Monday, August 13, 2007

Breaking Free

I have a love/hate relationship with school shopping. I have the price of everything, but I love the sense of newness that comes with new clothes and shoes. It's like a big reset button on the year. New clothes, new shoes, new haircut, new outlook on life. God bless both of my kids. They've learned to shop in the clearance section and are happy with what we find. Each kid got a couple of more expensive items, but for the most part we shopped cheaply. Molly's excited about going into high school and the changes it will bring. Doogie's going into his junior year with a goal of getting all of his work turned in on time to bring up his GPA. We're looking at colleges, specifically UW-Superior for their biology program. Mia's just excited about school at all. She keeps going through her backpack trying to use the supplies I bought. She's already swiped one box of crayons and the paintbrush from her watercolors set. But what I love best about school shopping is walking through the supply aisles. All those empty notebooks just waiting to be filled. Tons of pens in different colors with comfy grips perfect for scribbling down stories and pictures and lists. Folders waiting for paper, binders to pretend that you are organized. I bought Mia two Strawberry Shortcake notebooks and a Tinkerbell set with folders, notebooks and pencils. Not because she needed any of it (she wasn't even along to ask for it). I just fell in love with them and had to buy them. I want to buy the notebooks for myself. I wish I had something to put inside the folders. I want to buy one of every pen just to see which one feels best in my hand. At this point, my kids all have more supplies than they need, just because I want to buy them and pretend that they are for me.

Breaking Free
by Lauraine Snelling is a powerful novel about the power of healing and forgiveness. Maggie Roberts is almost done with her stint in prison for a tragic accident when she joins a group to help rehabilitate horses who have been abused. She has kept her feeling locked inside of her for seven years not caring for anything or anybody to keep herself safe inside the prison walls. But when Breaking Free, a former racehorse, comes in for rehab, Maggie finds her shell cracking open at the abuse the horse has suffered. The pain she has faced helps her work with the horse as they both learn to trust again. Gil Winters would do anything for his son Eddie who has spina bifida and is in a wheelchair. Eddie falls in love with Breaking Free, and to everyone's surprise Gil finds himself buying the horse and agreeing to let Maggie live at their home and train it. The opening chapters of this book were striking with their stark images of Maggie's life in prison and the work the prisoners do with the horses. I am not a horse person, but even I found myself moved nearly to tears by the healing to and by the horses. Eddie's basset hound Bonnie also makes a strong impression (I'm practically ready to run out and adopt one myself). It is testimony to Snelling's writing that she manages to make even the animals vital characters to the story without sacrificing their nature. This story has much to offer: great drama, romance and a strong Christian theme of forgiveness.

I just started reading Cinderella Meets the Caveman by by Dr. David E. Clarke. It's a Christian guide to getting the boredom out of your marriage. The first paragraph was such a hoot, I ended up reading it out loud to Jesse last night. I love the books that get sent to me; this one will be a joy to read.