Monday, October 11, 2010

Honey For A Child's Heart

We've been having two types of honey round here lately. The first type, was grandparent honey.
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I'm not sure if Jeremiah was taking a picture of the waterfall or their heads, but there they are :)

We had such a great time with these two. They are ever eager to try anything we suggest, and I heard Dr. Maddox tell Retha (his office manager) over the phone, "There are 400 parks in Seattle you know. We've been to three, but I think we may get to see the rest of them this afternoon." He winked at me, but he really would have gone to every one and acted like he had never seen a park before each time, if we'd wanted to.

Now, I'd been waiting for just the right visitor to give me an excuse to RIDE THE DUCKS!!!!
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I've been watching them pass me all over Seattle, doing things like this with music like "YMCA" blaring over the loud speakers.
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I can't explain why that would call to me, but it did. And when Mrs. Linda asked me what I thought the girls would most want to do to celebrate their birthdays, I felt my opportunity had arrived.

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We blew our quackers to ad nauseum,
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sang songs aloud with complete strangers, learned fascinating facts about the city to share with all our friends, took a dip in Lake Union,

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saw the "Sleepless in Seattle" house,
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And had an all-around grand 'ol time.
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I would recommend it, in all seriousness. Just be prepared to cheese it out with relish. It's better to go all in. You look much more stupid if you're already ON the Ducks, and then you act too cool for them.

We also managed to visit the biggest waterfall I've ever seen:
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And get another lovely family photo in front of it. Why do children forget how to smile when they turn 4?? We are about to be 5. Is there any end in sight?
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On second thought, perhaps I need some smiling lessons as well :)

We ate good food, had some long talks on the porch, Mrs. Linda taught me how to make granola and took me shopping (without the little girls!!), and we saw a few parks :). It was honey to our hearts.

The second kind of honey we've been experiencing comes from here (also the place where I borrowed the name for this post):
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My friend Lindsey sent these books to us as a "here's some comfort out of your comfort zone" happy, but I had no idea what was in store for me.

I feel like Gladys (the author) and me go waaayyyyy back. Like maybe she was whispering in God's ear while He was creating me :) As I read her words, I suddenly felt like so many of my feelings made sense. Like all the hours I'd wasted trying to figure out why reading fiction was important to me, or why I had such an intense desire to share it with my children, or why I wanted to read aloud to my husband, or why some books are good and others are just not...all those wasted wondering hours could have been saved if I'd just read Gladys' book a few years back. She'd already figured it out!!

I cried at least once every time I sat down to read. You know that thankfulness you feel from being understood? From feeling validated?

I read it once (the first half is her thoughts and the second half is a book list, so it isn't really all that much reading) and then went back to re-read/highlight all the parts I wanted to read to Jeremiah. Most of the book is now yellow :) I'll try to limit myself to a couple of quotes here:

What kind of books are proper fare for a child's mind?... 'Stories that make for wonder. Stories that make for laughter. Stories that stir one within with an understanding of the true nature of courage, of love, of beauty. Stories that make one tingle with high adventure, with daring, with grim determination, with the capacity of seeing danger through to the end. Stories that bring our minds to kneel in reverence; stories that show the tenderness of true mercy, the strength of loyalty, the unmawkish respect for what is good.'

Good literature teaches more than we know. Example always speaks louder than precept, and books can do more to inspire honor and tenacity of purpose than all the chiding and exhortations in the world.

Reading aloud as a family has bound us together, as sharing an adventure always does. We know the same people. We have gone through emotional crises together as we felt anger, sadness, fear, gladness, and tenderness in the world of the book we were reading. Something happens to us that is better experienced than described--a kind of enlarging of heart--when we encounter passages full of grand language and noble thoughts.

Later, when we said good-night and prayed together by a moonlit shore, a seventeen-year-old [Gladys' son] thanked God not just for "beautiful things we can see, but for beautiful words which remind us of realities we cannot see."

I am going to make myself stop now, but I hope you get the point.

Jeremiah and I discussed, very early in our marriage, how we wanted to have a time set aside each night for reading real, good books aloud as a family. We've talked about the comfortable space we'd create to encourage these readings and have added many a finished title to the must-read family list. I'd never heard of anybody doing this before and reading Gladys' testimony of how it shaped their lives was moving for me.

It also inspired me to stop waiting for "one day" and start now. And so we have. Each night for the past week Jeremiah, Pace, Mary Aplin, and I have piled into the girls' bed and read a chapter of Winnie the Pooh. What honey this beginning has already been!


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(I just had to share this picture of this morning's sunrise...)

10 comments:

Nancy said...

Precious post with wonderful books :)

The Rigoloso's said...

i love your new tradition! and ps... that last picture is amazing...like blow it up & hang it in a gallery amazing!

Anonymous said...

Ms. Maddox your eye for composition is breathtaking. The landscapes that your followers are privy to via flicker are enchanting.

jj said...

Hey Abby! I was able to read Honey for a Child's Heart last year in China and loved it. And I definitely keep referring to her list of books for kids and their ages in the back. Glad you shared about it and that ya'll are doing well!

Brooke @ Blueprint Bliss said...

Can't wait to check out the book.

LOVE that last photo. Amazing.

Rhett, Megan, Claire, Ford & Gus said...

Seriously. The view from your house is ridiculous. What a treasure! I think I might get up for sunset every day! Our read aloud time each night is so precious to our family as well! We just started that time this year and have enjoyed The Adventures of Mr. Wiggly, Milly Molly Mandy and two of the Little House books. It is serious bonding time and I look forward to it each day! We have a list of "required reading" that keeps growing too! I have to read Honey now!

Lindsey said...

before i had met you, and had only read your blog, i knew you would love the book:)... beautiful pictures. elle saw the ducks and now wants to come ride!

Anonymous said...

okay with your chemical engineering background perhaps you may find Dale Chihuly the glass artist guy from Seattle er you have heard--- of dale Chihuly ---the chihuly installed at the jules collins fine art museum that fantastic glass balloon like piece of art?? the fantastic glass art the huge bigger than life glass forms -- which are awesome ---maybe a glass studio visit would be awesome please check it out at least on the web

Kendall Boggs said...

LOVE IT!!! Lynn and I rode the "Duck Boat" in Boston and had the best time EVER!!! (I even got to drive it)...So glad you are enjoying exploring. AND WOW! to wake up to that every morning! Jealous!........
love you sweetie!
k

Sarah said...

I can see Kendall and I now- riding the ducks, cheesing it up. Can't wait!