Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sunshine and Libraries

Just down the street from us, they tore down an old church and built a new library. I'd like to be mad about the cool old building being demolished, but instead I am grateful. Rows of gleaming new books fill me with something akin to glee. I drag Caden there as soon as it opens, and insist he narrows his book selection down to seven. I am hoping this will cut down on the number of books we lose, and even make our inevitable late fees easier to manage.

I've decided this gorgeous new library will be my new happy place. Although I already have a stack of books too high to read, I add a few more each time I peruse the shelves. A case of my eyes being bigger than my stomach, or rather bigger than the amount of time I have to read.

Since deciding to write every day this month, 30 minutes butt in chair, I inevitably need someplace to go where my children aren't clambering all over me and begging me to watch them perform something or another (not that I don't love that, obviously). And the library is perfect, seeing as it's approximately two minutes away. I'm satisfied to see most of the computer work stations filled with folks from the neighborhood, gratified they have a place to look for jobs, pay bills, or just enjoy the simple pleasures and time-suck of the world-wide-web.

I am distracted by the titles I can see from my desk, rows and rows of books shiny and unbent. And the librarian tells me gleefully that it's just the beginning, more and more new books will be arriving every day. We share an excited glance, one only book-lovers could understand. I wander through the new teen room, wondering why the kids tucked into chairs here aren't in school. The children's section is colorful and hosts more books than anyone could ever read. Caden grabs Curious George by the handful, and a princess treasury for Jayci. I try to steer him towards more literary choices, ones with shiny medals on their covers, but he is uninterested unless it involves superheroes (who he calls "mean guys" because of the expression on their faces), or cartoon characters. I sigh, and think to myself that next time I should bring Jayci. She needs more books to read under her covers at night anyways.

The sun came out today and already everything feels infinitely brighter. Like all the pretty has come out to play. Caden and his bff Jay tromp through the mud, and Isaiah babbles while staring up at the tree leaves waving against bright blue sky. I grin and snap pictures, certain my baby is the cutest in all the land, even though he was up from 3am-4am last night, which is not ideal.

If finding the pretty in the gritty means counting blessings, today my numbers are high. Sunshine and time to sneak away alone. Wise friends and carpools so I don't have to drive to school. New libraries and book stacks. Gymnastics for Jayci and finally finding a basketball team that lets four year olds play for Caden. Naps with cute babies and open windows, a latte on the front porch while middle schoolers wait for the bus.
I list them in my journal too, scrawling by hand the things I'm grateful for. The things I'm bound to forget when bedtime rolls around and the children refuse to stay quiet in their bunks.

Kids start trickling into the library with school uniforms, hooded sweatshirts, and backpacks dragging behind. The noise level rises significantly, and I smile because I love being a part of my vibrant neighborhood, even (or maybe especially) when it's loud.

This is day four in a 31 day series Finding the Pretty in the Gritty. Each day this month, I'll be writing on how I am finding pretty, even when things are gritty. Click here for a list of all the posts in the series. Or if you want to make sure you don't miss a day, feel free to subscribe (link on the right).


  1. OH MY GOSH. I LOVE LIBRARIES. And blog posts about libraries. We're dreaming of a way to build a library here in Cambodia. Sigh... xoxoxo

  2. I may have never met you before, your blog was shared on Facebook, but I thank you for sharing your heart so beautifully. I too have a newborn and a 3 year old and I can assure you that God had used your talents and ministry to reach my heart as your words have encouraged me greatly . Thanks for continuing to be obedient to your call of ministry! We tired and emotionally spent mothers appreciate you!

  3. Oh! I am so excited about a new library. I love libraries. I am always begging the kids I work with to visit with me. I am afraid Philly is going to close some branches soon and it makes me sad.


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