The Things I Can

Got some really great advice from an ER nurse this weekend. This is heavily paraphrased, as I was pretty overwhelmed and don’t remember exactly what she said, but she really helped me a lot.

Nurse: Don’t try to do everything at once. Do one thing at a time.

Me: But sometimes there are too many things. Like right now. My husband is on this side of the ER and my friend is bringing my daughter to the kids’ side. I can’t be in charge of both of those things! Who do I go with? I want to be both places.

Nurse: That’s true. A lot of times it does seem like everything comes at you at once. When that happens you just have do something about the thing you can do something about.

Me: I guess you have a lot of experience with having to prioritize stuff like that, in a high stress environment like this.

Nurse: Yes. I’ve never been through AA or anything, but a lot of times I just say the Serenity prayer anyway, because it’s really helpful when you’re overwhelmed.

Me: Yes! That’s really concrete and helps me a lot. I can’t make my husband ok, and right now he’s drugged and sleeping anyway. So I should go get ready to do the best I can for when my bleeding kiddo gets here.

I would also like to add that I mentioned during that conversation that it must be a tricky part of her job to deal with people who are often at their worst and that she was being really kind and clear and helpful when I was certainly not at my best. 

ER nurses and staff in particular and medical professionals in general, I salute you and thank you for that graciousness.

 

serenity prayer

**I found a lot of these graphics online…and mostly they seemed to favor the serenity, wisdom, and courage. Those are good things, but I’m more about verbs than nouns, solution-wise. A personality thing, I suppose.

 

Just for my own running reference:

Some things I can’t control

~whether or not my husband experiences pain

~whether or not my kids experience pain or sickness

~whether my family and friends (or their kids) experience pain or sickness or even death (oh, it hurts my heart to write that)

~whether other people will assume the best or the worst of my intentions and actions

~what other people learn about who God is because of their suffering

 

Some things I can control

~Learning as much as I can to help my family to live well and pain free

~asking for help when I need it, and accepting help when it’s offered

~cutting myself a lot of slack when I am not at my best

~cutting other people a lot of slack when they are not at their best

~assuming the best of other people’s intentions and actions

~letting other people know when I am not at my best; not so they can cut me slack necessarily (though that is nice sometimes), but so they don’t think that whatever social or relational sins I commit are about them

~what I choose to think about God amid (and because of; or at least taking into account) my own struggles and doubts, and those of the people around me

~Doing the dishes (though if 3/4 of my family is injured or in the ER over the weekend I’m gonna go ahead and give myself at least until Tuesday before I even think about it!)

Two days, both alike in happenstance…

There’s a lot of talk around here these days about positive and negative self-talk. Apparently, what we tell ourselves has an effect on how we feel about our circumstances, our people, and our lives in general. Novel, huh?

