Sunday, January 12, 2014

Book Review: Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

Rump: The True Story of RumpelstiltskinRump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For a summary of the book, click on the title above (not the blog post title).

I just loved this book! From the very beginning, Liesl Shurtliff showed such great imagination in the telling of Rumpelstiltskin's background. The whole way through, I was thinking to myself that it would make a great family read-aloud if I liked the rest of it as much as I liked what I had already read. And I did!

This book has plenty of adventure without being too scary for younger readers. I was really impressed how the author weaved Rump's past into the story we know of how he ended up. She also used other fairy tale characters or made mention of other stories so Rump's story intertwined with other fairy tales, while keeping the main focus on him.

I think this is a great book for boys and girls alike. Shurtliff keeps you invested and turning pages the whole way through.

I bought it and have started reading it with my kids.

Content: This is a kid-friendly book! The worst words you'll find are "butt" and "idiot." There is some mild peril, and the main violence is when the bad guy hits someone or there is evidence that someone was beaten up.

Have you read it? Tell me what you thought!

Friday, November 15, 2013

My Cup Runneth Over

This month, I have been trying to notice my blessings, big and small. I have lots of friends on Facebook who post every day something that makes them feel thankful. In the past, I found it a bit . . . forced—and too public for my taste. But this year, I decided to join in, knowing that focusing on the positive could only help my situation. I haven’t posted something every day because I can’t commit (ha ha), and sometimes I think of something for which I am grateful that I just don’t feel like sharing. But today, I had more on my mind than I could possibly share on Facebook.

As I sat at lunch with Phaedra and Curtis this afternoon, my heart was full. I looked from one child to the other, noticing their beautiful eyes and faces, and feeling so in love with them I could scarcely contain myself. They happily munched on mac & cheese and begged sunflower seeds and croutons off me from my salad. At that moment, I felt so full of the light of Christ. I don’t know any other way to explain it. I love those moments. I am so grateful for those moments.

Those are the moments when I don’t think about the boxes I still have to unpack, the unruly pile of shoes by our back door that are begging me to find a place to put them, the pile of dishes in the kitchen, or even the miles upon miles upon miles between us and the rest of our family. All I can think about is how blessed I am to be right there in that moment. I’m amazed by my children—how they grow and learn and love, and I am honored to be able to witness it and be a part of it. I feel the love of a hardworking husband who comes home after work and helps with dinner, pays attention to his family, and helps put kids to bed. He is concerned for our welfare, and he leads this family righteously.

For most of the day since that moment, I have been mindful of other blessings throughout the day and in my life in general.

I am grateful for my kids and how they remind me to stop and enjoy things like piles of leaves in the yard. I love how they beg me when we get home from school to spend some time raking leaves. I love how Curtis thinks he’s so important and helpful when he comes along and puts his rake in the center of our pile and pulls the leaves in the opposite direction. He hasn’t quite figured out how to get the leaves to go where we are trying to take them, but he really wants to work.

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I’m so in love with those faces!

I’ve felt thankful on many occasions that our new ward is so welcoming and friendly. I’m so glad the sisters are so kind.

I’m glad we’ve been here for a month, and it has gone by quickly.

I’m glad we were able to find a place that has a good school for Eleanor.

I’m am so grateful that the snow from Monday has melted! Watching that snow fall down and start sticking on the ground made me the worst kind of homesick I’ve been since we got here. It’s going to take me time and lots more warm clothing before I will be able to embrace winters here. I think I’m going to have to buy lots of thermals to wear under my clothes. And warm hats!

I’m grateful for the love of my family and for the connections I’m still able to have with them and my faraway friends.

But mostly, I’m grateful for moments like the one I had at lunch when I can stop and realize the great bounty that I have.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Time for a Change

Do you ever just get that feeling that a change is coming? That your otherwise peaceful lives are about the be turned upside down as your path takes a major detour from the expected?

I’ve had that feeling for months. I knew it was just a matter of time.

The feeling was right.

Grant has accepted a position at a community college in Illinois, near Chicago, and we’re about to uproot our little Oregon-grown family and head east.

I’m working really hard at being excited about this change.

We’ve told the kids about it. Actually, we asked them what they thought at first. Phae’s response was something predictable like, “Sure!” or “Great!” Eleanor gave us the thumbs-up as soon as she learned they have an aquarium there.

While my feelings are very mixed, and I am very reluctant to leave the family, friends, and home we love, I know it is the right thing for our family at this time.

About a week after the decision was made, Eleanor came to me one morning and asked, “Mommy, do you want to move to Chicago?”

My thoughts raced to all sorts of things I could tell her to placate her. I could repeat to her all the things friends had said to me about what an adventure it would be for us and all the fun things we could do. But before I started to talk, I took one look at her and knew I had to be completely honest with her. This is what I told her:

Your daddy and I have said many prayers to try to make the decision if we should move, and we feel like the answer was that we should. I know I have received an answer to my prayers that it will be the best thing for our family to move to Chicago. So even though it might sound scary to me sometimes to leave our cousins and grandmas and friends behind, I know that our Heavenly Father knows what’s best for us, and He will take care of us. If I didn’t feel like that’s what Heavenly Father wants for us, would I wake up one morning and decide we should just pack up and move to Chicago because it sounds like a fun place? Probably not. (She laughed at that.) But I have been praying that your daddy would find a good job in a place where it will be best for our family, and I know this is what we are supposed to do.

I told her that as long as we have faith and try to make the best of it, we will be blessed. And maybe we’ll be surprised by how much we end up loving it there. Who knows.

I’m so glad that I answered her question that way instead of just telling her what an adventure it would be. I’m glad that I was able to share my faith with her. Because this move is going to take a lot of faith.

I have already felt and seen a great outpouring of blessings upon us. I have felt such great comfort through these stressful times of planning a move across the country. I would have fallen apart so many times over by now without being strengthened by my Heavenly Father. Sure, I’ve been overwhelmed, and there are times it feels like wave after wave of panic is crashing down on me, but those moments don’t last long. Ultimately, I know everything will work out. Everything will be alright. And we’ll find a new sort of happiness in Illinois.