We’ve had a February heat wave here in North Carolina this week, and I’ve been watching the Instagram feeds of my friends in the upper Midwest who are inundated with snow and freezing temps. As a displaced Northerner, I’m baffled by temperatures this warm in February and thinking about the fruit crops being ruined…I was reminded, though, as I studied Habakkuk this week, that no matter what happens, God is in control of everything–even the weird weather. May your days be filled with trust.
Around the Web
Children Who Get What They Want Aren’t Creative
Christopher Stevens wrestles with the tension of structure and creativity.
- Creativity is the ability to bring about something new. Somewhat counterintuitively, structure, rules, and standards invite creativity. Aristotle, Plato, and the Scriptures tell us to “train up” a child. Aristotle, referencing Plato, emphasizes the importance of “having been definitely trained from childhood to like and dislike the proper things; this is what good education means” (Nicomachean Ethics Book 2, 1104b).
But we, fearing we will damage our children if we correct them, make them eat what we made for dinner, or make them do their homework even when the book is boring, are more inclined to let our children go free.
Gardener’s Heart: A Love Story, Part 1
Lanier Ivester meditates on her love of the garden.
- My love affair with gardening was tumultuous from day one, fraught with all the heights and depths of a grande amour. Mainly self-taught, my earliest attempts were characterized by rapturous perusals of garden catalogues, advertising such wonders as heat-tolerant lilacs and humidity-resistant tea roses. As a teenager, I pored over Jackson & Perkins, Park Seed, and White Flower Farm with the avidity other girls my age brought to YM and Seventeen. The pictures and descriptions made my heart pound, and much of my hard-earned babysitting money went to seed packets, bulbs, and bareroot crowns.
Favorite and Funny Read-Alouds for 9-10 Year Olds
Erica at What Do We Do All Day recommends some read alouds for your middle-graders.
- Read aloud time in my house is changing. No longer can I choose the books on my own with impunity. Most of what became our best read aloud books in the past were titles I picked out. Many books I present are rejected on sight by kid who spanned 9-10 years old this past year. Even though I know he will enjoy listening to the titles if he gave them a chance, he is asserting his independence. I remind myself it is good to hand over the control but still I long wistfully for the time when any book I brought home was welcomed without question.
A Ring of Endless Love: Family in Madeleine L’Engle’s Young-adult Fiction
A Ring of Endless Light was one of my favorite novels as a young teenager, in part because of the family at the center of it. Elena Sorenson explores how family plays out in L’Engle’s Austin family stories.
- At the end of Madeleine L’Engle’s novel A Ring of Endless Light, the book’s protagonist, Vicky Austin, sits in an ER waiting room holding a child who has just died in her arms. Vicky is shaken. The death of the child is a brutal lesson in the tremendous tragedy and blessing of being present at another person’s death. Vicky’s own grandfather is dying of cancer, and though the Austin family has prepared for it, the spectre of death provides neither solace nor resignation.
Around the Warren
My Mother Practiced the Piano
I’ve seen so many people share this post this week. It’s resonated with many mothers–and many artists without children who find their time and attention split by other responsibilities. Rebecca Reynolds leads us to wrestle with the creative calling and the calling to nurture those who are entrusted to us.
- In 1972 my mother’s piano professor failed her senior recital because she was pregnant with me. She was a married woman, and that recital was one of the best performances of her life; however, the man had a point to make. A pianist as brilliant as my mother had no business changing the diapers of a squawling little brat. There wasn’t room in the art world for the distractions of motherhood.
A Treat for Valentine’s Day
For those not interested in chocolates, Julie Silander has recommendations of books for Valentine’s Day presents.
- A small plastic bin hangs on the wall in my pantry. It’s the same kind of bin that displays travel-sized toiletries or knickknacks at the checkout registers in stores. Ours, however, is a “snack and candy” bin. It serves as a catch-all for stray pieces of Halloween candy, rejected treats from Christmas stockings, and the silt remaining at the bottom of birthday party treat bags. Stuff. Although seemingly innocuous as it casually saunters into the house, stuff accumulates with shocking rapidity.
Something to Do with Your Kids
Kids not into lovey dovey stuff? Then you need math art for Valentine’s Day. Learn more.
Something to Watch
I used to live near the Wrangel-St. Elias range of mountains in Alaska, and this drone video , “Solstice,” which shows sweeping views of Alaska’s Wrangell wilderness, as well as the south central areas around Anchorage and Girdwood, on the eve of the summer solstice, makes me a little homesick.