Thursday, September 21, 2017

Are You a Keeper?

I ran across this today on Facebook and wondered at how no truer words have ever been spoken.  Many times as parents we feel the weight of the world on our shouldets.  We are not alone.  Whether you're a mom or a dad, work at home or outside of it, are single or part of a couple.  We are the keepers...

(from Lucky Orange Pants  -  September 18 at 8:50pm

I am the keeper.
I am the keeper of schedules. Of practices, games, and lessons. Of projects, parties, and dinners. Of appointments and homework assignments.
I am the keeper of information. Who needs food 5 minutes before a meltdown occurs and who needs space when he gets angry. Whether there are clean clothes, whether bills are paid, and whether we are out of milk.
I am the keeper of solutions. Of bandaids and sewing kits and snacks in my purse. But also of emotional balms and metaphorical security blankets.
I am the keeper of preferences. Of likes and dislikes. Of nightly rituals and food aversions.
I am the keeper of reminders. To be kind, to pick up their trash, to do their dishes, to do their homework, to hold open doors and write thank you notes.
I am the keeper of rituals and memories. Of pumpkin patches and Easter egg hunts. I am the taker of pictures, the collector of special ornaments, and the writer of letters.
I am the keeper of emotional security. The repository of comfort, the navigator of bad moods, the holder of secrets and the soother of fears.
I am the keeper of the peace. The mediator of fights, the arbiter of disputes, the facilitator of language, the handler of differing personalities.
I am the keeper of worry. Theirs and my own.
I am the keeper of the good and the bad, the big and the small, the beautiful and the hard.
Most of the time, the weight of these things I keep resembles the upper elements on the periodic table - lighter than air, buoying me with a sense of purpose.
But sometimes the weight of the things I keep pulls me down below the surface until I am kicking and struggling to break the surface and gasp for breath.
Because these things I keep are constantly flickering in the back of my brain, waiting to be forgotten. They scatter my thoughts and keep me awake long past my bedtime.
Because all these things I keep are invisible, intangible. They go unnoticed and unacknowledged until they are missed. They are not graded or peer reviewed or ruled on by a court. And sometimes they are taken for granted.
My husband and my boys are kind and generous and they love me hard. And this is by far the greatest job I have ever had. But sometimes being the Keeper is exhausting. Because you feel like you're doing it alone.
So to all of you who are keepers, I see you.
I know the weight of the things you keep.
I know the invisible work you do, which doesn't come with a pay check or sick leave, is what makes the world go round.
I see you.
And I salute you.
#LoveHard
#Love What Matters
www.luckyorangepants.com

**Blog post reposted with permission from LuckyOrangePants.com**

Friday, August 25, 2017

Bringing Maggie Home - Kim Vogel Sawyer

Pages: 352
Publisher: Waterbrook
Pub Date: September 5, 2017

About the book (from Amazon):

Decades of Loss, an Unsolved Mystery, 
and a Rift Spanning Three Generations

Hazel DeFord is a woman haunted by her past. While berry picking in a blackberry thicket in 1943, ten-year old Hazel momentarily turns her back on her three-year old sister Maggie and the young girl disappears.

Almost seventy years later, the mystery remains unsolved and the secret guilt Hazel carries has alienated her from her daughter Diane, who can’t understand her mother’s overprotectiveness and near paranoia. While Diane resents her mother’s inexplicable eccentricities, her daughter Meghan—a cold case agent—cherishes her grandmother’s lavish attention and affection.
 
When a traffic accident forces Meghan to take a six-week leave-of-absence to recover, all three generations of DeFord women find themselves unexpectedly under the same roof. Meghan knows she will have to act as a mediator between the two headstrong and contentious women. But when they uncover Hazel’s painful secret, will Meghan also be able to use her investigative prowess to solve the family mystery and help both women recover all that’s been lost?

My thoughts...

Oh my goodness...I LOVED this book!  I'm not a follower of Kim Vogel Sawyer, so it was by chance I picked up this novel to review.  Anyone that knows me knows how much I adore covers, and choosing to read a book by it's cover is often how I roll (shh....I know you're not supposed to do that, but I just can't help it).  I fell in love with this cover the moment I saw it, and actually the title also (I've always loved the name Margaret, it was my grandmother's, and I wanted to name one of our twins that with the shortened nickname of Maggie.  But alas my husband didn't agree.  But that's a story for another time).  

I love the characters in this story.  Besides being likable and intriguing, they are very well developed and have a depth to them that not all authors take the time to create.  Hazel, Diane, and Meghan have unique family dynamics that are not uncommon in the real world today.  And while Meghan's co-workers are rarely mentioned, Sean does play an integral part in the story. 

The disappearance of young Maggie, in 1943, reminded me of Lisa Wingate's recently released novel, "Before We Were Yours" (which I reviewed for Library Journal).  Sawyer does not mention that her story is based on actual events (as Wingate's was), but it's easy to imagine that something like that did indeed take place.  

The pacing of the story is spot on, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend adding it to your reading pile.  In fact, I'd love to give away my copy to someone located in the continental US.  Enter my rafflecopter giveaway to win this book...stop by each day during the contest to enter! 

**I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion**
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

School Days

This morning as we were getting ready for school it hit me.  This is the last time I will see our son get on the school bus for his first day of school. He's 16 and 4 months, a junior, so by every right he should have his license by now.  But he's still 8 hours away from earning it, and I'm okay with that (50 hours with a permit are needed in our state to obtain your driver's license).

I've enjoyed running him to his band camp practices the past two weeks, savoring those little conversations you don't always get with a man-child. Often they're too quiet, busy playing their game system or messing on their phone to pay attention to what mom has to say.  But every once in a while the light breaks through the clouds and you have those sweet little talks like when they were little.  And at this point in life, you grab on to those moments and tuck them away for memories that will be needed later down the road.

I hope your children have a great year of school making memories that will last a lifetime.  Not necessarily only for themselves, but for you, sweet mama, who will need to recall them on those lonely, quiet mornings where you wonder where the time has gone.  They say too often that you'll blink and before you know it your children will be grown, and then one day you realize it's true.  It's not the end of the story, just the beginning of a new chapter.  So take hold of what you have today, and remember:  As the pastor of our church says, "Our greatest days are just ahead"!