Thursday, August 18, 2011


All's quiet here in the house tonight. We've been back long enough to unload the suitcases of dirty laundry and to fill the refrigerator. Olivia's second case of poison ivy this summer is clearing up, and the boys summer shag was trimmed today. Personally I'm partial to the shag, but proper society would have it shorter.

It seems that all the neighborhood spiders moved in while we were away, but as my boys reminded me, "They're on our side, Mom, because they eat all the other bugs." Maybe our house would be infested with all the other bugs if it weren't for those kind spiders.

Yesterday was as if all the dress up items in the costume trunk were new again. All morning long while I unpacked and cleaned, the kids were playing contentedly as super-heros, dinosaurs, princesses and the like. There was peace and quiet laughter, sleepy eyes and happiness. Afternoon errands went well, and the promise of gum when we returned home was a good motivator. Yes, the month-long gum ban was lifted.

I think I'll want to revisit Boston some day. We had lots of rain, but our time there was so fun. The subways were convenient and easy to use, allowing us to move about the city without renting a car. The one negative about the city that stood out to me was how family un-friendly it was. We were met with uncomfortable looks quite often, almost as though children were carriers of some grotesque disease. You can imagine the stares as we filed through the hotel lobby each towing and carrying our share of our nine bags and suitcases, and then making our way through the subway system to the airport. It was a reminder of how societal views toward family have changed.

But I don't care. At least I try to do what I do regardless of what people think or of whatever stereotypes are projected on me. For a moment I may have been embarrassed by the train-like line we formed with our luggage as other people waited for us to pass, but in the end I am deeply thankful for what I get to do each day. I know that the satisfaction of pouring my life into another's is far greater than the fleeting rewards of more socially acceptable pursuits.

But back to Boston. The streets and alleys, parks and shops were beautiful. I loved the antique hardware and lighting stores, and specialty food stores with photographs of Julia Child in the windows. The old constructions were detailed and impressive, years of change documented in different shades of brick. The old mixed in with liveliness and productivity was fun to observe.

One afternoon, between downpours, we visited Harvard and walked through Harvard Square. As I was explaining to the kids what Harvard was and what it is known for, I mentioned that really smart people go there. So of course, one boy asked if he would go there too. Ha! Here are my little students at Harvard. I asked them to look smart for the picture.

That's the best we can do around here.

So that about wrapped up our Harvard experience. 'Twas fun while it lasted...

They were all so excited when we let them loose at the JFK Memorial Park.

One special time for me was the morning Olivia and I set out together. We walked through shops and investigated little side streets and alleys. We sat on the steps of the old Boston Meeting House nibbling a brownie, me sharing sips of latte with my daughter. She fed crumbs to the sparrows that didn't look angry and act bossy. Then we walked to Boston's Public Gardens, a park made famous by one of our favorite children's authors, Robert McCloskey. He wrote Blueberries for Sal and Make Way for Ducklings. We felt like we were in his storybook as we sat and watched the ducks.

The rain sent us looking for shelter, and from the door steps we borrowed we took pictures of the sidewalk because we notice things like that. These are typical of the sidewalks everywhere.

She said these streets would be perfect for playing Alley Kids.

Later in the day, as we flew cross country again, I had a chance to pull out my book and read for a while. The book I was reading only touched on the topic of prayer and faith, but it was just the thing I needed to encourage me and redirect my thinking. During our time away, and especially during nights interrupted by the effects of jet lag, I found myself praying often. Truthfully, my prayers were more likened to pleading and begging. Faith had given way to fear; I was looking at the stormy waves rather than a mighty God.

I am re-energized by the truth of God's word. Here are some verses I have been dwelling on.

"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Heb. 11:1

"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." Heb. 11:6

Jesus Christ is "mighty to save." Is. 63:1

God is "a very present help in trouble." Ps. 46:1

Fear is sin, but Isaiah 55:7 says, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."

Faith must rule my thoughts.


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