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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

little women and a good "piece of living"...

I have little girls, three of them to be exact. They are precious to me beyond words. I've been praying for them individually and specifically in recent days asking God to grant them protection, warm their hearts to his nudges, open their ears to his whispers, and soften their hearts to his Lordship.

I absolutely love being a father, but what is more, I relish the opportunity of being a father of "little women"! I love their kisses and hugs and the way they make eyes at me as the sole man in their lives (right now anyway!).

The other night, I was reading the classic book little women to them and in the beginning of the book the author took a moment to describe the "little women" that would fill almost plot line of this timeless narrative. As we read through these paragraphs, my girls lit up with joy and we talked about the descriptions of settings and the definitions of words together for almost 20 minutes together. There is hardly a more beautiful thing than laying in your bed with three little girls, reading them a book as they stare back and forth from the pages to the ceiling, and commenting on the nuances of how an author takes a simple thought and makes it come alive with fresh words.

This was the piece of writing we got hung up on from the book "Little Women". I couldn't help but feeling like I was living what I was reading in the very moment the words were moving across my lips...

"As young readers like to know 'how people look', we will take this moment to give them a little sketch of the four sisters, who sat knitting away in the twilight, while the December snow fell quietly without, and the fire crackled cheerfully within. It was a comfortable room, though the carpet was faded and the furniture very plain, for a good picture or two hung on the walls, books filled the recesses, chrysanthemums and Christmas roses bloomed in the windows, and a pleasant atmosphere of home peace pervaded it.

Margaret, the eldest of the four, was sixteen, and very pretty, being plump and fair, with large eyes, plenty of soft brown hair, a sweet mouth, and white hands, of which she was rather vain. Fifteen- year-old Jo was very tall, thin, and brown, and reminded one of a colt, for she never seemed to know what to do with her long limbs, which were very much in her way. She had a decided mouth, a comical nose, and sharp, gray eyes, which appeared to see everything, and were by turns fierce, funny, or thoughtful. Her long, thick hair was her one beauty, but it was usually bundled into a net, to be out of her way.

Round shoulders had Jo, big hands and feet, a flyaway look to her clothes, and the uncomfortable appearance of a girl who was rapidly shooting up into a woman and didn't like it.

Elizabeth, or Beth, as everyone called her, was a rosy, smooth- haired, bright-eyed girl of thirteen, with a shy manner, a timid voice, and a peaceful expression which was seldom disturbed. Her father called her 'Little Miss Tranquility', and the name suited her excellently, for she seemed to live in a happy world of her own, only venturing out to meet the few whom she trusted and loved. Amy, though the youngest, was a most important person, in her own opinion at least. A regular snow maiden, with blue eyes, and yellow hair curling on her shoulders, pale and slender, and always carrying herself like a young lady mindful of her manners. What the characters of the four sisters were we will leave to be found out."

What a beautiful piece of writing...but even how much more beautiful is the opportunity to live this. A piece of living is always better than a piece of writing. The phrase we talked about and laughed about the longest was...

"Round shoulders had Jo, big hands and feet, a flyaway look to her clothes, and the uncomfortable appearance of a girl who was rapidly shooting up into a woman and didn't like it."

I am watching my daughters "rapidly shoot up into women" and I don't like it one bit. And yet, as I get caught up in this piece of writing, I can't help but thank God for the "piece of living" I am caught up into even as I pen this blog. My wife, the girls she gave me, and the life I get to live is better than any book in the library.

And though I hate that they are shooting up into "little women", I am trying to savor the flavor of each "piece of living" as it's happening. This is surely one of life's finest feelings.

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