On this day, November 21, 2011…

I am thankful for Craig who, after spending his day driving from our house to Norman (approximately a 45 minute drive), from Norman to Edmond (I don’t know how long that is, but Norman is south of us and Edmond is north of us, so maybe 80 minutes for that one?), and from Edmond back to our house (what, 40 minutes?) offered to drive five wound up girls (okay I can’t say that about the one they are picking up right now, but I do know it to be true about the four he left this house with) back to Norman for their choir practice tonight. In the cold and in the rain.

And I’m super grateful to him for it.

The Meaning of Marriage

Picture 1Craig and I will have been married for 15 years on December 14. To celebrate, I bought him The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller.

Wasn't that nice of me? "Here, Sweetie, happy anniversary. Why don't you read this so we can have a better marriage?"

Actually, I didn't really buy it for him. I bought it for me and my gift to him is that I'm going to actually read it – the entire thing – by December 14.

I think it's a bit ironic that my brand new copy of this book arrived pretty dinged up. What should be shiny and new arrived at my door already a bit on the beat up side. If that isn't a picture of marriage, I'm not sure what is.

People get married with so many expectations of what life together will and should be, and when a big smudge arrives the next week to mar our perception of perfection, it can make us question the contents.

I have a pretty good idea I have no reason to question the quality of the contents of this book, no matter what happened to it in transit. But I should probably start looking at my own marriage a little deeper than just the surface of what we look like to each other and the rest of the world and get a good reminder of the heart of who we are, both as individuals and together.

And so, my gift to Craig is a book that I'm not asking him to read, but that I'm promising to read myself. Here we go.

A Word on Revision and Smugness

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My older girls have learned some valuable lessons this year on the importance of the rewriting process. They’ve also learned some hard ones in the form of less-than-stellar grades on projects turned in that should have received a second pass through the editing machine before submission.

I’ve learned a couple of those same lessons this year. The one from the summer doesn’t sting anymore, but I will never forget it. More recently, I turned in a biography project last week that just didn’t cut the mustard. It came back to me with suggestions for revision.

Nobody likes to be told her work doesn’t meet the expectation, but you know what? Mine didn’t. And had I given it the time it needed and a more thoughtful second glance, I would have known this before I hit “submit.” As it is, I’m thankful for an editor who is gracious enough to return it and say, “Hey, nice try, but please do this again.” He also suggested I take a break from it for a couple of days before taking my second stab.

So yesterday I sewed.

But today I tried again. Both Maddie and Chloe came to me at different times to see what I was doing and I told each of them that I had turned in a writing project that didn’t receive a passing grade and I was being given the opportunity to try again. They both knew exactly what I was talking about as they gave me knowing smiles and quietly left the room so I could work.

When I was in college I took Freshman Composition and aced it with very little effort. The notes from my TA glowed and I wrongly assumed I didn’t need to put much effort into Comp 2. Guess what happened to my grade in Comp 2? Yep. I was too smug to put in the work, which was reflected on my grade report in May.

Two points here: 1) Nobody is above the need for an editor and a second draft. Smugness is never our friend when it comes to writing. 2) Our kids need to see us flub up from time to time so they know it’s normal. They also need to see us revise our work without complaining. This is part of the writing process and a skill that they will need their whole lives.

Oh, and a third: Surrounding yourself with good writers and careful editors is golden. It especially helps if you marry one.

The Tale of the Animals

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By Millie Dunham

Once upon a time there were some animals. A cow, some squirrels, a bunny, and a dog. They had tickets to go to a race. They all liked each other very much, but mostly they liked to read fairy tales, tree tales, tales about cats, dogs, bunnies, and all sorts of stories. Their favorite thing to do was to watch races. They really, really, really loved to watch cars race. They all voted for the reds. They loved the reds. They ate red ice cream, they painted their houses red. Then they went to the race and the reds won. Then they went home happy and went to bed.

The End

MAPCJIAOCCSB

 

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I just started a new group: MAPCJIAOCCSB – Mothers Against Putting Cheap Junk In An Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box. I'm really expecting it to take off in a hurry.

*giggle*

Seriously, though, I wrote about my thoughts on Operation Christmas Child here and here. I just reread the posts and I'm relieved to know that I haven't changed my mind on that in the past six years.

At the same time, I'm still saddened by gigantic group efforts to fill as many boxes as they can with cheap plastic junk that won't make it past New Year's Eve.

I love the mission behind Operation Christmas Child. I think the Samaritan's Purse ministry is a valuable one and I've thought that for years and years. I also think we need to give a thoughtful response to what we put in our boxes for these precious kids. If it isn't something you would be thrilled to give your own child…why bother giving it to someone else?

2 Corinthians 9:7 reminds us about giving from our hearts, "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

I'm not trying to guilt anyone into giving high-dollar shoe box gifts. I just think that if we're going to do this, then let's DO THIS.

Who's with me here at MAPCJIAOCCSB? I might make some badges. (kidding)

 

Cartoon Kid

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Katie has taken to drawing cartoons lately. She showed us this one and honestly, I laughed and laughed. I thought it was pretty darn clever.

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“I am going on a walk”

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[Stop Sign]

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“Oh, a stop sign. I have to stop.”

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[Stopped]

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“This is taking long.”

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“My walk will wait.”

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[Later, 5 minutes]

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“I am back!”

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“Will you move!”

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[Kick]

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“There!!!!”

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“Now I can go take my walk.”

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That’s my girl.