Books are a big deal in this house! I’m pretty sure I was born with a book in my hand. I was the kid who stayed up late into the night reading with a flashlight under my blanket. When we would go shopping or run errands, I had to take at least two books with me. Books have always been my constant companions, comfort, and joy. I cannot fall asleep without reading at least a few pages of a book; most nights these days I count chapters and not pages.
My baby girl has brought many surprises into my life. She is not a carbon copy of me, nor would I want her to be (believe me—I have my issues, and I would not want to pass them on!) She is a very shy child; I was outgoing. She is into things like swimming and cats and eating stuff off the floor, none of which I’m took keen about. But I am so thankful, thrilled, yes, ecstatic even, that we share a love of books. We probably read about 30 stories a day. Not kidding. I am very grateful for this shared experience, our time together, interacting with her over a story, and, best of all, the fact that she is actually still and sitting during this time (doesn’t happen frequently!).
As a former elementary school librarian and teacher, I have MANY, MANY books. Shelves full. So E has benefited from a vast selection. The two I am highlighting this week have been in the rotation since she first came home from the hospital and will probably be read for many years to come.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
This was the first book in which E showed an interest. At 10 months old, she crawled over to me with it in her hand and wanted me to read it. At that point, I knew that all the wrestling and reading while carrying her and pacing had been worth it. She was hooked. I credit her knowing her letters and their sounds at the age of 19 months with her obsession for this book. [She doesn’t talk much, but the girl knows her ABCs.] She loves the rhythmic nature, the bright colors, and associating the letters and their sounds with the names of people in her family. I am convinced that when I am 93 years old and battling dementia in a nursing home, I will be giving recitations of this book to my caregivers. Because it is now embedded in my psyche.
Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
At one point, my husband actually groaned, “Not Big Read Barn again!” There is something about this book that entrances her. She loves pointing out the animals and making their sounds. She has the Fisher Price barn with animals and enjoys playing with it after reading the story, acting it out in her own way. She will “read” this book on her own now, flipping through the pages, pointing to different things, and making obscure noises that mean very specific and important things (to her).
And what about Mama? What’s on my nightstand?
God Will Provide by Patricia Treece
I just finished this. It was a good read and highlighted modern saints with whom I am not that familiar. It inspired me to go further and look into their lives more. Treece also reminded me that I need to trust more and surrender to His will. Looking to the saints as a model is always the answer. There are so many of them, with so many different personalities, that you are bound to find someone whose spiritual journey and struggle resonates with your own.
Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton
Umm. . .so, wow! Heavy bedtime reading, but so worth it! Obviously Chesterton’s message is hugely significant, but his use of language while making his argument is amazing. Why can’t I be British and speak with wit and eloquence? So many quotes I want to underline, but alas, this is a library book. Some of the highlights so far:
There is a notion adrift everywhere that imagination, especially mystical imagination, is dangerous to man’s mental balance. . .Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. . .Poetry [is] not the disease, but the medicine. . .Everywhere we see that men do not go mad by dreaming. . .Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything a strain. . .The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.
And a wonderful quote conveying why the mystery of our faith is so important, sacred, and crucial to our lives, why I am thankful I am a cradle Catholic and why I am raising my daughter in the Church:
Mysticism keeps man sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity. The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. . .If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. . .Thus he has always believed that there is such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also. . .He admired youth because it was young and age because it was not. It is exactly this balance of apparent contradictions that has been the whole buoyancy of the healthy man. . .The morbid logician seeks to make everything lucid, and succeeds in making everything mysterious. The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid.
More of this, please! Looking forward to savoring this work.