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!
Around the Web
- Vanishing graces are those little acts of kindness or attention that bring grace into someone’s life—to the people we know, but also to the stranger we meet, whether it is the person behind the counter and/or the elderly man walking in front of us as we hurry through a crowd.I remember clearly one Christmas in the United States. I was pushing my cart through Target bent on finding stocking-stuffer candies. We lived in Chad in a remote town on the edge of the Sahara, and candies such as one finds in Target were precious indeed. I wanted our children to find them in their stockings.
I can see the aisle. I can see a woman standing in front of the exact candies I wanted. I can see myself pushing my cart up to her and reaching in front of her to pull a bag off the shelf. I can see her startled expression. To my shame, I can hear her words still, “Could you be more polite?” I remember being startled and embarrassed, but I was still in a hurry. Mumbling a few words, I hurried on, as much from embarrassment as from time limitation.
Raising Girls Who Are “Includers” Instead of “Mean Girls”
- My heart sank. I actually went up to the table and feebly asked, “Is there space for me here?” Hoping maybe I was wrong, that it wasn’t as it seemed. I couldn’t feel my feet beneath me. I felt dizzy. I swear my heart was going to jump out of my chest.I can’t remember what they said, but I must have gotten the picture because I turned and I quickly looked around for a place to sit. It was a small cafeteria and soon someone would notice me. I didn’t want anyone to look at me. My ears were ringing, my hands were clammy, my heart was beating so fast. I felt the eight girls’ snickering whispers like daggers in my back. There was no “physical fight” or blow up so the teachers on lunch duty were none the wiser. I saw a table with no one at it. So I sat down. I wanted to cry. But I didn’t.
This is where I sat for two months. Alone. By myself.
Marginal Faith: You Probably Should Be Doing Less
- Have you ever read a book that was inviting and endearing, but the words ran all the way to the edge of the book? Probably not. Stories without margins are nearly impossible to enjoy reading. It’s the same with life stories. Margin is not the wasted space on the page where more words could have gone if only we would knuckle-down and work harder. Margin is the place where the words we carefully compose and place show their best. When we read, we rarely notice the margins, unless they aren’t there.Our stories shine because of the margin that others often don’t even notice. But if we forget about the importance of the margin, if we endlessly erase it to cram more and more content into our stories, we lose readability. We lose credibility.
It’s the sign of a cheaply-made book, the work of an amateur, easily and advisedly ignored.
Good Parenting Boils Down to This
Hillary Cole reminds us of the importance of perspective in our parenting.
- Despite writing an entire series on 31 Days To Be A Better Mom, I feel like I’m failing at it many days.And then it hits me… this…THIS whole running late thing… is nothing.
I mean, it stinks. There’s a good chance we are going to have to reschedule. And honestly, the thought of orchestrating another decent time slot between school and gymnastics and allergy shots makes me frown.
But in the grand scheme of things…this doesn’t even deserve a mention. In 10 years when I’m reflecting on the joys and trials of parenthood, I am 100% certain I won’t think about how we were running late to this appointment.
Because with a little distance…a little time…I gain the one thing that is critical to being a good mom: Perspective.
Around the Warren
Kelly Keller reminds us of the beautiful things we can find in this dark and cold month.
- I love January. I know it’s cold and dark and most people are miserable, but I’m not. I like the excuse to stay in, huddle under a [lamppost] blanket, and make soup. This is probably the month when I like homeschooling the most, because while the rest of the world is outside waiting for buses and warming up the car, we’re still inside sipping hot drinks by the space heater.Other months are showy, demanding us to celebrate holidays, decorate loudly, and fill our calendars.
Short, Very Short Stories
Laura Peterson introduces us to a book that has oodles of space for imagination in just a few words.
- I always like to be on the lookout for imaginative new picture books. One day, I read a review of a book that sounded perfect for Story Warren readers. So, I went and got it. The end.A simple enough story, right? All of the sentences in the book I found, Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s One Day, The End, are less than eight words long, start with “One day,” and end with “the end.” It’s what happens in between, in the humorous illustrations by Fred Koehler, that makes all the difference.
Something to Do with Your Kids
Whether you teach your kids at home or you simply want to help them review what they’re learning at school, this blog at Edutopia has some great learning games that you might want to play together. Read more.
And Something to Watch
Thank you for reading. We’re on your side.