Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hangman's Corner

Yesterday I watched my good friend's three children while she ran to Green Bay to get her van repaired. Tammy is one of my best friends, and she watches Mia whenever I ask, so of course I said yes when she asked. I had a really rough weekend painwise, and when I woke up yesterday, I wasn't feeling much better. But Tammy was only going to be gone from 9 until 1, and Molly was home until noon, so I thought it wouldn't be a big deal. Tammy's kids are Patrick, 5-1/2, Megan, 3 1/2, and Jamie, 2. All adorable blonds with huge blue eyes. I did what I could, but Molly really took charge in the morning, but after I dropped her off at camp, it was just me and four kids. Around 12:30, I started letting the kids know it was time to clean up, because their mom would be home soon. But at 12:47, Tammy called: the repair service hadn't even started on her van yet. So, we had lunch, watched the beginning of about four different movies, dressed everyone (even Patrick) up as fairies, and had a tea party.

I absolutely admire moms who have more than two children: I couldn't do it myself, and God bless Tammy who is a single mom with three! By the time she called at 3:10 to say she was on her way home, I was exhausted and hanging to my sanity by a single thread. None of the kids were naughty, it's just that there were so many of them! I was outgunned and outmanned, and completely overwhelmed. But once she supplied the hope that an end was in sight, I rousted the kids up and had them clean up all of Mia's toys and got them redressed. I had planned on grocery shopping when they left, but didn't know if I could manage after my day. They left a little after 4:30 (with only one return trip to pick up a forgotten blankie), and Mia and I made it into the Falls to get the shopping done.

When the day was through, I was astounded at what I was able to do on a day when I hurt so badly. Every time that I thought I was going to fall down, God pulled me back up and gave me just enough energy to keep me moving. Sometimes it was only enough for five minutes more, other times longer, but He never failed me (or the kids) once. I learned a very valuable lesson yesterday: the Lord does not give me more than I can manage, and when it seems too much, He gives me the strength to pull through. It might not be as much as I would like, and it may not be easy, but He won't leave me alone, and for this I am so grateful. She received a blessing out of it too: because they didn't live up to their promise about timing to fix her van, they didn't charge her for the repair!

I am also grateful for Tammy's friendship, and the next time she asks me to watch her kids, I will definitely say yes, as long as I have back-up!

Hangman's Corner by Peter King is the first book in the Ned Parker, Hansom Cab Driver, mystery series. Ned is known by friends and colleagues alike as being unable to keep his nose out of everyone else's business. And being a hansom cab driver in Victorian England, he has a finger on the pulse of the city and a rare talent for observation. After picking up a strangely dressed passenger, Ned is brought in for questioning: the passenger has turned up dead. Another cabbie is fingered for the crime, so Ned alerts the 6000 cab drivers in London and starts the investigation himself. Ned is an extremely likable narrator: he doesn't fuss at lying or withholding evidence from the police (or cheating on his girlfriend), but he has a deep instinctual sense of right and wrong that forces him to keep searching for answers, even after his life is threatened, and then threatened again, and then again... With a girlfriend who is a wannabe actress on the fringes of society, Ned finds himself with an entrance into higher society, including brushing shoulders with the Prince of Wales. This jumping from the gritty slums of London to hobnobbing with royalty gives the book an extra charm. I certainly hope this first in the series won't be the last!

Please say some prayers for the Lawrenceson family. Tricia has been diagnosed with a form of cancer that can attack transplant patients. They are optimistic about the outcome, but could use some prayer for her healing and Gwyneth's continued health.