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Breaking news . . . after so many years without sleep, I just have to say how easy life has suddenly become . . . and not only at night.  This week I noticed a rather unnerving calm in our house . . . nobody crying, no up-all-night, no clinging to mama all day long . . . and I didn't even have to pay for it with every puzzle box upturned or baby lotion coating the bathroom.  The girls are all in a sweet and hilarious phase.  I laugh a thousand times a day. 

The Shaping of a Life
My criticism of most memoirs is that they are twice as long as they need to be.  This one was different, it was four times longer than it needed to be.  I like Tickle's approach to life, and there were some interesting chapters, but I plowed through the last half of this book (skimming) out of shear determination to get. it. done.  Even the editor must have been bored by the end because one paragraph repeated itself entirely in the last chapter.

I was hoping to learn how Tickle managed to balance her family of seven children with her career and writing, but this book only traced her "shaping" years- the years leading up to her family life.  I liked her Farm at Lucy series, and I plan to read The Divine Hours next, but this one tested my endurance.

Here is one paragraph that made it worth it . . . kinda.
It was in Pelzer that I first learned to trust and record without requiring a prior understanding or a logical cohesion.  Whatever else that may mean or imply, it means first and primarily that my mind and will had at last been honed enough to recognize and engage the commerce of the interior life; it means the mind and will alike had learned to barter and tithe, buy and sell, the goods of the body; it means that mind and will were at last selecting for themselves which merchants in the spirit's world were to be trusted and in which stores to shop.  It means that youth was almost done.

In which I reject the temptation of negative definition of the kingdom of God
And I think that the Kingdom is every good and perfect moment in our life serving as a taste, just a small taste, of what God truly intended. It's making your tinies laugh. It's sleeping babes curled into their mother's breast and the heft of holding another soul. It's silent nights of snow and cold water in your throat on a hot day. It's wisdom and beauty, peace, love and joy and then it's also good coffee and real food, late afternoon sun and handmade quilts. It's the renewal of morning and the intimacy of night.





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