Sunday, October 30, 2011


"You like it don't you?"

Jane, bent over a three ringed binder, looks up, pencil poised.

"You like it don't you?" I repeat.

"Uh huh. I like writing sentences," she says then tilts her head, "but I like writing stories more." I smile at how she pushes her pencil into the next sentence.

"No, " I pause, "you like being the kind of person that can get something done fast and enjoy it, don't you?"

She looks up, straight ahead, then then turns direct to my eyes. "I'm glad you disciplined me," she says and nods as if the end point of all the struggle were suddenly obvious and pleasant.

With that, her pencil already entangled in the next sentence, she gains something more precious than the work: strength.

Discipline gives us strength.


1554. Lucy's prayer, "And God, please help us when we do something naughty to tell our mom and dad and not keep it a secret."

1555. Dinner with my brother and sweet sis-in-law, the six of us invited to their apartment for beef stew and Springbok puzzles, ginger snaps and all four kids playing ball with their doggies.

1556. Figuring out how to assemble the workforce in this house who makes most of the laundry.

1557. Jane's affectionate, "Jack is such a boy," as she looks out the window. "He's got a log [bat] up here and is whipping the ground." She grins, "He is such a BOY."

1558. How Rosie falls asleep on my shoulder and Jane comments, "That's so sweet. Shows that she trusts you enough to fall asleep on you."

1559. How at dinner she interrupts my thoughts with, "Lulie, I like your face. Your face is so pretty." I turn to see her holding Lulie's face between her hands.

1560. Eight solitary seeds, the remains of Jack's apple.

1561. How I listen to a sermon while I make dinner and Jane asks, "Momma, I was wondering if you could quit listening to that guy and just enjoy us like we enjoy you."

1562. And how we do; we rest and enjoy and get filled up being together.

1563. How when I say, "Time for lunch," Rosie starts pushing her hair to the table.

1564. A visit with my grampa in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana.

1565. How we play cards late into the night in his cedar cabin, and he tells me stories like about when he and Gramma met -- how they rode bikes on their first date. And how he asked his friend if he thought Marge would ever go out with him again and that friend said, "Only way to find out is to ask." So he did. And she said she didn't want to go to the show he suggested, but how about that Metropolitan Art Show downtown? Details, the kind I can picture.

1567. How when I ask, Grampa comments without the least bit of hesitation, that he has no regrets in life.

1568. That he only ever remembers having one argument with Gramma in all those decades of marriage.

1569. How when we pack to visit Grampa, I catch Lucy strapping Myra Rose into her suitcase.

1570. The pleasant surprise that my uncle ends up at Grampa's cabin too, and we see him after years and years.

1571. How on the car ride home Jack demands, "Lulie why'd you poke me in the eye to wake me up?" and Janie pipes in, "She probably did it because she loves you so much and wanted to be with you."

1571. Rosie-Posie with her red curls in two of the stubbiest little ponytails you ever did see.

1572. How the kids and I volunteer in Craig's class, and Jack comments that the best part for him is being with Jane.

1573. Jack's proud announcement to one of our dear friends, "Halloween's the Devil's birthday."

1573. A fire in the fireplace, a good book, and a little girl waiting for me to come sit by the fire and read.

1574. The trickle of notes from my parents now in Ethiopia, their continued safety.

1575. A miracle, how I feel our baby move inside of me.

1576. An afternoon on the farm with family.

1577. How all the cousins play The Boxcar Children and Craig and his brother make us laugh until our sides hurt.

1578. How even though we can't stay for dinner, Craig's mom has soup waiting in the wings in case we might be hungry -- the epitome of a giving person.

1579. How my brother stops by after a meeting in our neck of the woods and has afternoon coffee with us. How it's just like old times.

1580. How I'm learning to give the next good thing in front of me.

1581. How it's almost always the right thing.

holy     experience


Alisa said...

Your thankfuls are always a wonderful way to start my week. #1561... I am going to work on that. I hope you enjoy your week!

Melissa @ a time for everything said...

"How I'm learning to give the next good thing in front of me."

That one nailed me right between the eyes. I've been feeling convicted (and it was confirmed by my children this weekend, without my even asking) that I say "No" far too often. I withhold good things for no good reason.

I love the way you put it. I may make myself something pretty to place in my line of sight that says "Give the next good thing."

ells said...

Hi neighbor...great list...this made me smile#1554...out of the mouth of babes#1561...and to look back with no regrets...great list..sweet pics...
Have a blessed day...

CDJ said...

I thouroughly enjoyed your gratitude the first time I visited - weeks ago. (I only have time to read a couple, and since that first week, I've returned to yours. Now every Monday morning is brightened by your honesty and giftedness. You are a blessing!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what I enjoy more ... your thankful list or the actual post ... both make me smile.

Amy said...

Bethany, there's something so sweet about your heart of thankfulness sprawled right out here for us all to See--your words make my eyes well up Every. Time. Such raw beauty.

I peeked to last week, as my life had me focused on my own story, and visited the site of your family pictures. Again, I welled up. Your heart is sprawled out there, too. (and your first I couldn't imagine that you could really feel the babe's movements yet with your belly so small, and then another picture and I see--such beautiful babe growing in there! So beautiful. Truly.)

my name is kimberley said...

always, *always* the sweetest and brightest of beauty in your thanks.

Deborah said...

Joining you from Multitudes on Mondays. Loved your sweet list, especially the ones with "grandpa". Thanks for sharing your blessings.

Nacole said...

beautiful, sweet thank you's this week, Bethany. just stopping over from Ann's. i especially liked Jane asking you to stop listening to the guy and enjoy them like they enjoy you. children are so insightful--way more than we know. and the sentences--did you have her to write sentences for discipline? this may be a good tool for me to use with my oldest.

loved reading this.

blessings in His grace,


Craig and Bethany said...


Actually the sentences were part of Jane's regular school work. We've had a showdown over the course of a couple of weeks about procrastinating and being easily distracted. Since my husband and I have decided to teach the kids to focus and be single-minded just like any other skill, we made a big deal about it. The discipline was a separate event.

Writing sentences for discipline is a great idea though. :) As long as it's distasteful and makes a permanent and immediate memory!

Keisha Valentina said...

Oh Bethany...
Such beauty here.

emily wierenga said...

i agree with the last comment. such beauty here. your children... they are so wise, already, and those photos... they say a thousand words.