Anne Marie has apparently tagged me:

1. Total number of books owned:

Hmm, I’m looking now. Looks like somewhere around 1,000. We had more but got rid of some when we moved to Brazil 7 years ago.

2. Last book bought?

INKHEART by Cornelia Funke

3. Last book I read?

BUD, NOT BUDDY by Christopher Paul Curtis, if you mean for me.
DINOSAUR ROAR by Paul and Henrietta Stickland, if you mean out loud to my kids.

4.Five books that mean a lot to me?

HINDS’ FEET ON HIGH PLACES by Hannah Hurnard; I’m not usually a fan of allegory but I read this at a perfect time in my life to appreciate the symbolism.

A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES (and the rest) by L.M. Montgomery; It’s a close call but I think I loved them even more than the LITTLE HOUSE books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, but not by much.

OUT OF THE DUST by Karen Hesse; my introduction to free-verse novels

This last one will leave a few of you shaking your heads in disbelief, but it’s true. In the spring of 1985, just after my father died, I had to do a book report for my sophomore high school English class. I needed to escape. It couldn’t be anything sad or realistic. It had to be something that took me to another time and place. So it was that THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL by Baroness Orczy Emmuska became a temporary journey for me during a very difficult time. I remember that book fondly every time I think of it.

Okay, you’re it

Now you have to ante up and make your first post, Katygirl!

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funny

I didn’t try to post any of these but suffice it to say that the few times I tried it were hilarious.

I stole annemariepace’s boyfriend, married her cousin, dotificus got me in trouble with the law for discussing socks with an undercover officer, elsbetvance stole kpluta’s cheescake and almafullerton got my mom drunk. Not all in the same episode.

 

Musings

This morning, as I walked home from exercising, I passed a park, full of people, a military band and police officers. It was time for the changing of the flag.

In this particular park at one of the highest points in the city, once a month the military police take down the enormous flag that has grown ratty by wind and rain and replace it with a new one. It’s always an event, but especially so today, which must be something like Flag Day.

There was even an air show, with what looked (and sounded) like WW2 era airplanes. The kids in the crowd were transfixed. Most of the kids hanging out in the park during that time of day are either semi-homeless or unschooled. So this must have seemed like a once in a lifetime thing to them.

My first thoughts, though, were of disgust. I thought, “how in the world can the Brazilian governement justify this expense? These poor children are starving, unschooled, have no hope of getting out of the situations they are in. Why not help them instead of entertaining them? My second thought was almost equal in disdain: We’re in the city, for goodness sakes. I can’t believe they are doing this over all these buildings. What if there is an accident?

But I stood there long enough to see the children’s faces transformed by what they were seeing and experiencing. Looking at them, it all seemed worth it. Yes, I wished the airplanes would be careful. Yes, I wished the government would do more to give these children a hand up. But what they were experiencing in that moment was pure joy. And it brought tears to my eyes.

I don’t often talk about my faith here in my blog. It’s always a thread through the center of my life but most of what I share here is, well…mundane and unimportant. But as I was thinking about what I had just seen, it dawned on me that the situation was a true example of how I view my faith. I don’t have answers to all the questions in the world, the suffering, the violence, the despair. I’ve had friends ask, “If there is truly a God, how can he justify not doing something about all the suffering, the famine, the despair? How can He allow evil to exist?”

I can provide all kinds of answers about God’s character and how he chooses to work. I can quote verses from the Bible about who He is and how He works. But in the end it all boils down to this: I know the pure joy of experiencing Him. I was once emotionally and spiritually starving and homeless. My heart has been transformed by a gift. Just like those homeless children, my daily situation may not look that much different but I know a hope that I didn’t know before.

Today, I feel the same thing I saw on the faces of those children in the park.

Pure joy.

Numbers

Ok, just to contrast with the cuteness going on at AnneMariePace‘s house, our brand of cute is just a little on the crude side:

My daughter, Meg (7 years old), just walked into the room to tell me that she had changed my 1 year old’s (Kate) diaper for the first time ever. Surprised, I asked her if it went okay. She said, “Yeah. It was kind of like diarrhea, sort of a mix between number 1 and number 2… I guess you’d call that number 3.”

Sadly, I can’t even bring myself to put a smiley next to that statement.

my personality type

Your #1 Match: ENTP

The Visionary

You are charming, outgoing, friendly. You make a good first impression.
You possess good negotiating skills and can convince anyone of anything.
Happy to be the center of attention, you love to tell stories and show off.
You’re very clever, but not disciplined enough to do well in structured environments.

You would make a great entrpreneur, marketing executive, or actor.

Your #2 Match: ENFP

The Inspirer

You love being around people, and you are deeply committed to your friends.
You are also unconventional, irreverant, and unimpressed by authority and rules.
Incredibly perceptive, you can usually sense if someone has hidden motives.
You use lots of colorful language and expressions. You’re quite the storyteller!

You would make an excellent entrepreneur, politician, or journalist.

The second of these is probably more true than the first, but not by much.

stretching

I’m about to walk out the door to Pilates class. Pilates is this stretching/strength-building exercise performed on what looks like a roomfull of torture devices. I like the discipline of it, how it forces me to push past my weaknesses and finish all the repetitions.

Now if I could just apply that part about pushing past my weaknesses to the rest of my life…

perfect weekend

On Friday, my husband whisked me away for a weekend to ourselves. What a treat! I actually slept until 10 am on Saturday AND Sunday. I exercised twice. I watched 3 movies. I finished Stargirl and started reading Inkheart. And for the very best part…CABLE INTERNET! I checked my e-mail a bajillion times and leisurely surfed all the boards. It was great! Those aren’t all the fun things we did but some things I’ll just keep to myself. 🙂

Came home on Sunday to lovely hugs and kisses from our kids AND (insert trumpets here) Dah-dah-daaaaaaah! A HIGHLIGHTS CONTRACT! Yes, it’s true. I have to keep reminding myself. I sold two poems to Highlights. It’s nice to finally break in there.

And to end, in a day-late homenagem to my mom:

Thanks for putting up with me when I was a snotty, disrespectful wretch of a teenager.

Thanks for not saying “payback is rough” (well, not too often) when I whine about my own little messy Marvins.

Thanks for dreaming bigger dreams for me than I dreamed for myself.

Thanks for sending out all my subs (with your own stamps!) to cut down on the response time since I’m in Brazil.

Thanks…just thanks for all the things too numerous to name…for all the ways I don’t even know you’ve loved me.

I love you, Mom.