Monday, May 6, 2019

Every Purpose Under Heaven

Good Monday morning. 

Well, welcome to May blogging.

I'm going to begin today with a little writing roundup. I never know how often to shove things I've written in people's faces. If all of this is old news to you, I apologize. I've discovered there are people who don't check Facebook that often (&, believe it or not, there are people who do not even have a Facebook account), & they say things like, "Why didn't you tell me you'd published something with The Federalist? I had no idea." 

The thing is, I don't assume people have even heard of The Federalist. Found - - - > here, The Federalist is, according to their very own Twitter bio, "A web magazine of culture, entertainment, & politics." Their twitter handle is @FDRLST. I usually read several pieces they put out daily. They publish both praise & criticism of Trump. They regularly publish the thoughts of a handful of women who, like me, are primarily moms with young kids who also have thoughts on politics or culture from time to time &, thanks to the Internet, can self-actualize by churning out a thoughtful piece or two & sending it to The Federalist, thus reaching an audience larger than their handful of social media friends. I think they have a good thing going, & they've now published two pieces of mine that can be found - - - > here.

My most recent article was published last Tuesday. It focuses on the ways the public school system is filling in for mom & dad & why this trend is economically & socially bad news for America. Your guess is as good as mine as to what, if anything else, of mine they'll publish. I like their stuff on culture as much or more than their political commentary, so it is quite possible next time I need to vent about a book or a film I'll send that their way rather than taking to Facebook or this blog.

I did blog last Monday, & that can be found - - - > here. Last week's blog is about the nitty gritty of joining &/or forming a book club. Everyone thinks it's all fun & games, but the logistics of forming & maintaining a book club are sometimes tricky. I'm asked about the specifics of book club fairly often, & so I broke those down to the best of my ability last week.

A couple of weeks ago a young lady I taught at Delta many years ago was texting me to catch up on life, & she asked if I'd ever published the book I was writing. Her question made me feel like I haven't been overly obnoxious about promoting my writing. I will now point out, for those who were busy during the past Christmas season & may've missed this, that I wrote four additional Dear Miss Moreau chapters. These chapters pick up shortly after the book concludes. Links to each chapter can be found - - - > here. There's a static page linked at the top of the blog that will be there indefinitely. A link to each chapter can be found on that page. They're free to read, & honestly if it were me & I hadn't yet read them I would probably wait until Christmastime rolls around again because these chapters are set at Christmastime.

Well, that's quite enough links for the day. I have just a few other things to say this morning, & then I must begin what will be my last Monday sans children until August. Henry's last day of pre-K is this Thursday. Next Monday is Reagan's last day of school as a second grader, & that will be a busy day of awards in the morning & then Field Day in the afternoon; you may or may not hear from me next Monday.

A brief update on my desire to sell our house & move:

Recently I told you about a couple currently living in our neighborhood who expressed an interest in buying our house. They came over this past Friday morning & toured the house. Well, guess what? Despite it not being in tip-top shape when they toured the house, they love it. They even discussed price with me & asked if I'd leave my drapes. I know. Oh, I am going to cry typing this next part out. The thing is, despite an eager buyer literally showing up on our doorstep offering to buy the house despite no For Sale sign in the yard, Trey does not want to sell the house.

As you might guess, this makes me a little bit crazy. At this point I can't figure out if he *actually* is opposed to selling the house & moving or if we are so far down this road he is just determined to win this standoff. If I didn't think I was being practical & forward-thinking I'd back off. I do, however, think I am being incredibly practical & forward-thinking given that we currently live half an hour away from the school the kids will, the Lord willing, attend until Henry graduates high school in about thirteen years.