Neither of the following depictions are exactly what happened; rather it was something sort of in between. Because no one is just one thing; though I’d like to think I was closer to the positive end most of the day, I am still learning. So I present, for your consideration (and possibly amusement; it’s ok), my day yesterday. Twice.

~~~~~

Woke up, dissheveled, and rushed around to get everyone ready and get out the door. Today we needed to get the family car, because E had her first Homeschool Book Club and it’s too far away to walk to so we decided to drive there. We got J to work, later than I had hoped in my unrealistic fantasies which do not include things like stopping to change diapers and coffee taking 3 minutes to steep in the french press.

Got J to work, then headed to the mall to look for athletic shoes for the girl, because strappy sandals are not good for bike riding, and after several trips to the second hand store we have given up finding them there. Walked around, bored, for half an hour, until 9 a.m., then went to the store we were trying to go to only to find out that it opens at 10. GAH.

Tried to figure out something to do for an hour and a half, then remembered the old golf course across the street from the mall is a park now. No playground equipment or anything though. Hope it doesn’t suck. My car starts making a weird noise that seems associated with the brakes. Ugh. Maybe if I ignore it it’ll go away. But….

Made it to book club a little early (because I’ve come to terms with the fact that there is no ‘on time’ for me; I’m 20 minutes early, or half an hour late). Had a little snack and read some while waiting for the other families to get there. What will it be like? What if everyone thinks I’m crazy and my kids are ridiculous!? More to the point, what if that’s true??

Book club went along just fine.

We played for a while at the library, my kids dawdling and being angry about leaving the library, just like they didn’t want to leave the park, or the mall, or the car, or our house. I got frustrated and said, “we LEAVE PLACES, ok? It’s a thing. If we never left anywhere, we’d never go anywhere. GET USED TO IT.”

We tried out a new lunch place. It was good that they have nondairy stuff we can eat, but my kids didn’t want to sit nicely because WATERFALL and I spilled my drink all over myself trying to pour it into one of my kids’ waterbottles. Because of course I did. “I deserved that.” I said to the waiter who brought me a napkin. I think he said something back, but I was too distracted finding a crayon under the table.

Lunch was good, but I ordered too much. I’m so wasteful like that, even if we did take it with us and ate it later as a car snack. Why aren’t I better at estimating portions served by restaurants I’ve never been to?

We went to a store nearby to look for shoes, now that it was open. It took forever to walk there because kids have to stop and look at every worm on the sidewalk while I try to get them to JUST COME ON already. We have places to be.

After some argument, we finally agreed on some ‘sparkletastic’ purple and white athletic shoes that light up when E stomps her feet. As if she needed another reason to stomp her feet all the time. They are purple, because I vetoed the pinkalicious ones on the grounds that they were ten dollars more. I felt the imaginary eyes of progressives around me standing in judgment of the fact that I didn’t convince her to get the Captain America light up shoes instead, but it just didn’t seem worth the fight. And she did seem pretty excited…

We picked up J and dropped him off at an appointment. Not sure what we were going to do about dinner, because we might need to visit a dear friend in the hospital. TOO MANY PEOPLE I LOVE IN TOO MANY HOSPITALS. I left my wallet in the cart at Costco. I realized it five minutes after driving away with my children and my groceries. I immediately called the store, drove us all back there, looked all around, left my information at the front desk, and called to cancel my debit card right then (because there is a Best Buy next door to the Costco). It was embarrassing and tiring and irritating. And it was 6 p.m. Luckily, our friend was home from the hospital, and another friend offered us dinner. So that was nice. Then I got my wallet back. So I guess the day wasn’t that bad.
~~~~~

Woke up, dissheveled, and rushed around to get everyone ready and get out the door. Today we needed to get the car, because E had her first Homeschool Book Club so we were taking the opportunity to run other errands, too. We got J to work, later than I had hoped in my unrealistic fantasies which do not include things like stopping to change diapers and coffee taking 3 minutes to steep in the french press. maybe later than before we had kids, but all things considered in a fairly timely manner. Good thing he has flex hours, and no early morning meetings.

Got J to work, then headed to the mall to look for athletic shoes for the girl, because while strappy sandals are amazing for cuteness with dresses and things, they are not quite as practical for things like running fast, climbing trees, or bike riding. Walked around, bored, fascinated by turned off mall fountains, the big clock in the center of the mall (we practiced telling time), a decoration on the wall, and various indoor plants we encountered. At 9, we realized the store didn’t open for another hour. GAH. Rather than hang around for that long (we’d seen lots of interest at the mall already), we left and had a snack in the car.

Tried to figure out something to do for an hour and a half, then remembered the old golf course across the street from the mall is a park now. No playground equipment or anything though. Hope it doesn’t suck. There was some really interesting stuff there, like signs with information about Coyotes, and what felt oddly like a suburban archaeological dig site. This is where they used to drive the golf carts! That is where you had to pay to be a member or you couldn’t come and pay to eat at the restaurant! Oooh, this would have been the hole to get the golf ball in, and that’s a SAND TRAP. OMG. My car starts making a weird noise that seems associated with the brakes. Ugh. Maybe if I ignore it it’ll go away. But…. Yay! It did.

Made it to book club a little early (because I’ve come to terms with the fact that there is no ‘on time’ for me; I’m 20 minutes early, or half an hour late. I am who I am). Had a little snack and read some while waiting for the other families to get there. What will it be like? What if everyone thinks I’m crazy and my kids are ridiculous!? More to the point, what if that’s true?? What will the other moms be like? I wonder what kind of homeschooling style they have. Other people are so interesting. And it’s such a relief to hear other people having the same conversations I have hundreds of times a day.

Book club went along just fine. Book club was awesome.

We played for a while at the library, my kids dawdling and being angry about leaving the library, just like they didn’t want to leave the park, or the mall, or the car, or our house. I got frustrated and understand transitions are hard, but we have to find a way to not be fighting about this all the time. I said, “we LEAVE PLACES leave places, ok? It’s a thing. If we never left anywhere, we’d never go anywhere. GET USED TO IT.”

