Monday, March 31, 2014

{Monday Morsels} A Circle of Quiet and Squishy Kid Lit

"If it's not good enough for adults, it's not good enough for children. If a book that is going to be marketed for children does not interest me, a grownup, then I am dishonoring the children for whom the book is intended, and I am dishonoring books. And words.” 

Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet

I've been reading a Circle of Quiet and I am in awe. This is a book to be read three, four times with a pen and a notebook because though small, it is packed tight with lovely insights and a unique view of the world. 

This book has a permanent place
on my bedside now.

Madeleine gets me. She loves word and clearly is adept at weaving that singular magic of writers where she can string words and letters and phrases together and sends then straight to your soul. It's beautiful. 

But this particular quote got me thinking about the sad state of children't literature these days. A lot of the books out there are, to be quite honest, squishy. Simplistic. 

A great novel should be a great novel regardless of how it is marketed. 

For example, some of my all-time favorite novels are young adult or children's: The Outsiders, Ferdinand the Bull, Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Tale of Despereux, Because of Winn Dixie, Leah's Pony, Thank You, Mr. Falker, to name a few. 

And that is because these authors sunk deep and wrote good or even great stories and beckoned their readers up instead of writing down to the perceived level of their young readers. 

Just a little thought for your Monday evening. 

What are your favorite children's stories? 

Friday, March 28, 2014

{Five Minute Friday} Mighty

Zephaniah 3: 17 The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (NIV)

I limp into this Friday weary. My hands are weak and my body aches and my soul yearns for rest.

The words won't come in any of my projects. I dig deep but the well is dry.

And that is when I realize that in all my busy, in all my running, I didn't let myself lean into His arms. Again. I failed to drink deep the Water of Life, and instead took little sips and then kept running. Sips won't slake your thirst.

The verse from Zachariah was one I had never read before. It was assigned as part of a Bible Study I'm doing and it hit me hard.

I drank deep from this verse because it's what I needed to hear. That I have a Mighty Warrior who will save me when I am not mighty. A Lion of Judah that roared into my life and rescued me from sin.

And this Mighty Warrior also is gentle. He has rescued me and now He loves me with a love that I cannot fathom, a love that is so far beyond my grasp that I have no choice but to fling myself before His feet.

That verse is highlighted in bright pink ink in my Bible, so it will reach out and grab me. So that it will pull me in and whisper that assurance.

Weak? You have a Mighty Warrior who rescued you from sin and fear.

Lonely? His great love has washed away His rebuke.

Desperate? He rejoices over you with singing! You are His prize, His treasure, His Bride.

(Stop 5 minutes, but I'll keep on because I need this)

When you feel like you have run dry, like you are weary and alone, trudging along, know that you have been Saved by the King, that you are His Bride.

Because nothing can separate you from this love that He sings over you. Nothing can rip you from His hands, even though it may feel like you've been left in the dust.

Maybe you feel like you've missed the boat, missed your calling, He can still use you. He still sees you and treasures you.

He sees you crying alone on your couch.

He sees you frustrated surrounded by laundry.

He sees you in that job you labor at and never get recognition, yet you still show up faithfully.

He sees you tired mama with your exhaustion and who-knows-what caked shirt that you just washed.

He sees you when you feel like you're stuck.

He sees you weary and ready to throw in the towel.

He sees you fumble through every moment of your life journey, not even sure what the next step will be and praying for light for the future.

He sees you struggling to maintain relationships and live 1 Corinthians 13 in the Church and how hard it is to be gracious and to be Christ when you're being stung at every turn.

He sees you, He's rescued you, and He is singing His love song over you.

Because all that pain? All that struggle and journey? All that uncertainty?

Yeah, He's already got that. He's already conquered the grave, and sin and death, and when you've conquered those, there's nothing left to conquer. He's given you eternal life and you can have a taste of it here and now if you just hand it all over to Him.

Rest, sister. Rest in His love and give it all to Him - He's already taken it anyway. He's got it taken care of; all you have to do is to let go. Let go and listen to that love song for you that your Mighty Warrior who saved you is singing right now.

