Laudable Linkage


Here are noteworthy reads discovered this last week:

Reaching for the Light. A mom’s struggle to spend time with the Lord and four kids.

Why I Took My Six-year-old Son on an Overnight Trip. Thoughts on Scripture’s instruction, “Son, give me your heart.”

The Hardest Part of Mothering.

Youth Group or Frat House? HT to Out of the Ordinary. Wisdom about youth group activities that humiliate.

In Defense of Preachy Children’s Books. HT to Story Warren. “Kids want to be entertained and delighted. The first thing you can do is erase the words moral, teach, message, and lesson out of your vocabulary…keep authoritative figures, like parents, teachers, or older siblings, in the background. Lastly, never let the adults in the story tell what the main character should do. Remember, it is a sin to preach in fiction.” The author counters this advice with examples from beloved children’s classics, and I agree with her. There was something in me that rose up to meet and welcome moral instruction in stories. It can be overdone, of course. And there are times to let readers realize what the story is about rather than telling them directly. But, “Rather than detracting or distracting from the story, were these passages giving me the names of the lovely ideals I sensed in the characters I admired? Were they revealing to me an eternal, universal world of Courage, Sacrifice, Hope, Joy, Love that, unlike the long-ago and fairytale story-lands I longed to enter, was near at hand for me to dwell in? Could this be why didacticism, properly woven into story, does not ruin but elevates it?”

100 Summer Crafts and Activities for Kids, HT to Story Warren.

And a thought for the day, HT to Jody Hedlund re writing, but applicable to many areas:



Yesterday marked the first day of summer, though it has been feeling pretty summery around here for a few weeks already.

Summer doesn’t have quite the sensation of joy, freedom, and expectancy that it does when you’re a child and school is out for three glorious months. With our kids no longer in school and our grandchild not yet in school, our schedules aren’t affected much by the school schedule – except it’s nice to be able to drive without having to worry about slowing to a stop in school zones at certain times of the day. And we do have to watch out more for kids playing in or near the neighborhood street.

Yet summer still retains a bit of charm, though it’s very hot and humid here in the South. It’s the season of grilling, sitting in the pool if you’re lucky enough to have access to one (we enjoy filling up a kiddie pool for Timothy), longer days, yard work, picnics, and vacations for some.

Here are a few favorite quotes about it:

Summer is the time when it is too hot to do the jobs it was too cold to do in winter. ~ Author Unknown

 Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.  ~John Lubbock

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.  ~James Dent

Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago. ~ Warren Buffett

No price is set on the lavish summer;
June may be had by the poorest comer.
~James Russell Lowell, The Vision of Sir Launfal, 1848


And most of my fellow Southerners can identify with this:

You know you are in the South in August when…

* The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.

* The trees are whistling for the dogs.

* The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.

* Hot water now comes out of both taps.

* You can make sun tea instantly.

* You learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.

* You discover that in August it only takes 2 fingers to steer your car.

* You discover that you can get sunburned through your car window.

* You actually burn your hand opening the car door.

* You break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 am.

* Your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, “What if I get knocked out and end up
lying on the pavement and cook to death?”

* You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.

* The potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add butter, salt, and pepper.

* Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.

* The cows are giving evaporated milk.

We’re experiencing some of that though it’s not August yet!

The Bible mentions summer a few times, among them:

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. Genesis 8:22

Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter. Psalm 74:17

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8. And another one about industrious ants: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer. Proverbs 30:25

He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame. Proverbs 10:5

As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool. Proverbs 26:1

Saddest of all: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. Jeremiah 8:20

 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Matthew 24:32-33

No hint of summer as vacation there! That helps me not to be wistful of childhood’s long summers off. That must be a modern concept: it wasn’t that long ago that kids didn’t have school in summer for the express purpose of being available to help their parents during the busiest seasons on the farm, and even now, summer is a busy time for farmers and homesteaders. It would be interesting to study summer in other cultures: for instance, in areas near the equator where it’s excessively hot, I wonder if summer if more laid back because it would be harder to function in the heat.

But the Bible does encourage times of rest as well as diligence, so I am glad summer affords time for that.

We have no special plans for the summer except for a couple of events to look forward to. With my husband’s mom here, we can’t really travel. What I call our “birthday season” begins in July: five of us have birthdays between then and mid-September. But we enjoy grilling and sitting outside in the evenings when it’s not so hot, and we look forward to my oldest son coming for a week-long visit in a few weeks. Lately our neighborhood has been getting together for a group cook-out on the 4th of July. Summer used to be reading heaven for me when I was younger, and though I can’t spend the bulk of the day in a book anymore, I still do get a bit more reading in as there is not much on TV during the summer.

What are you doing this summer?



Strands of stray thoughts

Thanks for your responses to my query about whether ads were appearing here. It sounds like it’s not often. I really don’t want to have to move to a paid host – or really to move at all – so if they’re not bothersome or many, I think I’ll leave things as they are. Please do let me know if they become a nuisance or if you see anything objectionable.

