Our daughter, Annesley, loves puzzles. As a preschooler, she’d open a 500-piece box and start fitting pieces together. She didn’t bother with doing the edges first, or with sorting by color. She simply worked left to right, like some little towheaded computer, methodically checking to see if each piece fit before she rejected it and moved on to the next one. Row by row, piece by piece, the picture finally came into focus.
Today, as a 22-year-old architect, Annesley still welcomes a good puzzle—and each Christmas, she’s sure to get one from her brother, Robbie (who does his limited but effective shopping at Target). Annesley doesn’t waste any time getting started; usually by December 27, the puzzle is all but complete.
This year, an untimely swipe of the dog’s tail derailed her handiwork. Unfazed, Annesley picked up the pieces and collected them in the box, planning to start over once she returned to her Charlottesville apartment. Unfortunately, when she put the picture together again on her dining room table, she came up short. It was just one piece, but to a puzzle aficionado, to miss one piece is (I am told) to miss the whole victory. Continue reading “A Life Complete”
I love old books. For one thing, their age is proof that they can stand the test of time. For another, at least when it comes to Christian books, the old stuff is usually a lot less about “me” and a lot more about God. Refreshing.
One of my new-old favs is Catherine Marshall’s Beyond Our Selves. I first read it as a teenager; I rediscovered it this year. The bad news is that this 1961 book is out of print. The good news is that you can get copies on Amazon for as little as a penny!
Marshall gets right to the point: Most of us, she says, yearn for something more—something that requires outside help—“either because of some problem for which we have no answer or because of a nagging consciousness that we should be getting more out of life.” She takes us by the hand and, using a refreshing combination of common sense and biblical teaching, offers practical guidance on everything from trusting God to slaying our egos to appreciating our own helplessness and imperfection. (And as a bonus, Marshall’s real-life illustrations, set against the backdrop of life in the 1950’s and 60’s, will appeal to anyone who appreciates the retro-hip nature of a housewife busy with her spring cleaning, or the bygone image of children picking violets and playing a twilight game of kick-the-can.) Continue reading “I Want More Out of Life”
Hey Downton Abbey fans! Were you sad when Sybil died? Bummed to see Matthew crash his roadster and make Lady Mary a widow? Confused about why, when we’ve said goodbye to so many stellar characters, we still have to put up with poor Edith each week?
If you’re like me, you find yourself watching the show—loving the costumes, hanging on the drama both above and below stairs, waiting for the next pearl to drop from the Dowager Countess—and then, at the end of each episode, longing for something more. Something…uplifting. Something happy.
P.G. Wodehouse is your answer! Like Downton creator Julian Fellowes, Wodehouse is thoroughly British (Fellowes is a member of the House of Lords; Wodehouse was a knight), thoroughly accomplished (both penned best-selling novels), and thoroughly versed in the social trials and tribulations of those who totter around in castles and dress for dinner. (Ever heard of Jeeves, the butler? Pure Wodehouse.) Continue reading “Better than Downton”
“You are reading your own book?” Virginia asked, pulling up short as she burst into my bedroom and saw me sitting up in bed, my dog-eared copy of Praying the Scriptures for Your Children open in my lap. “Mom,” she continued, “That is just so…sad.”
I can understand why a 13-year-old girl would consider my actions pathetic. Teenaged girls tend to be embarrassed by a lot of what their moms do—or, in my case, wear. Or say. But it wouldn’t be the last time Virginia (or any of my kids) would catch my nose in the pages of my own book. And happily, as they have grown, all four children have learned to appreciate the value—the power—of praying the scriptures. Now, at age 20, Virginia will actually ask me to do so, on her behalf or for one of her friends.
Which is why I took a page right out of the book (or at least a picture of a page) and texted it to all four kids a few weeks ago, hoping that they would join me in prayer. I had just dropped Robbie—our youngest—off at college, and my heart ached. Not only is Sewanee a million miles from Virginia Beach (okay, so I don’t know the exact mileage, but it takes about 11 hours to drive there), my husband and I know almost no one at the school. The way I saw it, I might as well have been sending my baby boy to China. Continue reading “Prayers from the Empty Nest”
I recently became an MOB. As in, Mother of the Bride. Annesley will wed Geoff, her high school sweetheart, next May. And we couldn’t be more excited.
As soon as the news broke, I found myself on the receiving end of a tidal wave of congratulations (which was exciting), advice (which was welcome), and questions (stressful). Had we picked a date? A venue? A band? Did Annesley have a dress? Her bridesmaids? A signature color? What about the all-important china pattern? Had she registered for that?
Ahhhhh! Could I really survive 11 months of planning? I didn’t think so. Happily (and just as I was about ready to suggest elopement), my friend Michelle (aka “Lucy” to my Ethel; she is a gorgeous redhead who was once almost cast as a Bond girl, while I am the stout and supportive blonde) corralled a group of our friends and decided to host an engagement party. And when she hinted that they might want to include dancing, well…laissez le bon temps rouler! Continue reading “Let’s Dance”