"Why I was reading Proverbs," Lucy says, "was because I was getting angry and I was like what book could I read that is about the stuff that Proverbs is about?" Lucy nods as she talks. She smooths a hand over the crinkly pages of my Bible, the hand-me-down Bible.
She points at verses underlined in seven-year-old squiggle and bracketed. My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, I read. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. I smile at her.
She strokes the tissue thin paper. Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. I read another section bracketed in her scrawl. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
I read on. Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow" -- when you now have it with you.
I scan to another section, The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous. He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble. The wise inherit honor, but fools he holds up to shame.
"That is really good," I say.
"Dad asked in his class what you can do if you need to get more energy," she says. "And one kid was like, Eat carrots. And another kid said, Drink energy drinks. And another said, Eat energy bars." She nods, snickers. "And another kid said, Sleep. And Dad was like, There's still ONE more," she says. "And it was READING your Bible."
"Huh," I say. "That's good."
"I didn't have time to read my Bible before I ran so I just decided to do it now," she says, "because then it will be lunch and then school and dinner and bed, and I didn't want it to get pushed to the end of the day."
"That's a good idea," I say. "I'm glad. Reading the Bible is how you KNOW God, and that's the only thing that REALLY matters."
"What were those verses again," I say. "I want to write them down."
"Here," she says. She flops the book open. "What I do, 'cause I don't have a bookmark in, is I find Psalms, and it's right after it. See." She points. "Here."
I gather the fluttery pages, trace the words with my eyes. Wisdom, the antithesis of anger -- how did I miss this?
5712. "Listen to this," Jane says. She presses play on a small voice recorder. Joey's voice starts. "Today I'm going to tell you about the pilgrims," he says. Jane laughs. It's the beginning of her speech.
5713. New boots! A gift, so sweet on such a snowy year.
5714. I pick up again a log cabin quilt I started last winter. Tiny pieces cut to size, one small miscalculation, and a trip to the fabric store --the quilt expands.
5715. The children chatter with their cousins over coins and stamps and all things collectable.
5716. Lucy sells me a dishcloth she knit, one project of many to earn money for the coin collection.
5717. We continue to learn hymns on the piano and even find ourselves humming them as we work.
5718. We continue to plug away at organizing the house. The upward climb to organization defies gravity with a group of eight.
5719. "Now, choking hazards won't be here," Joe says as he finishes vacuuming the kitchen.
5720. We try to measure our world in small victories. We note again how hard work gives restful sleep.
5721. Craig continues to bless me with good humor and compelling perspective.
5722. Each day we like our path, the small world of our family, and the tasks at hand more and more.