We tried out a new lunch place. It was good that they have nondairy stuff we can eat, but my kids didn’t want to sit nicely because WATERFALL and there was a really cool waterfall near our table. I spilled my drink all over myself trying to pour it into one of my kids’ waterbottles. Because of course I did. “I deserved that.” I said to the waiter who brought me a napkin. I think he said something back, but I was too distracted finding a crayon under the table. “No you didn’t,” he said, smiling at me. Oh. I guess not.

Lunch was good, but I ordered too much. I’m so wasteful like that, even if we did take it with us and ate it later as a car snack. Why aren’t I better at estimating portions served by restaurants I’ve never been to? E ate the leftovers later in the day. That worked out nicely.

We went to a store nearby to look for shoes, now that it was open. It took forever to walk there because kids have to stop and look at every worm on the sidewalk while I try to get them to JUST COME ON already. We have places to be. We rescued a sand-covered worm from certain death on the sidewalk and returned him to a grassy spot where I assume he lives happily to this day. Related: I held a worm today! And then E was brave enough to try it too! We Kikel ladies are shockingly stereotypical in our silly fear of bugs sometimes. But not today!

After some argument lively discussion, we finally agreed on some ‘sparkletastic’ purple and white athletic shoes that light up when E stomps her feet. As if she needed another reason to stomp her feet all the time. They are purple, because I vetoed the pinkalicious ones on the grounds that they were ten dollars more. I felt the imaginary eyes of progressives around me standing in judgment of the fact that I didn’t convince her to get the Captain America light up shoes instead, but it just didn’t seem worth the fight. And she did seem pretty excited…

E: Mama, I NEEEEED them!

K: Um, try again.

E: Mama, I really WAAANNT them!

K: That, I can respect. They have the features I wanted in a shoe (see above re: running, climbing, biking, price point), and the features she wanted in a shoe (see above re: sparkletastic). I like when it works out like that sometimes. She doesn’t need those shoes to be happy, but it’s really ok for her to enjoy them.

I left my wallet in the cart at Costco. I realized it five minutes after driving away with my children and my groceries. I immediately called the store, drove us all back there, looked all around, left my information at the front desk, and called to cancel my debit card right then (because there is a Best Buy next door to the Costco) and antics ensued. It was embarrassing and tiring and irritating. *Sigh* At least I know where I left it, and canceled my debit card right away. That’s a pain, but it’s not the end of the world, and the magnetic strip didn’t work right anyway, so now I’ll have a working card in 4-7 business days.
We picked up J from his appointment, then found out that our friend is home from the hospital (yay!). Then I looked at my phone and saw that another friend had made a big pot of soup and had texted wanting us to come eat it at her house with her family. We did this (the soup was very delicious!!), and were presented with half of a homemade vegan chocolate layer cake to take home with us. Let me say that again. VEGAN. CHOCOLATE. LAYER. CAKE.
Then we arrived home and ten minutes later a man walking his dog in our neighborhood knocked on our door and handed me my wallet, which he had found in the Costco parking lot five minutes after I dropped it then decided to return to me himself when he investigated and found out that we live a street away from each other. His name is Mike, he has a cool friendly dog, and he was very kind.

