Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Believer

Today I had one of those moments that made me realize just how amazing my daughter really is. I picked Molly up from work last night, and as much as I hate to admit it, we've been fighting since she walked in the door. Lots of subjects: ignoring her little sister, school clothes, yearbook photo, cleaning her room, etc. I hate weekends like this, because I've missed her all week. I don't want to spend the weekend arguing with her, and I know she doesn't either, but we can't seem to help ourselves.

An ongoing fight has been over school shopping. Mia received a whole new wardrobe because she shot up 2-1/2" and outgrew nearly every item in her closet this summer. Molly's still her sweet little size 4, but wants equal treatment, and no amount of motherly logic seems to work.

She sorted through her closet and dresser, getting rid of two garbage bags of clothing that doesn't fit/isn't the right style/was purchased by well-meaning grandmothers. We both went through the remaining items to determine what she really did need for school. She was seriously disappointed with my verdict of socks, underwear, and maybe two pairs of jeans.

After all of the drama, I sat down at my laptop to take a breather, and I see in my email a notification from Facebook: Molly Kallies has tagged you in a photo. I was a little confused, but clicked to see it. It was one of those Facebook photos made up of 12 different blocks of descriptions (your best friend, best smile, nice hair, etc) that teens tag with the names of the person they think fits each description. I put my mouse over each square interested to see who Molly matched to each (I agree, Deanna Rybka does have the best hair!), but I didn't find my name until the bottom block which was labeled "the prettiest girl I know." My heart locked in my throat and my eyes immediately filled with tears. I was stunned; my 16 year old beauty, who hangs labeled me the prettiest girl she knows in front of all of her friends.

I haven't even been able to tell her thank you or give her a hug, I'm just so moved by her sweetness. Especially when I think that while she was putting up that pic on Facebook I was nagging her to finish her room. (Just two more pictures Mom, hang on!) It was a greatly needed blessing today. Maybe I'll spring for three pair of jeans after all.

The Believer by Ann Gabhart is the second novel by the author about the Shaker community in 19th century Kentucky. Elizabeth Duncan's world has crashed around her. Her father died suddenly, leaving her to care for her brother and sister alone, with no way of providing for them, except for the sinister offer of marriage from their landlord. Her father had talked often of a Shaker community a couple of days journey away, about the peace he found there and how they would take in anyone asking for help. Rather than marry the odious landlord, Elizabeth and her siblings travel to Harmony Hill seeking shelter and safety through the winter. Before she even sets foot in the small town, Ethan, a member of the community, is struck by her beauty. Despite both of their attempts, circumstances continue to force them together making it more and more difficult to disguise the growing feelings inside that run contrary to everything the Shakers believe in. I was unfamiliar with the Shakers, but Gabhart portrays their communal lifestyle with an even hand. The community makes beautiful furniture and is well-known for their seeds and herbal medicines. Their fierce devotion to celibacy and isolation from the world made them vulnerable to Pharisaical leaders. Gabhart really makes this entire community come to life, but the true star of the book is Elizabeth and Ethan's romance. Elizabeth makes some unexpected choices that make this book stand far above most historical romances. I really loved this terrific book.

This morning Jesse, Mia, and I went to a free rummage sale. Yes, everything really was free! I picked up a few things for Mom and I to sell on eBay, like a reverse painted picture of the Statue of Liberty in a big old oval frame, a Munising wooden bowl, Fire King mugs, and a complete baby afghan's worth of granny squares. The squares just have to be sewn together, and the pattern is a very pretty pink and burgundy. All for free! Plus they had face-painting and balloon animals for kids. Mia was made into an adorable bunny, complete with ears they attached to her headband.