My daughters and I went to the library yesterday. I always do this with a little trepidation. I’m not worried about the content of the books. I can filter for my kids until they are old enough to discern for themselves. Frankly I worry much more about the filters on our electronic devices.
I love the library. One of my happiest mom moments was when my eldest got her own library card. (Read here). My youngest is getting close to the requirement of writing her own name. Her big day is coming.
So it’s not lack of love for the library that concerns me. I’m worried I’ll lose or damage the books I take home. I have life management problems. By the grace of God we have been able to go through some big deal parts of life. But goodness do the details fly crazy.
One time I lost a library book. Searched like crazy. Paid for said book. Found book under my car seat. Apparently I lost that one on the way home.
It. Never. Even. Made. The. House.
I’ve dropped them in the tub. Ripped pages. Spilled coffee. Actually technically I didn’t spill the coffee….
Anyway. We went to the library.
Daughter one checked out a couple of books on the Battle for the Books list. She’s trying to get ahead for next year’s contest.
Daughter two checked out a new book by Henkes called “Waiting”. It’s gorgeous. She also checked out a chapter book with no pictures. I’m not totally sure why since she can’t read but she’s been carrying it around all day making her cousin and sister and auntie and I listen to what it says. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe she can read. She runs her finger through the pages looking for the letters she knows.
And I brought home the best book ever. I am such a nerd that I got a third of the way through it, decided I must own it and bought a copy for my Kindle.
My new book is called Lingo by Gaston Dorren. Around Europe in sixty languages. Told you I was a nerd.
My grandfather was a linguist. The love of the written word must have a genetic marker because this book about languages and words and the wisdom and why of what we say and what we write is making me grin.
Each chapter ends with a word that the author believes we should adopt into English. These are my favorites so far:
Omenie: A Romanian word for the virtue of being fully human, that is: gentle, decent, respectful, hospitable, honest and polite.
I love this. Someone should name their daughter this. I want this word in my obituary someday. I hope my life earns it.
Goennen: German for the exact opposite of ‘to envy’: to be gladdened by someone else’s fortune.
I want this word! We need this word!
And my favorite:
Jolabokafloo: Icelandic. Christmas book flood.
This happens at my house. The Christmas morning joy of a stack of books. Fun and fun and fun. English apparently needs more versions of the letter O as well.
So I wrote this blog mostly to tell my mom and sister and aunts and uncles and cousins on my mother’s side that you may also love this book. It’s speaking our language. Er. Languages. Anyone else?
Thinking about words tonight had me awake in the middle of the night last night pondering. Do you know that I love how God is described in the Bible? The Alpha and Omega. It’s the beginning and ending of the alphabet. I’ve always been told it refers to God’s totality.
And Jesus is called the living Word. In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and was God.
I love that it’s through language that God meets us and it’s through language that He made us. And it’s letters and words and sentences that I run my fingers through and underline and circle to try and understand my place. I look for meaning just as my three year old does in her chapter book.
I love the library. Hope I don’t lose any books this time. Life and meaning wrapped in words. I wish you a merry Jolabokafloo.
This morning I’m pausing to say thank you. I wonder how many times I’ve driven past sunsets I didn’t watch or sat in the car looking my phone and ignored the gifts He gives just because I didn’t take the time to pay attention.
Vacation has a way of making me slow down to look around. This photo certainly displays the beauty of what God created. Look at those colors.
My kids make me slow down. My daughter picked these on a walk around our neighboorhood from a bush in an empty lot. Sweet.
Difficulties can slow me down. Sometimes in a good way.
One of my former co-workers walked into my office yesterday and handed me this note and a donation. It made me think about the fact that our lives entertwine with others. I haven’t seen her in a long time. And yet, when she heard about the arson at our church this week she acted and gave encouragement and grace. Made me cry. It also made me want to pause and touch other people in their pain. Made me grateful.
How about you? What causes you to pause and notice? What makes you grateful?
The sermon at church this morning was about who Jesus selected as his friends. He shocked the religious leaders by eating with the sinning, cussing, drunk and cheating crowd. He chose smelly fisherman, unethical tax collectors, crazy rebels and prostitutes as the leaders of his ministry team. Jesus makes me grin. Sounds like fun.