All in all, it was a good day. I love my neighborhood, I love my friends, I love my patient husband and children.

~~~~~

 

Failed Western Prayer Formulas

Last New Year’s, a lot of people I know were very excited and relieved to ring in 2014. “We made it! Take that, 2013!” my friends exalted. At the time, I could not shake this terrible sinking feeling not unlike the one you get when you’re only half-way through a horror movie and all the characters turn to each other and say, “Whew! Glad THAT’S over…”

I am profoundly sad about apparently having been right about that.

A couple of Sundays ago, we were invited to spend time with some friends in a crisis. We had (and still have) some of our own kind-of-intense-but-not-life-threatening stuff going on, (in addition to several distinct intense-and-life-threatening things one or two or three rings out from us) and I did not feel up to the task of walking into the room with a clear head and heart to be present with my friends in the way I wanted to.

So I reached out to a priest friend of ours and said, “I need you to come say true things to me so I can try to remember them tomorrow.”

And he did. He said a lot of true things to us, some things in ways I hadn’t thought of before, some things I have written about myself here and other places. One thing that really struck me was the idea that in Western religion, we tend to think that praying is about entering the right formula to get the result we want. If we ask in the right way, if we have behaved the right way, we will get what we ask for from God. I was raised in a tradition that can point to many places in the Bible that seem to corroborate this view (if you read the Bible in other specific ways, you can corroborate the ideas of forced polygamy, stoning women -and only the women- for adultery, and slavery as ‘Biblical’ too…I’m coming to think that the “broadly prescriptive” approach may not always be the best way to read the Bible).

But to be completely honest, I like this formulaic method to a point. It’s simple and clear and I know what I’m supposed to doThe problem with that method is that right now anything I try to write about God makes me sound like either an angry hard-line agnostic, or one of Job’s friends. “God’s ways are not our ways.” and other such platitudes only serve to fuel a growing rage and despair. Or I consider Job. Awful things are happening to him, and his friends are convinced that it is somehow his doing because God, being perfect, wouldn’t do anything to Job that wasn’t perfect. Their conclusion is that God must be punishing Job for something. They can not see another explanation. It must be his fault.

Left with only those two dismal options, everything feels too hard and mean and confusing. Lots of the things people keep saying about God sound like things which are ‘acceptable to such as do not care to know him.’ If popular theology is to be believed, either God is pulling puppet strings in order to make the best show possible (mean), or God is not fully in control and is really more of a cool uncle type (confusing–who’s driving this thing? Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?).

When I get into this place, it goes badly with me. I start to wonder what point there is to anything. Somehow George MacDonald is always there to speak truth to me through his books and sermons (when I remember to read them), and somehow he never fails to make me able to see the goodness of God again, even if it’s just a glimpse. Even when that seems impossible.

So I will not try to show my own work here any more. It’s not getting me anywhere. Instead I will try to read and incorporate the words of my “Uncle George,” as many of his devoted readers call him. Even just my excerpts are a little lengthy, but I am posting them all because I find them life giving in some way and I need to read them. I will be bookmarking this post for myself.

 

Some excerpts from “The Voice of Job” by George MacDonald

He feels he has not deserved such suffering, and will neither tell nor listen to lies for God.

Job is nothing of a Stoic, but bemoans himself like a child–a brave child who seems to himself to suffer wrong, and recoils with horror-struck bewilderment from the unreason of the thing.

From a soul whose very consciousness is contradiction, we must not look for logic; misery is rarely logical; it is itself a discord; yet is it nothing less than natural that, feeling as if God wronged him, Job should yet be ever yearning after a sight of God, straining into his presence, longing to stand face to face with him. He would confront the One. He is convinced, or at least cherishes as his one hope the idea, that, if he could but get God to listen to him, if he might but lay his case clear before him, God would not fail to see how the thing was, and would explain the matter to him.

God is not a God to accept the flattery which declares him above obligation to his creatures. His [Job's] faith is in truth profound, yet is he always complaining. It is but the form his faith takes in his trouble.

He uses language which, used by any living man, would horrify the religious of the present day, in proportion to the lack of truth in them, just as it horrified his three friends, the honest pharisees of the time, whose religion was ‘doctrine’ and rebuke. God speaks not a word of rebuke to Job for the freedom of his speech:–he has always been seeking such as Job to worship him.

It is not at first easy to see wherein God gives Job any answer; I cannot find that he offers him the least explanation of why he has so afflicted him. He calls up before him, one after another, the works of his hands. The answer, like some of our Lord’s answers if not all of them, seems addressed to Job himself, not to his intellect; to the revealing, God-like imagination in the man, and to no logical faculty whatever.

