Now we’re on to The Last Battle. It makes me think more than any of the others I think. I’ll have to write more about it soon.
I’m a little hesitant to finish this Narnia series. Although it’s taken us years to get through it, between all the other things she’s been reading and how life gets in the way, now we’re reading too fast. I don’t want our reading together, snuggled up close, to fade away like it has with all my other kids.
It is so real and tangible now. Her wide-eyes, begging me to read just a little more when I tell her we have to wrap it up. Her wonder at what is happening, her predictions as to what will happen, her interruptions over and over with too much excitement explaining why such-and-such is the way it is. The weight of her arm sometimes resting on mine, her head on my shoulder, appreciated more than ever because she doesn’t let that happen much…and because she’s my last. All that is so real to me now…ordinary almost.
But not quite because I know well by now the process of how it will fade. Just like these kids marching off with their backpacks to school has faded:
And matching Easter dresses:
These four piled up, Lucy no doubt drawing on her arms or stomping around in her beloved crocks somewhere close-by:
A sister’s gymnastics class after a lazy afternoon of swimming…
…so few sports or carpools or the interruptions that bombard our days now.
I just read this post back HERE today about those good old days when my kids were little enough to be tucked in at a normal hour every night. It told about a crazy day, and I know there were many crazy days mixed in there. But those were good days.
Days when I could sit and read with them at night and they were all under my roof, fast asleep by 9:00.
See the writing on those feet up there?
I miss them.
Ok, sorry, tangent that has made me all emotional. But I do so want to hold on to these “Narnia days.” And I am thankful for them every single time they come around because I know better than to take them for granted.
Let’s get back to books.
Because speaking of good books, for my book club we finished (I listened) the third book I mentioned back HERE in this post about good books. It was called Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (and you can find it HERE).
At first I wasn’t sure where that thing was taking me. I liked the writing but I was trying to figure out that Eleanor. Then it took me on such a journey that reminded me so much that everyone has such their own individual story (wrote lots of thoughts about that back HERE). It was a lot like A Man Called Ove but I think I liked it even better.
I thought it was a powerful story of the ripple effects of kindness from one good person. Such a little thing at first, one man just being willing to look past some social awkwardness and make a friend.
And it led to so much more.
There are so many people out there suffering. There are so many people who are going through their own secret sorrows. We need each other. We need to look out for each other.
I want to try to be a little more like Raymond in that book. Look into the heart a little more than what I can see on the outside. There are so many people walking around, trying to put on a smile each day, acting like all is fine and dandy when inside there is darkness and sorrow…and sometimes so much hopelessness. I have realized more than ever lately that problems run even deeper than we can sometimes imagine. And love is the answer to so much of the sadness and loneliness out there. I just loved how Raymond shone with hope, because he was willing to do something as simple as being a friend.
I love the new “ministering” mission of the church announced at Conference. Hoping to have a “summer of service” in our family trying to figure out how to minister better right in our own community. Maybe we’ll call it the “Raymond mission.” 🙂 If anyone has any excellent community service ideas send them on over.
I challenge us all to do one extra thing to lift someone around us today. It could be a text, a phone call, a smile, a little secret service. It doesn’t have to be big to make a difference. The little things tend to become the big things in life.
Oliphant means elephant in Dutch! Sounds like a good book. We are thinking about new ways to minister and love here in Holland too 🙂
We have four who have left the nest and only have one eleven year old still under our roof. We have tried to slow down and drink in every moment, we know how fast it goes and how much we will miss the little ones. We have managed to do that but it’s still gone to fast and I realised that yesterday as I watched her sitting next to me in church, listening intently to the sermon with no need of any distractions. The main reason why I’m commenting is to recommend the BBC radio plays of some of the Narnia books, they were done many years ago but are still great. Our favourite is the Last Battle and listening to that adaption with different voices for the characters really helped all mine to take in some of the allegorical meanings. They are available on Audible. 💖
I enjoyed the book, too.
I often turn to this resource for service ideas I can implement in my own community: https://littlefreelibrary.org/actionbookclub/
Of course, there is always the Just Serve website, too, which I'm sure you already know about: https://www.justserve.org/
justserve.org has endless local ideas for you and your family. we based our summer of service off of it one year and it was awesome and addictive. you can search for things close by and things for all ages- and its just… the best. sometimes we would also ask the kids for ideas and make a bucket list of service ideas for the summer to help our neighbors or family or whatever. we also have a permanent service jar that sits on our piano with ideas that are simple and take no planning so the kids can draw on that at any time. the only thing i ever struggled with when doing our summer of service was losing sight of what mattered most and getting so wrapped up in being on time or making a difference to others that i would get huffy and puffy with my kids and be a grouch. i know you will do better than me at that! thanks for this reminiscent post… i too have taken a few trips down memory lane on my blog and it was very insightful. i really appreciate the light you are in my life of deliberate parenting and its such a great thing to be able to come here to this blog and be inspired.
I agree with you. It’s the small and simple things, the every day acts of kindness and service that touch the heart and can sooth a weary soul.
Some ideas to share——
Our family has been inolved in some projects that we have been able to grow with and continue with for several years, now.
We dearly love Project Linus. We make child size tied blankets, or quilts that we donate to be used by our local hospitals/cancer units, etc.
We also have been making pillowcases – zillions of pillowcases that we donate to be used at our local, Motts Children’s Hospital and adult dependent care facilities.
Recently, through an organization in our small rural farming community, “faith in action“, we have made birthday bags. Faith in action accepts clothing donations, non perishable food, personal products, home cleaning products, etc. and are freely given to those in need. Each month we donate birthday bags which contain a cake mix, canned frosting, candles, a few birthday decorations, and a birthday gift. Faith in action only has shelf space for 8 to 10 birthday bags a month. So this is ongoing.
We also make bags for our women’s shelter. These bags are specifically made for children who come to the shelter with their mama’s, and most times with nothing….no extra clothes, no blanket, no toys, etc. The bag includes a blanket, a book and a stuffed animal.
It’s really great to see children give of themselves, earn money and purchase what they need to continue service to these different organizations. Plus, relationships are developed with people from all walks of life. It’s quite amazing. I think we are successful with our family service activities because we started small and when children were very young. It has become part of our every day life and now includes friends who have also wanted to contribute.
I love your challenge. It is so easy and simple – to send a text, and email, a note card, or to do a secret service for someone today.
Check out the Ronald McDonald House. My sister and brother-in-law spent a week there while there son was in the hospital. They were extremely touched and uplifted by the kindness of the volunteers there.
Really loved this post; thank you For reminding me to slow down and drink it all in! ❤️
I love reading your older blog posts because I think I am about 10 years behind you in my parenting journey 🙂 I especially like the one you linked to in this post. I have 6 children, My oldest just turned 12 and my baby (our very last–bitter sweet!) is 4 weeks old. Thank you for the reminder to enjoy it because one day they won't be this little!
This post reminded me of my favorite illustrated book ‘Let Me Hold You Longer’ by Karen Kingsbury. I highly recommend it for every parent. It gets me every time.