Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Molly and I are still going strong with our Molly and Mommy Mega Mania Miraculous Magical Read Aloud streak. Today is the 206th day of the streak and we have read 13 books together and I don't see it stopping any time soon. Last night we started the fourth Mary Poppins book, Mary Poppins in the Park and then Molly wants me to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  She has a plan.

The last book we finished was A Snicker of Magic and I do have to say, I really love this book. 

Here is the book description on Natalie Lloyd's website.

Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.

But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck's about to change. A "word collector," Felicity sees words everywhere---shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog's floppy ears---but Midnight Gulch is the first place she's ever seen the word "home." And then there's Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity's never seen before, words that make Felicity's heart beat a little faster.

Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she'll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that's been cast over the town . . . and her mother's broken heart.

It's a great story with lots of colorful characters. One that stood out to me though was Florentine. Florentine carries around her heavy burdens, literally. She walks with a heavy bag that holds all her burdens. In chapter 14 we learn Florentine's story, how when she was a kid the only place she wanted to be was up in a tree and read herself a good story. The story words were the only things that steadied her soul. But then she had to go out into the big wide world to find her own story. But the family had burdens. Florentine's grandmother kept these burdens in a cupboard. She said that the burdens kept the family safe but they also make you heavyhearted. 

Women in this family been carrying those burdens for years. They'll surely keep you safe, that I know. But they make you so heavyhearted that you won't even want to open your eyes some mornings. That's strange magic you're taking with you. Sad magic.

The burdens will keep you safe, but they will make you heavyhearted. 

This idea stayed with me. In the story, the burdens kept them safe when a tornado came through and everything around them was destroyed except for their house. They said it was the magic of the burdens in the cupboard. But then as I continued to read the story to Molly. I kept thinking about why people hold on to their burdens. Do we think they keep us safe in some strange way? Do we use our burdens as an excuse to not move forward? To not find new adventures? To not open our hearts to new people? 

We all have "stuff" that happens to us. And when it does, good or bad, it's how we handle it that counts. We can drag that bag of burdens around with us, slowing us down, making us tired, draining our energy, and making us feel heavyhearted. Or we can chose to look at things differently. 

Chris and Ryan were in a car accident this past weekend. We had driven the day before for 15 hours from Florida on our way home from spring break. The next day we slept in, but if we got the pups from the kennel before 12:00 noon, we didn't have to pay for the next day. Chris left at 11:25. At 11:30, I got a phone call from him to come and get him and Ryan. They had gotten in an accident not even half a mile away from our house. 

"Come and get us. We were in an accident. A pretty bad one, but we are okay. The car is not."

I was there in a heartbeat. Three cars were involved. One of the cars was just sitting at a red light. The woman wasn't even moving when another car came smashing into her. After Chris and Ryan were taken to the hospital in the ambulance, I waited at the corner of the accident. I emptied any important stuff from the van before it was towed away. I waited for the police officer to finish his report. And I processed what just happened and how lucky everyone in the accident was. 

Yesterday a friend sent me a podcast from the Easter sermon from her church. In it, he talks about the challenge flag in football and how this gives a team an opportunity to have the officials review the video of a play from different angles. They take time to review. Different angles give us different perspectives. What one person perceives from where he or she stands, may not be the same from a different angle. After the officials review the video, they usually make an announcement starting with the words, "Upon further review…" 

When Chris had his accident, there were witnesses. Each person had there own perception of what happened. The police officer talked to everyone, gathered their accounts and "upon further review" decided what had happened.

 But as I was waiting for the police officer to give me back my registration and Chris' drivers license, I was talking to the woman who was sitting at the red light when her car was hit. She wasn't even moving when her car got hit. She reminded me of Florentine from A Snicker of Magic. I could almost see her bag of burdens that she was carrying around. I could see it weighing her down. She told me that she was a single mom. That her car was paid off. That she couldn't afford to buy another one. That she didn't go away with her boys on break and that they were going to spend the last two days together but then this happened. I could feel her burdens and I just wanted to help her with them.

 At first review of that day, it sucked! Really! But if you throw the challenge flag out, and ask to take the time to review the situation, it's not that bad.

Upon further review:

1. No one was hurt! I could stop right here on this one, but really, amazingly, no one was hurt.

Upon further review: 

2. Chris could have been driving his new car which would have sucked for him but also, the nose of my van is much lower to the ground than his Jeep and that might of been a lot worse for the guy in the other car. 

Upon further review:

3. Shannon could have been in the car and with her spleen being enlarged from having mono, that could have caused it to rupture.

Upon further review:

4. No one was sitting in the passenger seat of the car Chris hit.

Upon further review:

5. We could have had an accident the day before on our 15 hour trip home from Florida and got stuck somewhere far away from home.

Upon further review:

6. Chris could have been on his way back from getting the dogs instead of on his way to getting them and they would have been thrown around the car and gotten hurt.

We all have our burdens, some of us have more than others. But if we just pause once in a while and look at the situation from different angles, then maybe all those burdens that we are carrying around really aren't so heavy. 

Upon further review…

I'll always think of these words now when I watch a football game with new meaning.

You can listen to the podcast of the sermon here. It's the one from Easter.

And did Florentine ever lay her bag burdens down? Well, I guess you'll just have to read the book.

Molly and I read Because of Winn Dixie right before we read A Snicker of Magic. Dave Matthews is in the movie and at the end of the movie, they are all singing this song. Here's Dave Matthews singing it at a concert.

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