I’m at the beginning of the end of this pregnancy, which means slowing way down, accepting I can’t pick things up off the floor anymore, and resting with my feet up at regular intervals. It’s cool, I don’t mind, it’s the perfect excuse to sit down with a crochet or knitting project and boss the kids from a chair. 😀
I paused in my eating, feeling in that moment a very “deer in the headlights” type of reaction. You would think after 7 kids and over 14 years of fielding random questions, this kind of stuff wouldn’t catch me by surprise anymore.
My brain quickly ran through and dismissed a dozen possible answers before I pulled the plug on my overthinking. This was Squeaky asking. She rarely poses a question of this type without something specific already in mind–an angle, if you will–so I’d be best off to start there.
“I like that I’m growing new life in me,” I said. “Why do you ask?”
“Because you’re resting your plate on your stomach like it’s a table, and it just looks so convenient.”
Yeah, of all the things pregnancy could make an 11 year old wonder about, Squeaky would be the one to note the convenience of the built in table.
Asked the Saucepot. I glanced at her and gave my usual reply of, “Nope. If you’re bored I can give you some work to do.”
“Oh, well. I’m not bored, I’m just…borderline.“
I laughed out loud, simultaneously wondering ‘borderline what‘ and ‘I so relate to this.’
February, to be short (ha, pun), was a bit rough. Between back to back colds, hitting the third trimester (everything happens more slowly!), my uncle unexpectedly passing away, and some other curveballs, I was starting to feel like things looked outside–dull, gray, desperate for a hint of spring.
A gentle reminder came out of nowhere. “I love the beginning of Lent,” someone commented to me, “because it means in 6 weeks everything will be beautiful for Easter.”
It kinda hit home, this simple statement. She was just making conversation and had no clue of my personal struggles, but suddenly I thought of Jesus during the last weeks of his ministry on Earth. I imagined the emotional roller coaster of the disciples and other believers, how bleak the future must have seemed for those who didn’t understand what was happening–or what was going to happen.
They couldn’t see the big picture, but Jesus could. And the hope and joy that erupted on Earth and in Heaven when He conquered sin and rose from the grave extended all the way to now…and beyond. I felt a ping in my heart, and my spirits rose. God is here, always.
Shortly after I began to feel better about the winter swirling around me, I looked up the lyrics to the hymn “This Is My Father’s World.” I know the first verse and sing it semi-frequently to Seven as part of her going to bed routine, but it’s one of her favorites so I figured I ought to learn the rest. The third verse brought even more reassurances and peace, and I had to briefly stop singing in the middle of it for feeling overwhelmed with God’s tender mercies.
“I got this,” He seemed to be telling me. “It’s not so dreary as you think.”
It was a day or two later that all over the yard I discovered daffodil and tulip shoots starting to poke through the ground and the early irises beginning to put out new leaves. Spring is coming, God is in control, and I am here to see it and feel it. Gratefulness abounds.
This is my Father’s world: O let me ne’er forget That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet. This is my Father’s world: Why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King: let the heavens ring! God reigns; let earth be glad! (This Is My Father’s World; M. Babcock)
Through several sources (but mostly the Dearliest), I have encountered some fun things in the last few months.
Ants’hillvania. My husband listened to this as a youngster, and after some searching around he found one on eBay. We enjoyed listening to it with the kids at Christmas, and now several of the songs have become regulars to sing about the house. The tale combines the parable of The Sower and The Prodigal Son, with ant puns scattered throughout. It was definitely ant-ertaining!
Baxter Black–The Vegetarian’s Nightmare
True Story of Thanksgiving–Rush Limbaugh. More eye-opening than fun. I remembered learning a lot of this as a kid, but I’d forgotten more than I’d like to admit!
Jingle Bells with CNC Machine.
And lastly, from the Dearliest, a limerku. Or maybe haikerick.
There once was a man From Cork who got limericks And haikus mixed up
One of the hardest parts of writing the annual Christmas newsletter is picking which stories to include. Here are a few featuring mostly Squeaky and Indy that didn’t make the cut but I felt they were too good to pass up!
One day Indy bumped into the futon and Squeaky asked if he hit his funny bone. He replied, “No, I hit a different bone. If I’d hit my funny bone I’d be laughing.”
The kids were watching a movie, and Squeaky at one point observed of one character, “He has a bit of a temper.” LK without missing a beat replied, “You should know.”
Indy went to work with the Dearliest one day, and the jobsite had a small pond. After looking at the little pond in the yard, Indy commented, “There are no ducks in that pond. I guess that just isn’t enough water to impress a duck.”
Squeaky was in a silly mood one day and decided to dress up a watermelon. She put Pokado’s explorers hat and some sunglasses on it, called it Wallace, and promptly asked him, “Why the long face?”
Overheard conversations are sometimes the best, like the one where Squeaky explained to LK and Pokado that outfits are what you wear when you’re going out, and infits are what you wear when you’re hanging out in the house.
On another trip with the Dearliest, Indy hopped into the truck and exclaimed “Slug Bug!” To which the Dearliest replied, “Where?” “Oh, I just say that every time I get in the car and buckle up, that way I said it first,” Indy explained. “Squeaky says it doesn’t count, she’s wrong, and she’s bitter about always losing to me because she forgets to say it when we buckle up.”
During a violin lesson, Mr. C (the violin teacher) was going over a slow part of LK’s music, as LK had a tendency to speed through it. Mr. C shared how the piece is a dance from Sicily, which is full of a mostly older generation and they do everything much more slowly over there. They take much more time to do things, and the music reflects that. LK then replied without missing a beat, “Ah! That explains why there’s no repeats.”
Backstory on the inspiration for the story: One cold, cold evening earlier this month I stopped at a RedBox (movie rental kiosk) outside a grocery store. A young man was there with the Salvation Army singing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” as I walked up. During the course of my business he sang quite a few verses, and I told the Dearliest later that it made quite an impression. Most people only know the first, maybe second verse.
Combine that with having watched a LOT of Columbo this year, and you have the starting point for this short story.
(This post was written over the course of a week, and we haven’t seen the blue flies for a few days.)
Little blue flies swarm in droves outside, an advent of fall and signaling the impending frost. Another week, maybe two, and the princess trees will shudder and complain “too cold!” and drop all their leaves overnight. Colors are shifting everywhere into goldens and reds and browns, but on some stems memories of spring and summer still linger.
Oh my, I loved this book so much. If it’s not my favorite of Pegg Thomas’ books, then it’s right up there. From the first page I was invested and had the worst trouble putting it down.
The characters are endearing yet complex, and the relationship progresses in a way that doesn’t feel forced or conventional. The setting is great, and Thomas does an excellent job employing all the senses to convey the differences between the big city and small country town.
Even though this classifies as historical romance, it touches on some difficult topics (PTSD, war wounds, death of close friends and family). Thomas handles each one well and with sensitivity, but I still found myself getting emotional. And I rarely get emotional over books.
Bonuses: Anyone who has read “Embattled Hearts” will be in for a pleasant surprise. Anyone who appreciates classical music and hymns will find a few gems offered. I love discovering new music! I’m looking forward to more in this series.
The white dogwood thought the cooler Spring quite heavenly, putting on a spectacular show that lasted a little longer than usual. While back to back rainstorms made for a lot of happy plants, I worried for the irises when root rot set in. They all pulled through, I’m happy to say, and we had a stellar bloom season this year.