Monday, March 24, 2014

{Monday Morsels} Sarah's Epic Quest for Fashion

Hey. It's me. Sarah. (I won't indict poor Courtney in this post because she will be mortified I am sure) (she's probably doing something awesome or productive).

SO my post is a bit of rambling gambit of nonsense because I am just tired and overwhelmed but we haven't posted in a month of Sundays (whatever that means).

Hello! We're alive. 

And recently both Courtney and I have been talking about revamping our wardrobes and developing a personal style. While we might do a serious post on this in the future, this post is mostly just a rant. 

Because what is with clothes these days!? Or is it just me? 

I've been on a quest to look cute. If you're bored and have nothing better to do on a Monday night, please, join me for what my typical Epic Journey to Fashion looks like. 

Warning: It will probably make you feel better about yourself. 

I see an adorable outfit somewhere (Probably on Pinterest. Stupid Pinterest). 

This makes me look down at the stains on the boobular region of some campaign T-shirt I've had since I was 16 (or a cute shirt someone bought for me that lasted like 37 hours with no stains) and the fat jeans I'm stuck in since my body randomly decided to change shapes post-baby. Also, note food stains from the baby ok, from me AND the baby. 

A decision falls into my lap: I need an update. Inspiration blossoms. At this point, I giddily tango to my closet, riding on the winds of my inspiration to be cute. 

But first, I fortify myself with some kind of substance. Normally coffee. Or tea. Or if I'm feeling the need to be skinny, water. 

And then I turn to my nemesis: my current wardrobe. 

My clothes hang limp and dull in the dark. They mock me from the drawers and the box labeled "Clothes That Don't Fit" (i.e., maternity and pre-pregnancy, angrily stuffed into the same box). 

I fly through my options, noting what works, what I need to just let go already, and write down what I need to bridge the gap to Beautiful & Cute University in Sophistication Towne.  (The 'e' makes it fancy, y'all)

Before I head out, I survey the bones of my savage rampage and squelch panic. It's not time to panic yet. I'm going to go out and get some staples to freshen up my options. 

So then I head to the discount store because I just can't justify spending too much on clothes. They're just clothes. Right?

But then I see all the options and I long for a paper bag to breathe into rapidly and also a personal shopper and a tree that grows money. A woman can dream. 

So then I whirl through the clothes, eliminating options with a practiced eye (no to that color, what does that even cover?, heck no to the fabric, sequins are out, lace is itchy, etc), and gather the few options that remain into my arms like a sheaf of wheat. 

Then I face the dressing room. The lady kinda hands me the number of my options (thank GOD there are no bathing suits. That's a fight for another day). 

I'm pretty sure dressing rooms are designed to make women look so horrifying that we're so desperate to cover up that we'll buy everything we try on. It's something about the lighting and the angle of the mirror (and some other kind of wizardry) that accentuates everything that's wrong. A little cellulite? In the dressing room, you're basically a lump of adipose. A few freckles and moles? The dressing room mirror makes you look like some deformed witch. Wider thighs? Whoah nelly! You're gonna need a demolition team just to get out of here.

I do my best to ignore the monster in the mirror and try on clothes, muttering that I will look cute, I will find something. 

The dressing room is also some kind of time and space vortex. 

You can go in on a Tuesday and leave on a Friday. Between eliminating what you like and trying a thousand variations of "Hm. Maybe another size/color/cut/price/designer," you emerge blinking like Rip Van Winkle. 

If I make it through the rigors of the actual dressing room and actually emerge with a conquest, I cling to that sucker like it's the Holy Grail. 

And usually stain it by the time I get home. Or the baby pukes on it. Or it looks worse in the Real Mirrors I have at home. 

And do you know what? This all gets infinitely harder once you have kids. Since the baby, it's been even harder. 

Heck. If I'm a mom, I might as well embrace the mom jeans a la Saturday Night Live.**

I mean, I'm a mom, right?
Watch the video in the link.

**Life Partner: Do not fear, I won't actually succumb to mom jeans!! I'll still look hawt for you - I just might only wear muumuus but that's at least all flowy right? Mystery is the new sexy. xoxo