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The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

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full heart

They grow up fast. 

This may be the understatement of all understatements. For the first time in weeks, I have all my boys under the same roof. Since they are spread out from ages 22 (Matthew) to 13 (Joshua) to 7 (Sam), we get to see our parenting change. We get evaluations from time to time from Matthew. Last night at dinner, we had an opportunity for feedback. 

Matt grilled salmon. I had agreed to cook pasta for Sam since he is not a salmon fan. We tried to convince him since it is so close to his name: Sam-man. Nonetheless, he broke down like a kid exhausted from the first week of school. 

I said, “Tell him, Matthew, what would have happened to you if you had refused to eat what we cooked.”

“Well,” he began in the seasoned voice of a story-teller, “I would have been told to eat the fish or go to bed hungry.” This did not comfort Sam at all. Still hiccupping tears, he softened his daddy. Matt agreed to cook the pasta but said it would take 15 minutes. Matthew’s brows furrowed. 

Joshua said, “Just try it, Sam. It’s been a while. You haven’t tried Dad’s grilled salmon.” 

Sam cut the tiniest piece and plopped it in his mouth unbelieving. “Bad,” he spit. 

Undaunted, Joshua said, “That piece was tiny! You need to try a bigger piece to get the taste!” 

Sam didn’ t argue but quickly scooped up the rest of the fish on his plate. Joshua screamed, “You like it!” A big grin stole Sam’s face. He could not resist the delicious fish even at the expense of his pride. 

“I knew it! You didn’t argue about eating a second bite!” Joshua said. 

We laughed exhaling relieved by a resolution to the dinner drama. I felt spared of a failing parent grade. And I relished this moment like Mary treasuring it in my heart.

Later several of Matthew’s buds came over to play a board game and then hit Nashville. I hadn’t seen these young men in some months. They kept us up with their loud hoots and occasional music streaming through the open doors when someone sneaked downstairs for one more helping of blueberry crumble. 

This morning at the busstop Sam found a leaf bug. He named it Cornbread Maxwell. Sam is the Finder at our house. If something is lost, this kid can round it up.  For the next 20 minutes the bug delighted all the kids at our busstop climbing over Sam then fluttering off to someone’s backpack. Once the bug flew over to a bike tire and nearly met an early death. Sam rescued it and held on to it for dear life. 

Guess who had to take the bug when the bus came? I happened to have chosen a green coffee mug that morning. Cornbread rode home in the mug.

Then I carefully staged a home for him in an old salsa jar. Finding the right size shell for water and putting some leaves in for food enchanged my inner child.


  This afternoon we will likely let Cornbread loose. But the beauty of the moment will live in our hearts. Is that too lofty a purpose for Cornbread? For a bite of salmon? For laughter of 20-somethings? I don’t think so. 

We are told, after all, to consider the lillies

Beauty is all around me. If I don’t open my eyes to His Presence in the Moment, I am likely to miss it. I have to open my soul to find the beauty sometimes.

Don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more. Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can't even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don't fuss with their appearance - but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? "What I'm trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don't be afraid of missing out. You're my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself. Luke 12: 22-32

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