+++Here's that story about Jack that I promised: He's on the couch reading his Kindle. I'm on the loveseat opposite him, probably folding clothes. He looks up and says, "All my favorite characters die." I say, "Did someone you like just die, Jack?" Yes, this guy drowns, and he tells me that as his sweet eyes fill up with tears. I feel his pain and ask him to come over to me. He sits on my lap. I say something about knowing how hard it is to have your favorites die in a book, but maybe it's not true this time. Maybe he's not really dead, you just are made to believe he is. He's not convinced at all, but leaves me and gets ready for bed.
In the morning he tells me, "Mom, that guy didn't really die. They all thought that he did, but it turns out he makes it out of the river. That was in the epilogue." He smiles. And off he goes. And I'm glad.
+++Joel finished his "carnet de syllabes" before Christmas, so now he's a full-fledged reader of French. Every night he has two little books to read. And can he ever read! It's a delight to read with him and to see that twinkle in his eyes and hear him giggle when he understands something funny that he just read. Maybe this will change, but for now, I don't mind at all "doing homework" with him.
+++For a long time I've wanted to read Where the Red Fern Grows to my guys. I made the mistake of telling them once about how I read it with a group of 6th graders my first year of teaching and that we had all cried together. That was NOT the way to get them to let me read it to them, let me tell you. But the other night we needed a new book to read together and I suggested that one. They were adamantly opposed. Who wants to read about some boy's beloved dogs dying? So we had a talk about love and loss and good stories and then they let me start it. Now, I'm seriously wondering if I should have pushed so hard. I don't know if I can deal with their sorrow (or their bitterness when they see what I've done).
+++This morning I just finished Jesus + Nothing = Everything. 5 stars! I have this book all written in and highlighted up so it's pretty hard for me to pick favorite parts, but today I'll just mention these quotes:
“Paul says that when we divorce obligations from gospel declarations,then our obedience becomes nothing more than behavioral compliance to rules without heart change. But when God’s amazing grace in the gospel grips out hearts the motivational structure of our hearts is radically changed, and we begin to obey out of faith, not fear, gratitude not guilt… When I begin analyzing and evaluating my own heart and the motivations behind what I do, I begin to discover a lot of moralistic tendencies. That’s why, as I’ve said so often, we need to be making a beeline for the finished work of Christ every day, because only the gospel can crush the moralistic tendencies that are the natural default mode of our hearts."
"...once God rescues sinners, his plan isn't to steer them beyond the gospel but to move them more deeply into it. That's because the gospel isn't the first step in a stairway of truths but more like the hub in a wheel of truth. After all, the only antidote to sin is the gospel--always has been, always will be. And since Christians remain sinners even after they're converted, the gospel must be the medicine a Christian takes every day. We can think of it this way: since we never leave off sinning, we can never leave off the gospel."