double chins and messy rooms. Someone who isn’t at all interested in what we imagine about ourselves.

Some months ago I was spending a lovely afternoon with several friends and we pulled up one friend’s maternity pictures on a computer. A couple of the girls who are into photography started touching up the pictures–lengthening her eyelashes, brightening her eyes, smoothing the skin on her forehead. She was thrilled. We were all impressed by the skill and the technology. But something about it made me mistrust every professional picture my family has had taken. Were my son’s eyes really that blue or were they brightened later on a computer? I found myself searching our photos for small wrinkles, fly-away hairs, and unflattering creases in my dress. Searching for something that would say, “This photo is real. This was a real moment in our lives. We are real people.” See, I want to break free of this need to look perfect. I want to be real. For my kids, for my friends, for myself. Real.

In The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, the Skin Horse says, “Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

I think we have a harder time being real in this culture of sharing. I mean, there’s probably always been an expectation of putting your best out there (the company towels and all) but now that everyone’s a casual voyeur we have to put our best forward all the time. That’s exhausting. And it creates a snowball effect where we compare our worst to everyone else’s best and they do the same with us and nobody tells the whole truth. I was listening to the leadership team at my MOPS group introduce themselves a couple of months ago and so many of them said that drop in visitors give them major anxiety because they either don’t have the house together enough or themselves together enough for someone to drop by unexpectedly. Drop by visitors are my favorite friends. They are the ones to whom I can say, “I am trusting you with my real life. If you go in my room right now you will see a pile of laundry waiting to be folded. If you go in the craft room, you should fear for your life. But what kind of tea do you want?” If you come into my real life house when I haven’t had time to prepare the company towels for your arrival, I need you to be okay with what you find here. Sometimes my kids are still in pajamas at lunch time. Sometimes there is laundry on the bed. Sometimes we don’t do the dishes right away. Sometimes it looks awesome (well, the craft room never does) but sometimes it doesn’t. Please come over anyway.  My friend Sarah has been known to call and say, “DON’T clean your house before I come.” Even if she’s giving me enough notice that I could. My friend Erin jokes that I always serve one of two lunches. This is because those are my fall-back, always have the ingredients on hand for drop by lunch guest lunches! She is one of the few people who actually takes me up on my come by any time policy so she gets to experience those two lunches over and over. Meg is a friend who is allowed into my craft room. That is probably one of the best indicators of closeness and trust.

So to my “friends,” I will continue to tell you the fun and funny parts of our lives because part of me really enjoys the “likes.” But if you want to be real life friends, please just text when you’re on your way over so I can unlock the door and avoid you having to ring the bell and wake the baby (that way we can talk with fewer interruptions). And if you do ring the bell and wake the baby, I won’t be mad at you. I’ll be very glad to have a friend there on a day when the baby’s nap was too short. If you come over for lunch and I am just now running the dishwasher from last night’s supper so I’m out of clean plates, just wait a sec while I hand wash a couple. Or we could eat from kiddie plates OR we could eat from the good china! Which would you prefer, real life friend?


Looking forward to things October 27, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 9:46 pm

“Oh, Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them,” exclaimed Anne. “You mayn’t get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them. Mrs. Lynde says, ‘Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.’ But I think it would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed.” (from Anne Of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery)



Kindness October 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 11:30 pm

Just because an animal is large, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want kindness; however big Tigger seems to be, remember that he wants as much kindness as Roo. (from Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne)


The only thing to do October 10, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 1:53 pm

She was sitting there waiting for something or somebody and, since sitting and waiting was the only thing to do just then, she sat and waited with all her might and main. (from Anne Of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery)


My splash of gold October 8, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 2:05 pm

Years rolled on again, and Wendy had a daughter. This ought not to be written in ink but in a golden splash. (from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie)

Yesterday was my daughter’s heartbeat day. This is the day we first heard her little heart beating through the ultrasound when she was in the womb. We were so excited to hear that little whooshing sound and to wonder who she would become. When she is older, we will celebrate her heartbeat day the way we do our son’s, with heart shaped food and heart themed books. We’ll show her ultrasound pictures from when she used to live inside of me and we’ll talk to her about the kind of heart we want her to have. She’s a bit young for all of that this year but we still pause to thank God for making her and for making her ours.

When I was pregnant with June Elizabeth I was so exhausted and overwhelmed that I didn’t really enjoy the pregnancy like I wanted to. I was anemic almost the whole time and dealing with my three-year-old son and my two-year-old nephew every day. I potty trained my son and broke my toe while I was pregnant with her. It was an exhausting time. I also had some depression during that pregnancy. All of this combined to give me some anxiety about my relationship with her. I was actually afraid I wouldn’t feel as connected to her as I did to my son. When I was pregnant with Benjamin I was constantly aware of his presence and always thinking about him and planning for him. With June Elizabeth I would actually forget I was pregnant for a few hours and then be surprised to feel her kick. This made me feel guilty and worried. I just thought, what if I don’t love her enough? What if I don’t feel that connection?

In a strangely uncharacteristic moment of transparency I shared this concern with our friend, Trey. Both of our families were out taking pictures in a field of bluebonnets and their second daughter was still very young. I told him I was worried that I didn’t seem to feel as connected to my unborn daughter as I had felt to my son when he was in the womb. He told me that he knew it would be okay and that that moment of connection would come. He told me the moment he felt that deep, true connection to their second daughter was very different than the moment he felt it with their first. And he reminded me to pray about it if I was truly worried. (Have I mentioned before that my greatest talent is finding really great friends?) He gave me hope in telling me that my bond with my daughter would not be diminished if it came with time rather than immediacy. My friend Erin, without being told of these fears, told me a few days later a similar thing. When I told her of my fears she said she would pray for my peace in knowing that I would be a good and loving mother for this baby girl and that the connection would come in its own time.

And then June Elizabeth was born and all of my fears seemed so strange. She far exceeded my dreams and I had so much joy in holding and caring for her. She came to us like a golden splash of sunshine, all silky dark hair and fluffy cheeks and coos and dimples. She was a perfect nurser and a cuddly little bundle of dimples and sighs. I received not only the peace I had prayed for, but a huge amount of delight in mothering her. She has been such a joy from her first moments. She is a gift I do not take for granted and I am thankful for her life and the joy she brings to mine. But I am also thankful, when I remember her living in the womb, for the friends who lifted me up when I was worried and afraid. And as we celebrate June Elizabeth’s heartbeat day, one of my highest hopes for her heart is that it will be cushioned by the support of good and honest friends. It is a hard world and we all face many difficult things. I want her heart to be tender, but to also be strong. When my own tender heart has been nearly unable to stand this life, my friends have lent me strength.