It is through their show, not through their analysis, that we enter into their deepest truths. What they say to the childlike soul is the truest thing to be gathered of them. To know a primrose is a higher thing than to know all the botany of it–just as to know Christ is an infinitely higher thing than to know all theology, all that is said about his person, or babbled about his work.

To deny the existence of God may, paradoxical as the statement will at first seem to some, involve less unbelief than the smallest yielding to doubt of his goodness. I say yielding; for a man may be haunted with doubts, and only grow thereby in faith. Doubts are the messengers of the Living One to rouse the honest. They are the first knock at our door of things that are not yet, but have to be, understood.

One great point in the poem is–that when Job hears the voice of God, though it utters no word of explanation, it is enough to him to hear it: he knows that God is, and that he hears the cry of his creature. Even if Job could not at first follow his argument of divine probability, God settled everything for him when, by answering him out of the whirlwind, he showed him that he had not forsaken him.

Homemade Mondays: Peanut Butter Stew

This recipe has its inspiration from Guinea, West Africa. I had the good fortune to taste something like it for the first time made by a Guinean. It was so delicious, I knew I had to figure out how to make it myself! If you ever have the opportunity to learn to make this from someone native to that region you definitely should take them up on it! By popular demand (by which I mean that a few people specifically asked me at parties to post it here), here is this Ohioan’s version of a beautiful West African dish.

 

Peanut Butter Stew

Ingredients:

1 1/2-2 cups Peanut Butter

1 acorn squash, halved and roasted

1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped

2-3 parsnips, peeled and  chopped

1-2 turnips, peeled and chopped

1-2 regular potatoes, scrubbed or peeled and chopped

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped

vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water to cover vegetables

a little lemon juice

Indian curry spices (either your favorite curry powder, or any mix of things like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, turmeric, chili powder, cilantro/coriander)

salt

 

Method:

Please note: all vegetable amounts are somewhat flexible and interchangeable. Use what you have!

Crockpot: In the morning, put all ingredients into crockpot and cook on low until just before dinner. Puree with a wand blender, and adjust seasonings as needed. If it’s too heavy tasting, add a little lemon. If it’s too lemony, add a little more curry (try not to add too much lemon). If it needs something and you don’t know what, add a little salt.

Stovetop: Roast all vegetables until fork-tender (alternatively, just boil them longer on the stove). Combine all ingredients on stove top except peanut butter, bring to a boil. Add peanut butter, then cook over low heat until all veggies are soft. Puree with a wand blender, and adjust seasonings as needed. If it’s too heavy tasting, add a little lemon. If it’s too lemony, add a little more curry (try not to add too much lemon). If it needs something and you don’t know what, add a little salt.

 

Serve over rice. You can garnish if you are feeling fancy, with things like chopped peanuts, chopped fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped chives, or hot sauce. A favorite around here is a little dab of Blaze Hot Jamaican Curry Hot Sauce. As the name would suggest (what with the two ‘hot’s and all), it is quite spicy, but we highly recommend it.

Delicious hot sauce is delicious.

Delicious hot sauce is delicious.

Spirit and Fire and Dew

“You needn’t get in such a fever over it. Do learn to take things calmly, child.”

For Anne to take things calmly would have been to change her nature. All “spirit and fire and dew,” as she was, the pleasures and pains of life came to her with trebled intensity. Marilla felt this and was vaguely troubled over it, realizing that the ups and downs of existence would probably bear hardly on this impulsive soul and not sufficiently understanding that the equally great capacity for delight might more than compensate. Therefore Marilla conceived it to be her duty to drill Anne into a tranquil uniformity of disposition as impossible and alien to her as to a dancing sunbeam in one of the brook shallows. She did not make much headway, as she sorrowfully admitted to herself. The downfall of some dear hope or plan plunged Anne into “deeps of affliction.” The fulfillment thereof exalted her to dizzy realms of delight. Marilla had almost begun to despair of ever fashioning this waif of the world into her model little girl of demure manners and prim deportment. Neither would she have believed that she really liked Anne much better as she was.

Anne of Green Gables, Chapter 22

L. M. Montgomery

 

It is possible, within one’s own head, to play both Marilla and Anne in the same story. But sometimes trying to pretend to be the sort of person you aren’t can just cause you to just be bad at being the sort of person you are. So the answer, then, lies not in changing our selves, but in learning how to keep stuff from piling up on top of those selves such that they become twisted and obscured until we can’t even recognize them any more.

Homemade Mondays: Vegan Aloo Mash with Chapates

