Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Autumn Blue

Couple of snapshots of my life. Some people talk about a small town being one of around 20,000 or so. I live in a truly small town. My mom called and asked me to pick up a prescription for my little brother. I put Mia in the van, and we ran to the Falls. The pharmacist, who just happens to be my cousin, grabbed the prescription and put it on the table for checking out while we caught up with each other's families. Doogie's best girl friend was checking out on one register, and we exchanged smiles while I checked out at the other one. The clerk handed me a note saying that Molly wanted me to call her at Lindsey's, her best friend's. The local pharmacy takes messages for its customers. That to me is the definition of a small town.

On the way home, Mia asked me what trees are. That's one of those big questions that I stuttered before answering that they are made of wood and make things like houses, chairs, and her bed. To which my 4-year-old emphatically stated, "I don't believe that at all!" I tried to start over with my explanation, but she said, "Mommy, trees can't make any of those things. They don't have hands!"

Today I went to a concert at the high school of the high school and middle school bands and choirs. It was performed for the elementary students to encourage them to participate in music when they get older. It was a terrific show, and I'm so glad I went. I did the typical proud mom thing, looking around the stage with a smile on my face and my chin up as I searched for my two kids. Molly found me fairly quickly and made brief eye contact before returning to giggling with Lindsey. I could see Doogie looking for me for quite awhile before he finally found me, just as he was about to start singing. A huge smile spread across his face, and we had to look away from each other, because he was about to start laughing. I love the fact that even though he's almost 16, he's still happy to see me, and I can make him smile.

Autumn Blue by Karen Harter is what every Christian fiction book should aspire to be. It's a terrific story about life that has a couple of characters talk about or think about God with no sermons or preaching. Sidney Walker feels lost. Her son Ty truly is lost; he's been missing for several days after being caught shoplifting from the local grocery store. Sidney is struggling to take care of her three children all on her own. Millard Bradbury, her elderly neighbor, is filling his days with crossword puzzles and visits from his busy daughter. Through a series of circumstances, Millard ends up babysitting for Ty while Sidney is at work, and everyone's lives are changed by what comes next. Harter creates believable characters filled with flaws and smart dialogue. When police officer Alex Estrada enters the scene, the reader can't help but relate to Sidney's anger and frustration at his condescending attitude. The book is filled with gentle lessons: how we pray to God for solutions, and then take the situation in our own hands rather than wait on him; how our head and our heart can want two completely different things, how our elderly still have much to offer if the opportunity is given, how anger and regret can fill us up until we have nothing to give the world but anger. Harter's description of a small town is dead-on, and the character's growth is realistic. What the book shows best without shoving it down the reader's throat is how God makes all things work to his purpose.

If you check the time on this post, you can see that my insomnia is back. I'm seeing the doctor next Thursday about it, but until then, it's up til 1 am at least.

So what do you think of the new layout? Send me an email, or post a comment; I'd love to hear!