Thursday, October 06, 2011

Bread for the Soul

I was excited to learn this past week that I had won a drawing to receive two books from Anna Larsen Books. The drawing was coordinated through Jane Meyer's blog, The Woman and the Wheat, which is quickly becoming a favorite read for me. Jane combines down-to-earth wisdom with a searching soul and a writer's knack for serving up the concoction in the most palatable presentation possible. And there's bread! Both physical and spiritual...

Take, for instance, this excerpt from Jane's latest post, "Emily," which I found spiritually nourishing:
I have never been homeless or lacking. I have never been broken, betrayed, battered or cast aside. My concern for other people’s sorrows is superficial and ultimately fits my schedule. And until I am placed in their position, all I can do is keep offering sandwiches and a smile, with no pretense that I am saving the world.
Jane has a special corner of her website dedicated to Simple Gifts where you can find, among other things, Anna Larsen's books. It is well worth your while to browse these offerings next time you want to give a gift that is "good for the soul."

Help Reaching Up

Most evenings my involvement with our boys' bedtime routine ends after we end our evening prayers. They want Mommy to read them stories and get them to sleep; I head off, usually, to take care of cleaning, feeding pets, or to catch up on work.

About once a month (usually when my wife has a CE meeting), I get to do the whole bedtime routine myself. This past Tuesday was one such red-letter day. After we had said our evening prayers, which consist of the Trisagion and Noah's own commemoration of his friends, the boys scrambled to find the books they wanted read. I thought it might be a good opportunity to teach a little about our prayers.

I started by explaining that we call this prayer "The Lord's Prayer" because Jesus taught us to pray these words. Then I said we would think about just the first two words, "Our Father."

Me: What does "our" mean?
Noah: It's ours. Stuff that is ours.
Me: Right. It belongs to us. What does "father" mean?
Noah: Daddy.
Me: What does a daddy do?
Noah: He takes care of you. He loves you and he helps you get things you can't reach.

And here I had presumed that I was going to teach the boys. You'd think I would have learned that lesson before.

I hugged Noah tight and enthusiastically read the books that he and Samuel had chosen: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, pausing to let them fill in from memory the correct words (as Jim Trelease recommends*) and then the wonder-ful McElligott's Pool. Turning out the lights and heading to my chores a little bit later than usual, I felt very loved, taken care of, and certainly helped to reach something I might not have otherwise.

*I found a link to Trelease's "30 'DOs' to Reading Aloud" at Good Books for Young Souls