I keep a list of possible topics to blog about as they occur to me so I won’t forget them, and then work on them later. I haven’t been in a malaise, exactly, with blogging this week, but as I’ve looked over those notes, so far I haven’t seen anything I wanted to develop, and I haven’t had anything burning on my heart to write about. I’m making progress in a few books but likely won’t finish any of them to discuss this week. So I’ve been getting some other things done around the house, and that’s been nice.

I’ve done some preliminary work on a possible writing project that I am excited about. If it comes to anything, I’ll let you know. 🙂

We had a very nice 4th of July, which I’ll say more about on Friday. Our neighbors used to host a major fireworks display but haven’t in the last few years since the last ones caught fire in four places in our yard. But this year some guests of neighbors started shooting off some pretty big ones, and, unfortunately, weren’t being very careful. Some fell over and shot down the street, some went off too close to the ground. They got too close to our cars and house at one point and my husband had to speak to them. I used to hate fireworks laws because we grew up with them and most people knew how to handle them safely, but since we can’t count on that any more, I’ve come to appreciate them. In our part of the county they are legal, however. I was very thankful that we’d had rain off and on that day and the week before. We have some dying trees that we’re going to have removed this fall, and they’re very dry, so if any stray sparks or fireworks debris had caught any of them, that could have been a disaster. But as it was everything was pretty well soaked, thank the Lord.

Pinterest used to be one of my favorite places on the web. I used to liken it to friends sitting around looking at magazines, telling each other, “Ooh, look at this!” But with the proliferation of “Picked for you” pins and “Promoted pins,” it’s not  cozy gathering of friends any more. Plus some of the “Promoted pins” (the ones paid for by businesses) have content that I don’t want to see. There is a little x beside them you can click on to hide the pin, but still, I really only want to see the pins of the people I chose to “follow.” If I want to search for recipe, craft, or decorating ideas, I know where and how to do that: I don’t want them to do it for me. One day I did start clicking on things and found a place on Pinterest to leave feedback, but I couldn’t tell you now how to find it. But there was a place to click on why you didn’t like Picked For You Pins and Promoted Pins (one of the reasons being only wanting to see pins from people you follow) and a place to leave a comment. There was a separate place for each (one for Picked For You Pins and one for Promoted Pins), so if you can find it and express your opinion as well, maybe there will be enough that they’ll go back to the way things used to be. I know they have to make money on the site some way, but the Promoted Pins are an annoying way to try to do it, in my opinion.

On to something more positive…

Our little grandson Timothy is about fifteen months old, and is such fun His little brain is developing so fast. It’s amazing to watch the wheels turning as he tries to figure things out. We have a TV cabinet that has glass doors, and my husband put some of those child safety locks on them. Timothy has tried pulling on the knob, turning it, and recently when he had his daddy’s keys, he tried poking them in the door to see if that would work. Cracked me up! Of course, one consequence of his curiosity and desire to explore and investigate things is that he’s figuring out how to get around some of our barricades, so he has had to start hearing the word “No.” He used to cry whenever he heard it, even though it wasn’t said loudly or sternly. But now he has lost a little bit of that sensitivity. It’s so hard when that clash of wills starts to crop up, but it’s a necessary thing to deal with, for their own safety and for planting the seeds of learning self-control. He’s pulling up with ease and side-stepping while holding on to furniture or pushing things, but hasn’t stepped out on his own yet. A couple of times he’s almost forgotten himself and done so. I don’t think it will be long!

Feeling the raindrops

Feeling the raindrops

I’ve been in something of a rut with dinners lately. Everything seems too involved or too hot to make. What are some of your favorite quick and simple summer dishes?

Hope your summer is going well so far. Can’t believe we’re through June and now a week into July already!

Summer memories

Sherry at Semicolon had a list of summer memories from childhood, inspiring my own:

Fans at night and nap time (no AC).

Hearing mosquitoes buzzing in my ears at night.

Chasing fireflies.

Ice cream trucks.

Fudge pops.

Trips to the beach.

Visiting DQ afterward.

Thinking my aunt’s house with central AC was so luxurious.

Running through the sprinkler.

Drinking from the hose.

Families in the neighborhood bringing out lawn chairs to their front yards in the evenings and visiting back and forth while the kids played.

My dad taking the neighborhood kids on rides on his motor scooter.

Taking trips with my grandmother to visit my aunts and uncles and cousins.

Riding bikes everywhere.

Walking barefoot outside, being a real tenderfoot at the beginning of the summer and calloused by the end.

Stepping on the occasional cocklebur (or something like it – ours were flatter).

My birthday, sometimes celebrating it with three other cousins with birthdays in the same month.

Asking my mom what watermelon tasted like. She told me to try a piece if I wanted to find out. I finally did. We used to put salt on it.

Popsicles dribbling down our chins.

Going with friends to the pool.

Chinaberry fights (playful ones, not angry ones). We had enough chinaberry trees in the back yard for each kid to climb one, and we’d toss the berries at each other.

Vacation Bible School.

Playing tag, freeze tag, statue tag, Mother May I.


Family reunions.

Taking glass bottle to turn in at the store for change.

Corn on the cob dripping with butter.

My dad barbecuing on the grill he made himself from a barrel.

Sleeping in.

Nehi Cola in grape, orange, and strawberry.

June bugs caught in the front screen door.

What are some of your summer memories?