The Warren & the World is Story Warren’s weekly newsletter, providing a round-up of our favorite things from around the web as well as a review of what was on our site over the past week. We’re glad you’re here!
How to Host a Crappy Dinner (And See Your Friends More Often)
My parents are the kind of people whose doors are always open. If Dad meets you at church on Sunday morning, it’s distinctly possible you’ll be invited home for the midday meal. I can’t count the number of times they’ve taken in friends and acquaintances who got stuck at the airport 15 minutes down the highway. And having guests was never done with fanfare or splash—it was simply the opening of our home, and our lives, to bring someone else in. I’ve tried hard to emulate that lifestyle, but I often fall short. I like this concept from Kelly Powell, writing over at Mothering, of hosting a “Crappy Dinner.”
- I love having friends over, but with three kids, big writing dreams, and the never ending onslaught of preparing and cleaning up from breakfast/snack/lunch/snack/dinner/snack/snack/snack, having a friend over for a meal started to feel too much like work and less like the break I craved. I am not a neat freak or perfectionist by any stretch, but having company came to mean clearing a path in the explosion of crafts and creations on our floor, folding the mountain of laundry on the couch and finding the source of that questionable smell. I started to feel grumpy when preparing for a visitor, snapping at my kids to pick up their underwear and wipe the toilet seat, for crying out loud. In one part of my brain I knew that this reaction was ridiculous: my friends were coming to see me, not my home. Laura is a mom too and would completely understand the scribble marks on my hardwood and my 9 year old’s unmade bed. But the other part of my brain said that pride in ownership is a healthy thing and germs are not.
In C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, there’s one bit of advice the demon gives his young counterpart that always strikes me as quite funny and quite convicting (it’s like an Andy Gullahorn song!). Screwtape says, “Catch him at the moment when he is really poor in spirit and smuggle into his mind the gratifying reflection, ‘By jove! I’m being humble’, and almost immediately pride—pride at his own humility—will appear.” Tim Challies’ meditation on Paul’s words reminds me of that tension:
- The Apostle Paul was a genuinely humble man. He had a deep awareness of his own sin and a profound sense of his own unworthiness before God. When he wrote to the church at Philippi, he went to great lengths to explain that he knew himself to be the chief of sinners. He remembered with shame that by persecuting the Lord’s church, he had persecuted the Lord Himself (Phil. 3:6; Acts 9:4). He had much to humble him.Yet when he wrote to that church, Paul also told them, “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (Phil. 3:17). These might have been the proudest words he ever spoke. He might have been verbalizing the inclination of every heart, that the world would be a better place if everyone was just a little bit more like us. “Imitate me! I have this Christian life all figured out. Do things my way and you’ll be OK.” But was it pride that spoke? I don’t think so.
10 Art Activity Books For Kids
Over at Imagination Soup, Melissa Taylor notes that coloring seems to be taking the world by storm these days. If your kids need some new art activity books (or if you need some!), she’s got some great suggestions.
- Have you heard about the new fad sweeping the nation? It’s called coloring therapy. Ok, it’s not really called that. I made it up, but it IS true that more adults are taking to art activities as a way to de-stress. If it helps adults unwind, then it’s definitely good for kids too. Here are 10 art activity books you and your children will love!
To the Mean Mom
Rachel writes one for all the “mean” moms and dads over at Finding Joy.
- Typically it comes after I decide to really follow through with a consequence. Sometimes, I fall into that parental abyss of empty warnings – no YouTube after dinner (because let’s face it my kids are on there more than the television) or you’re grounded for the rest of the week or you have to go to bed early or you’ll lose your iPod – so then when I follow through sometimes I’m met with those mean mom words.I’m not going to lie.
The first time my eldest daughter Hannah uttered those words to me I was a bit taken aback.
How could she call me a mean mom? Didn’t she realize how much I did for her? All the nights staying up late and diapers changed and preschool stuff and shoes bought and working on crafts? What about even giving birth (I mean, come on that wasn’t a piece of cake)? Or what about the Halloween costumes? Cookies made? Rooms cleaned? Teeth brushed? And now, now she says I’m mean?
Around the Warren:
The Conviction of Things Not Seen
Guest poster Théa Rosenburg shares with us a glimpse into the beauty that is our children’s imaginations. Their ability to believe the unseen is something we tend to lose with age, and Théa helps us look for ways to strengthen it while we can.
- But what my daughter is doing when she comes downstairs in her school uniform and tells me that she’s wearing a dark red dress with a full skirt and pearls is exercising the muscles required for faith:“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
She will need that ability later, for belief in God – that he is there at all — requires a willingness to trust that there is more to the world than the things that can be seen, felt, and proven (1 Peter 1:89), so it seems that God gives children a head start by allowing them to see the world in layers, invisible over the visible.
My daughter never confuses the two: she knows (and feels it painfully, I’m sure) that the red gown is only a navy polo dress, but she trusts for a time in what she cannot see. And as a result, her day begins with delight.
“…the one that sings.”
Paul Boekell’s graphic art. Wendell Berry’s words. Definitely a good combo.
Melisande’s Only Mistake Is Being a Bit Too Smart
Loren Eaton introduces us to one of the good old books, not faultless, but still, he says, “remarkably readable.”
- By the end of a spin through Barnes & Noble near my home, I wonder what happened to the good old books, the ones that remained fun while still touching on the stuff of universal human experience. Then my mind inevitably turns to C.S. Lewis’ famous quote from his prelude to Athanasius’ On the Incarnation: “The only palliative [to cultural myopia] is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books. Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes.” Of course, not every old book made mistakes per se. Consider, for instance, E. Nesbit’s Melisande, a riff on Sleeping Beauty first published in 1901 that remains remarkably readable today.
Gurgle and Snot
Rebecca Reynolds and Jamin Still partner up to bring us a story about real friendship.
Something to Do with Your Kids:
Printmaking is an art form that every member of the family can take part in. Its complexity adapts well to any age or skill level. KinderArt has a “Printmaking 101” with some great thoughts on how to get started on your next art project. Read more here.
And Something to Watch
The Scrapkins discover the truth of the idea that “all that is gold does not glitter” in this tale:
Thank you for reading. We’re on your side.