Reading Together, a Novel Priority

It seems that anything is possible over coffee in a quiet cafe.

Even studying a biography 600+ pages long by three mothers whose combined progeny number fourteen.  Fourteen souls to care for, wash for, cook for, run about for, and yet, three mothers laid aside a portion of time, of energy, of brain, to read and discuss together.

When you’re in the thick of it, in the swirl of parenting young children, a coffee with adults is luxurious.  Add to it conversations of depth, on history, theology, politics, and it becomes downright heavenly.

We are reading Eric Metaxas’s biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor who plotted to assassinate Hitler, eventually dying in a concentration camp.  There is so much to respond to, so much to think over, and it’s a true gift to do so with friends.

Most of my day is spent in cooking, feeding, and cleaning up from cooking and feeding, peppered with laundry and reversing the chaos of toys wrought by my toddlers.  I find myself ever so grateful to add the discipline of study and reflection into my duties; it has become a priority, and this is due to the ladies who have banded together with me.  We are happily obliged to one another to keep up, keep going forward; make reading an important task, which clearly, it is.


Free Fats Are My Love Language

On the dining room table, on the top of a bookshelf, on my desk, and in a corner of the living room.  The soaps, dutifully curing, are taking over my home, surface by surface!  Last night we made a 100% lard soap, lightly scented with peppermint essential oil.  We jokingly call it the “Winter Minter”, and it’s such a corny, ridiculous name that it just might stick.  It looked like heavy cream going into the mold and my soaping partner and I sighed delightedly.

Today my husband is picking up two pig’s worth of lard from a friend who heard we’re making soap and offered her bounty to us.  Another friend offered us suet from his butcher shop to render tallow.  People giving us free fat is like winning the lottery!!  I’m so grateful!

Tomorrow we harvest our honey with my husband’s cousin and his wife.  It’ll be quite gratifying to see that sweet liquid gold come pouring out of the extractor.  So, basically, I’m all about sugar and fat while still being regarded widely as something of a health nut.  Smile.

On the reading front I’m working my way through “A Short History of Byzantium” by John Julius Norwich and “Common Ground:  An Introduction to Eastern Christianity for the American Christian” by Jordan Bajis.  What a blessing to have such depths of information at our very fingertips.  And they go so well with mustard pretzels.  I digress.

Morning light is pouring across the goat milk tea tree soaps, pouring in and saying that it’s probably time to get out of my pajamas and out of my reverie.  Time to head out in search of olive oil for an upcoming chamomile baby soap for my dear wee ones.  Time to wash the diapers and pull some meat out of the freezer, and in general, make this home hum with life-giving activity.  But I’ll let that creeping sunshine have a few more minutes of my sleepy-eyed wonder.