A few years ago we met a lovely lady who taught us how to prepare and enjoy a few Indian dishes. After picking up a taste for it, I started looking into more fun meals that would be easy to prepare and fun to eat. Somehow I came across a recipe for something calling itself “Aloo Bhartha” which my family loved and quickly became a staple. Except that in Hindi, that actually means “Potato Eggplant”. Since there is no eggplant involved, we’ve renamed it (because it’s still delicious, whatever it is and however much it’s not a traditional Indian dish). Also, if you can or will eat butter I highly recommend cooking your chapates in ghee instead of coconut oil like me. Yumm…..butter……

Lastly, this is a good thing to serve with a salad or some other kind of vegetable because otherwise it’s kind of a starchy meal.

Vegan Aloo Mash

Ingredients:

2 smallish potatoes per person, well washed

1 medium onion per 4 people, peeled and chopped

a little oil for the pan (avocado, coconut, or your favorite cooking oil)

whole cumin seeds, 1-2 tsp (to taste)

whole yellow or black mustard seeds 1-2 tsp (to taste)

turmeric (to taste)

salt (to taste)

Method:

Roughly chop the potatoes. Boil as you would for mashed potatoes, until a fork goes easily through them. No need to peel, as long as they’re clean. I cut out bad spots and leave the peels because they are a good source of iron!

Once the potatoes are done, turn them off and set them aside. Heat oil over medium heat in a large fry pan for a minute. Add onions, cumin, and mustard seeds. Cook, stirring constantly, until the seeds begin to crackle a bit. Have a potato masher handy, if you have one (if not, you can mash the potatoes in whatever way you usually do…like with a mixer or whatever). Add the potatoes a little at a time, mashing them up well with the spices and onions before adding more. Add turmeric and salt to taste, and water for texture as you go. You might have to try some to get the flavoring just right. ;-)

Chapates

Ingredients:

(sourdough starter)

flour (I use spelt, but whatever all-purpose-ey sort of flour you use will be fine)

water

salt

coconut oil (or ghee)

Method:

Start with sourdough starter if you have it, or a cup of water if you don’t. Add flour a little at a time until you have a workable dough. If your dough gets too dry, add a little water and keep mixing. These roll out on a floured surface much like flour tortillas. Roll them as thin and round as you can while keeping them easy to pick up (mine are often not very round).

Heat a griddle or large fry pan over medium/high heat. Put a chapate on, then put about 1/2-1 teaspoon of coconut oil in the center. Roll out the next chapate while this one is cooking. Once there are small brown spots on the bottom, flip and cook for 30 seconds or so on the other side. Transfer to a serving plate and put the new chapate on, and so on and so forth. If they are cooking too fast for you to keep up, turn the heat down a bit.

Serve chapates and aloo mash immediately with hot sauce or chutneys of your choice, fresh coriander (cilantro), or just plain.

To reheat leftovers, add a little water to them and stir until they are as hot as you like and have the right texture.

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Elizabeth of Kikel Gables

~~

“Anne came running in presently, her face sparkling with the delight of her orchard rovings; but, abashed at finding herself in the unexpected presence of a stranger, she halted confusedly inside the door….
‘Well, they certainly didn’t pick you for your looks, that’s sure and certain,’ was Mrs. Rachel Lynde’s emphatic comment. Mrs. Rachel was one of those delightful and popular people who pride themselves on speaking their mind without fear or favour. ‘She’s terrible skinny and homely, Marilla. Come here, child, and let me have a look at you. Lawful heart, did anyone ever see such freckles? And hair as red as carrots! Come here, child, I say.’
Anne ‘came there,’ but not exactly as Mrs. Rachel expected. With one bound she crossed the kitchen floor and stood before Mrs. Rachel, her face scarlet with anger, her lips quivering, and her whole slender form trembling from head to foot.
‘I hate you,’ she cried in a choked voice, stamping her foot on the floor. ‘I hate you–I hate you–I hate you–’ a louder stamp with each assertion of hatred. ‘How dare you call me skinny and ugly? How dare you say I’m freckled and redheaded? You are a rude, impolite, unfeeling woman!”
‘Anne!’ exclaimed Marilla in consternation.
But Anne continued to face Mrs. Rachel undauntedly, head up, eyes blazing, hands clenched, passionate indignation exhaling from her like an atmosphere.”

-Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery

~~

We are reading aloud after dinner and before bed most nights at this point. We just finished the Hobbit (for the second time), and I decided I wanted to introduce E to Anne Shirley, even though I wasn’t sure she could stack up against the beloved Bilbo and dwarves and dragons. We read the above last night, and as usual chatted for a few minutes after the chapter concluded about what happened. In Educationese they call this “building reading comprehension”. Doesn’t that sound fancy?

K: Wow! There were some people being really rude to each other just then!
E: Yeah, I guess so.
K: What do you think of Anne?
E: I don’t know.
K: Do you find her relatable? I have been that mad before. That lady was being so mean! But she definitely screamed in her face. Oh, dear.
E: I guess so.
K: Ok, well, I like her.
E: ……*Raises eyebrows*

Later on, as I was checking on her in her dark bedroom, she spoke up cautiously, with her eyes sounding wide.
“Mama? I think I like Anne. I think I like her because she’s…well….she’s, um, kind of like me! “
I smiled. “Yes! I could see that.”
“You know, because she talks a lot, and I talk a lot, and she has a great scope for imagination and I do too. And, well, you know……” She trailed off. I recognize that trail-off. This is who I am. Is it ok?
“I think that’s true. That must be why I like her so much.”

<3

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