Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sparkly Green Earrings

I recently spent a week in sunny Florida and was able to actually read a book while I was there.  I had no computer in my lap, housework looming over my head, or bills staring at me from across the room.  When the babies napped I actually rested too!  I spent those quiet times either at the pool or on the couch with a book I had been wanting to read for some time. 

Sparkly Green Earrings was written by Melanie Shankle whom I love for so many reasons but especially her wit and sarcasm; two things I wish I could say I have and use appropriately with as much grace and class as she does.  She isn't afraid to speak her mind.  She isn't afraid to say the things that so many others wouldn't say.  She speaks truth and I found it refreshing to read her book knowing that she was a real person that experienced the same real things I had experienced. 

I wanted to write this mainly for myself.  There are things about this book that I do not want to forget.  I want to be able to look back and remember the truth I learned from spending some much needed time alone wrapped up in this good book.  These are simply quotes from the book that struck a chord with me.

p. 46  "I think there are times in life when he takes away all those earthly things we look to for comfort and security so we can feel him better and love him more."

p. 86 "...I think it shows our inclination as parents to always want to see the best in our children.  We like to believe they are better versions of us, but the truth is, they are us.  They are full of our selfishness and impulsiveness and pettiness.  They want things to go their way just like we do, and they scream and yell and throw things when it doesn't work out.  The only difference between them and us is what my grandma would refer to as "home training."  God gives us these raw, little people, and we have to form them and mold them and teach them how to operate in society.  And if we get a glimpse of all the ugliness that lies right beneath our own polished surface?  Well, then, there's a humbling lesson too.  It's those moments when I realize I have to extend grace to Caroline as she figures these things out by trial and error in the same way God lavishes me with mercy, even as I make the same mistakes over and over again."

p. 198 "Khalil Gibran offers these insights about children: You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.  You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.  You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you." 

p. 208 "Even if we've dreamed of having babies of our own, there is nothing that prepares us for the way that moment cracks open our hearts and pours in the type of pure love we never knew existed.  A love that isn't about us but is just about wanting to love and protect this little, helpless person who will emit all manner of bodily fluids on us if given half the chance.  You can't fathom it until you experience it.  You can decorate a nursery, scribbles down baby names, and feel the miracle of a foot kicking your bladder, but non of that comes close to capturing the true moments that make a mama. That's why I believe motherhood gives us the first true glimpse of how God loves us.  The kind of love that irrevocable, unrelenting, unconditional.  I think it's the closest humans get to living 1 Corinthians 13.  Motherhood is a Holy Communion with Goldfish crackers and juice boxes. 

p. 210 "I watched her with the crab as she ignored all my admonitions that the poor crab just needed to be set free if he was to have any chance of surviving.  And God showed up there on that beach to teach me a lesson.  Nothing survives when it's being smothered.  Life, real life, requires being free to move about in the great big ocean, not being cradled in little hot hands that will stifle independence and creativity.  We can't keep our crabs (or our kids) in a bucket and expect them to go far in life." 

p. 212-213 "At times I've thought how nice it would be if I could just protect my daughter forever-shield her from hurt feelings, a broken heart, dreams that may not come true.  But I realize all those things in my own life have been part of making me who I am today.  Had I been protected from all the unpleasant moments life can bring, I wouldn't have learned who I really am." 

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