A Little Seasoning

Last night we had a group of young people over for dinner and conversation. It had been such a long time since that happened, and I realized how much I had missed it.

The folks reminded Brenda and me of how we were back then. They are really wanting to pursue God, to discover what Jesus wants them to do, and to get some help from some older, more experienced people — that’s where we come in!

There were times over the years where we had the chance to learn a little bit from older couples, but I don’t remember anyone who was intentional about inviting us to really become a part of their lives. That’s something we’d like to fix with this current crop of young people.

I’m feeling this strange mix of competence and inadequacy. Some days, I am convinced I have something to offer. Other days, I am equally convinced that I’ve missed my chance and my time has gone. Still, we’re plugging away and are cautiously optimistic!

Next week we’ll be meeting with a group of college kids — yikes!

Church and church

On Sunday morning, Brenda told four-year-old Nellie that we’re going to church today. Nellie asked, “Is that Reeve’s place, or the place where they turn the lights off?”

Now, I thought that was funny. Reeve is the one-year-old son of the leaders of our small group, and we meet at the leaders’ house — Reeve’s house! The place “where they turn the lights off” is the building where we have our Sunday meetings, and yes, the vibe involves very dim lighting.

I like it, though, that she thinks of each of these meetings as “church”. To her, church isn’t a building you go to, it’s a group of people you meet with. That’s pretty good ecclesiology; the four-year-old can teach this forty-six-year-old a thing or two.

Saying good-bye to Christmas

I have a policy in our house about Christmas songs. It’s my idea, my own rule. It’s this: no Christmas songs before Thanksgiving! My own way to stem the tide of Christmas creeping earlier into the year.

So the kids asked me this: when must we stop singing Christmas songs? Oooh, that’s a tough one. I chose New Year’s Day; as good a day as any.

So my four-year-old daughter Nellie asked me why we can’t sing Christmas songs anymore. It was hard for me to explain in a way she could understand that if we keep the songs isolated to that time frame, it makes them that much more special. Maybe she got it; maybe she didn’t.

But Christmas this year was very green — not a snowflake in sight. And today, 17 days after Christmas Day, there are 6 inches of snow on the ground. Ah well, a little late but certainly welcomed. The boys were out with Allie today, snow shovels in hand. They weren’t exactly shoveling, Allie informed me; “more like playing”.

I’m good with that.

Books to read aloud

Here is a list of the books I’ve read aloud to the family. I have a variety of ages, and from four to twelve they listen when I read aloud in the car or at home. In their teen years, they don’t listen to every book. 🙂

You can see from the list that we like adventure, magic, and especially books in a series.

All The Mad Scientists Club books by Bertrand Brinley

All the Redwall books by Brian Jacques (20 out of the 21; the next one is on our list).

All the Septimus Heap books by Angie Sage (six and counting).

Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes by Frank Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. With eight kids in our own family, this is especially appealing. We also liked Ten P’s in a Pod by Arnold Pent III.

The Ranger’s Apprentice books by John Flanagan (we’ve read 7 of the 9).

Peter and the Starcatchers series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. We haven’t read The Sword of Mercy; the older girls read it and said it was a little too scary for the littles.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater (Brenda read this one).

Savvy by Ingrid Law.

The Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander.

The Brill and the Dragators series by Peggy Downing (Brenda read this series, too).

I’ll add more as I think of them.