Wednesday, July 31, 2013

End of Summer reading

This has been the summer of the novel for me. I couldn't bring myself to rest and heal without a distraction. My book wishlist that I started building before Christmas has been struck through in short order, and several were too good to keep to myself. So if you are facing an end of summer beach trip or a last ditch effort at a tan, may I put forward for your reading pleasure:

The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow - A quick read about a british woman who inherits her family's silk factory during WWII. Along the same vein as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Schaffer {also a favorite}.

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks - Another historical fiction about a small village as it copes with the plague. Brilliantly written - I plan on hunting down more of her books.

Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison - The story of Rasputin's daughter from her childhood with the infamous healer and the fall of the Russian monarchy to her career as a lion tamer {who could make that up??}. A slightly heavier read than the first two.

The Book Thief by Markus Zuzack - An orphaned girl's journey in Nazi Germany, the point of view is unusual and requires some getting used to, but the characters are deep. It gave me a new appreciation for what it might have been like to live under that regime and balance sympathy and your family's safety.

Moving out of historical fiction:
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson - could be entitled "how to come of age in your 70's," the characters deal in real issues and have honest failures. Her style is tragically humorous.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave - my heaviest read on the list, but a compelling look at the casualties of African civil war.

The two guilty pleasures:
World War Z by Max Brooks - run out to read this one before Brad Pitt messes it up! Zombies are not at all my thing, and I probably won't read another zombie novel, but Brooks' dissection of world cultures and how they would respond to an offensive crisis is brilliant.

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin - so far a 5 book series with the promise of 2 more. These books are hot right now, and they should be. A fantasy world as realistic as Earth itself {dare I say on par with Middle Earth??}. A word of warning: these are grisly books, full of war-time violence.

My pregnancy tradition:
Our Covenant with Kids by Timothy Sisemore - I read this every pregnancy to get my mind and heart back on track, focused on the end game not the daily process. An excellent way to prepare for a new little one or to find new strength with existing kiddos. Others like it: Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp

Finally, sermons by Spurgeon, 5 minutes of worshipful doctrine to right orient my heart. Free as an eBook.

The girls also made some marvelous library discoveries that will have to come another day.

Happy reading, mommas!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Noticing the time

A sweet friend tucked a set of 12 stickers that mark Carrick's age to be used in pictures. A simple way to mark the time. Her kids are now having kids. She appreciates the baby years in a way I can't see in the middle of them.

I looked at those little plaid celebrations, and thought who has the time?? A selfish, ugly heart reaction. As if everything else on my agenda is on par with open heart surgery.

I saw the same friend yesterday. She caught me preparing to stick my foot in my mouth with an I don't have the time - doesn't everyone know I'm in over my head comment.

This morning I broke out the stickers and placed the first one on brother's chest. He was crying. I was stressed about the state of breakfast foods and laundry piles. We snap a few pics with a camera-shy newborn, a crumpled sticker, and a flitting momma. I post them to Facebook to prove that I took them.

Status updated. My breath disappears.

One month is already come and gone. One month of 12 before he's a toddler, shoving chocolate birthday cake at his face and trying to follow his sisters on two feet. I thought Afton's first year was a blur, but Carrick's is lightening, excruciating quickness.

Immediately my schedule clears. Drop the laundry basket on the floor. Scoop my son from his bouncy seat. Cuddle together and reflect on this beautiful month. 

All we share is time. What more can I give my sweet boy but myself?

So thank you to a wise friend who gave me a gift to number our days.
1 short month later...


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Keep calm and carry on - a wartime slogan

Thank you, Grammy - Carrick and I have a restful morning, quiet house and a doctor's note to spend the morning with my feet up.

It's been so long since I typed out my thoughts that I've rather forgotten how to start. Always a struggle for me. I write all the time or none at all.

We're living in a strong current. One of those stages when days sweep you on their way. You don't so much steer as react and navigate with the activity around you.

I'm not scared of these stretches like I used to be. I was all white knuckles and fighting, unwilling to "ride it out" the way older and wiser friends, friends who lived through more currents, kept recommending.

Anyone else see irony when a teenager sports the phrase, "Keep calm and carry on."
Who has less understanding of persevering calm than a teenager? Not enough big storms in 14 years {we pray} to understand currents and ride out the rough parts.

So, are things crazy at the Ellis house? Oh yes. Are we hanging in there? Mercifully, yes. God is good!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Meet Little Man!

He's here! He's here!
Carrick McCann Ellis, aka Little Man

He arrived at 9:03 on June 28. Weighing in at 7 lbs 10 oz, standing 20" tall with a reach of 7".
He's a doll. A grunter, not a screamer. He haltingly tracks the girls' every movement. Loves to rest on his tummy curled up on your chest. Usually sleeps with one finger pressed into his ear, head thrown back, mouth agape. Already a quirky little thing. Could you expect less of an Ellis?

All of the futile conversations we had over his name before he arrived, then we held him and both said, "Carrick," a gaelic term for rock. Both our prayer for him and his already calm, stolid nature.

Why a rock? A rock remains, stands firm, acts as a foundation. I pray that he holds fast to the trustworthy word, insisting on truth.

But a rock also sacrifices self to sharpen. No one wants to walk through life with an impenetrable cliff. And I pray he learns to give himself for others.

And "McCann," my grandmother's maiden name and the longest legacy of faith in my family. A legacy we pray he continues.

I feel overly analytical and embarrassingly poetic with that explanation, but that's the over-thought why of his name. Don't hold it against him. He's already much cooler than me. I mean, have you seen his faux hawk??


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