One of the stops on our recent trip was to Key West. I was the only one in our traveling party who was excited about the fact that Key West is home to the Hemingway House and Museum. I so love Hemingway. He was a complete mess. Married four times. Violent and drunk. Suicide. But oh my. He could write.
I paid the $12 to tour the Hemingway house, my husband and friends chose to pass. I wandered the grounds and listened to the slightly drunk tour guide. Seemed sadly fitting. I took obligatory pictures of the six toed cats. I wandered through the house and peered into where he wrote, looked through the titles in his private library and I bought one of his books in the gift shop. Had a mojito in the bar next door.
I read through my new book on the deck of the ship and thought about why I love Hemingway. He wrote tightly and truthfully. I hurt for his characters and wonder at his talent. I read Hemingway because I know people like him and his books help me see the world from their eyes. And his flaws and pain don’t make his value less. I feel about Hemingway how I feel about Van Gogh. Amazed at what they created. Sad at what they lost. I would have loved to be friends with either.
Seems like sometimes its easier to look past flaws in famous people but not in our peers. Our society has forgotten how to be friends with people who are not like us. It’s easy to value someone just like you. But it’s vibrant and exciting and challenging and fun to befriend someone who is totally different. It does not diminish your faith or your political affiliation or your sports team to be friends with the opposing side. You are not a traitor to your cause because you are nice to someone who disagrees. Here’s a little lesson I’m trying to drill into my kids – You don’t have to agree with someone to be their friend.
There are some things you do have to do to be a good friend.
Hurt when they hurt.
Cheer when they have joy.
Give grace when you don’t agree.
Eat food together.
Seriously. Food is part of the friendship equation. Over food you can better see the humanness and heart of your companions. Maybe its because food makes us slow down. Or perhaps because eating requires putting your phone down. Don’t believe me? Try it – make dinner and invite someone over who votes differently or sins differently than you. You’ll be surprised. My guess is you’ll have a great time.
At any rate, Jesus shocked the temple leaders and ate with sinners. And they left everything to follow Him. In our friendships, occasionally you can persuade change in your friends because trust and understanding have blossomed. And better yet, sometimes your friends change you.
I’m grateful Jesus befriended me. Bet it would have shocked some. I believe that Jesus loves everyone. Me. Hemingway. You. And He built us all with beauty inside. Sometimes it is corrupted and scared. We all lose our way. We can all use a friend.
My little one recently chose a book to keep from Grandma’s collection. It is a charming hardback called Sunshine Jane which was published in 1916. The new owner likes to carry it around with her and periodically read passages to anyone listening. She can’t yet read of course but we listened attentively anyway.
After a few weeks of this I asked if I could have a turn to read her book. She consented and so we started in on this sweet story from a century past.
I love this book. It is happy and thoughtful and challenging. My eldest thought bits were boring (no light sabers or iPods or dragons). To be fair it does have some rather extensive inner dialogue chapters. Apparently people thought more 100 years ago. Shocker. But even my ten year old was surprised at the ending and asked questions and we all pondered deeper ideas than whatever new song kidsbop is currently pushing.
I read frequently on various electronic devices. I read fast and move on. Not as much fun as a real book. Certainly not the same as this thick paper, velum pictures, think binding, big vocabulary, book.
CS Lewis claims we all should read old books. “Every age has its own outlook. It is especially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books…. Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes. They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing; and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us.”
As we worked our way slowly through Sunshine Jane I thought about what she got right and what we blunder daily in our plugged in too fast too much too early society. Jane was fighting cynicism and debt and despair and general crankiness. Her weapons were joy and smiles and hope and kindness. Seems pretty much the same as now.
My favorite quote in the book made me pause. I took a photo. I read it again. It comforted my soul.
“We hear much of the downfall of love and the downfall of religion in these days, but no one even stops to realize that religion and love cannot possibly even shake on their thrones. Their counterfeits may crumble and tumble, but real truth can never fail”.
Beautiful book. Good choice little one.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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