I have blogged little lately, less from a lack of things to blog about, as from too many. I cannot make up my mind which to blog about, and thus, like the old sailor, I do nothing but bask. (Which reminds me that I have been reading When We Were Very Young selectively to the ducklings, and they adore it. They demand "Cwis'pher Wobin poems" at every read-aloud time.)
So perhaps if I deal with some topics briefly, I will get my gumption up to tackle a few others at more length later on. Or forget them entirely.
Life Together: This book, by Dietrch Bonhoeffer, has long been on my List of Books it Would No Doubt Be Noble To Read, but a friend's intention to read it finally spurred me to actually read it. I was quite surprised; I had thought it would be a book about life in the church, but it is really much more about family (or religious community) life.
I tend to benefit most in family life from books that are not particularly about family life, or that are written to very different times and circumstances. If I read a modern mother of many young children say that of course you must do thus and so, and I don't, I tend to either feel guilty, or waste far too much mental energy arguing with her in my head. But if a seminarian from another place and time posits three chapters of Scripture read aloud before breakfast I can laugh at picturing him being dumped into our stinky-diaper and howling-tummy bedlam and then go on to think about how I can weave more Scripture into our everyday life, even at breakfast. (A prayer and a song from the Bible are working very nicely.)
Another intriguing idea from him (and there were many more) is that the test of true Christian community is whether you can confess your faults to each other. Now he cautions against confession as a religious work in itself, and I have seen the ugliness that happens when we are proud of the confessions we can come up with and scrape the recesses of our souls to have a testimony like everyone else's. But real community comes when we can honestly tell someone else the things we are truly, deeply, ashamed of. It only works and gives freedom and joy in fellowship when it's unpleasant. With all the craving for "authenticity" nowadays, one seldom sees this path mentioned, but I think he's quite right.
Vacation Bible School: We are VBS wimps, showing up only to do the opening and then departing (much to D1's disappointment), but that is really all we are good for this year. We are portraying farmers, who last night discovered a considerable treasure in the field we were planning on buying. Is it only me, or does that parable strike you as rather shady business dealings?
I needed a bucket of dirt to hide the treasure in, but it needed to be lighter than a bucket of dirt. I finally struck upon painting an old chex mix tub with leftover house paint, then filling it with styrofoam, including a styrofoam circle that would form a false bottom for the dirt. The ducklings gleefully helped me paint the bucket. I finally realized the secret to them not getting paint on their clothes is to take their clothes off--old T-shirts of DOB's provide ample coverage for decency's sake, and then the paint only bleeds through onto their skin, from which it will no doubt wear off eventually.
Tonight is the parable of the sower and the seeds. I am faking a withered plant from the stony ground. I feel slightly guilty about this. If only I had thought to plant a seed on stony ground a few weeks ago!
Ducklings: They seemed to grow up a lot while we were on vacation, even though we were there watching them. D2 talks (and talks, and talks) very well now. His new favorite sentence model is "I like . . . " (from a book about trains) and he is happy to inform us about all the things he likes. He is also happy to repeat absolutely anything anybody says. They are both obsessed with playing with dishes and cooking food. I sometimes worry that this indicates they are either underfed or insufficiently stimulated in their imagination, but mostly I hope it bodes well for help in the kitchen. We are working on doing more formal chores now, and D1 is getting fairly good at clearing the table.