For example, as soon as I finish typing & posting this blog, I have to fill out forms for summer camps the kids want to attend at their school in late May, camps that begin at eight o'clock in the morning (meaning we must be in the car by seven-thirty). What I want is to take my kids to their camp at school & then GO BACK TO MY HOUSE that is five minutes away where I can sip coffee & maybe make the beds & do laundry until it is time to pick the kids up. If the house is a few minutes away from the school, I can have peace leaving Reagan at the school knowing I am five minutes away (doing productive things at home) should I need to return quickly for some reason related to her always-fragile health. When the house is thirty minutes away, returning home is not an option for a variety of reasons. If a trip to the house must be made for some reason, it takes a full hour round trip. I could give you a hundred other examples, but I won't. I really can't talk about this anymore because even my naturally low blood pressure has its limits.

The last thing I want to share today as I take deep breaths & attempt to calm down is that on May 4, 2010, I made a lasagna. Fascinating, right? This past Saturday was May 4. It occurred to me as I was falling asleep Saturday night that a dear high school friend of mine who died when he was twenty-five would have turned forty on Saturday. He was born May 4, 1979, the same day Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister.

On May 4, 2010, I was a few weeks pregnant with Reagan. No one but Trey & a handful of people at my doctor's office knew I was pregnant. I made a lasagna that day. I can still remember the waves of nausea that hit me when I was handling the raw ground beef, but I really wanted lasagna, & so I persevered. At some point during the lasagna-making process my mom texted to let me know my grandmother, her mother, had died. I know a text about a matter of that sort seems odd, but her death was not unexpected at that point. I remember standing in the kitchen in our former house & thinking to myself that she died on my deceased friend's birthday, & she died not knowing I was carrying my first child. All of those memories come back to me every May 4.

There are dates on the calendar that have no significance whatsoever to me, & there are dates that are heavy with memories & meaning. Reagan was born on my dad's birthday. Henry was born on D-Day, & last summer we buried my paternal grandmother on June 6, Henry's fifth birthday. In February of 2013 Trey's grandfather, the original Donald Henry Zeigler, died while I was carrying Henry. I do wonder if these little overlaps on the calendar are not the Lord's way of keeping these words in Ecclesiastes ever before my mind:

To everything there is a season, 
A time for every purpose under Heaven:

A time to be born, 
And a time to die;
A time to plant, 
And a time to pluck what is planted;

A time to kill, 
And a time to heal;
A time to break down, 
And a time to build up;

A time to weep, 
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, 
And a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing; 

A time to gain, 
And a time to lose;
A time to keep, 
And a time to throw away;

A time to tear, 
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, 
And a time to speak;

A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace. 

That of course is from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Any error in the verses is mine as I typed all that out rather than copying & pasting it. I made myself type it out because that way I watched every word appear on the screen as I pecked away; I thought about every word. There's a benefit to that. It's one reason I read books rather than listen to audiobooks. It is fine if audiobooks are your thing, but they are just not my thing. I want to see the words.

Anyway, my point, obviously, is that there is a time for everything, & now it is time for my family of four to sell our house & move closer to the children's school. Oh, I kid. Sort of.

I did think about these verses this past Saturday as I likely will every May 4 for the remainder of my life. It is quite something to be pregnant with a child & attend the funeral of that child's great-grandparent or to bury your grandmother & celebrate your son's birthday all on the same day. These are days on which you feel the weight of eternity viscerally, days on which you truly grasp the verses that remind us from dust we came, & to dust we will return.

We are now in the season of graduations. The school year is coming to an end. I always think about The Great Gatsby this time of year. The novel opens right about now as summer's heat teases the residents of East & West Egg. The action rises with the temperature. The climax of the novel, we are told, occurs on the hottest day of the year. Fitzgerald's use of weather is absolutely purposeful & masterful. When fall arrives, offering some respite from the oppressive weather, so many lives have been shattered.

There is so much I could say about The Great Gatsby, but for now I'll just say that it is, among other things, a warning about continuing to move, not wallowing in the past, & weathering the hard seasons with grace & fortitude & wisdom. I think high school seniors ought to read the passages from Ecclesiastes I've quoted as well as Gatsby right before they graduate as reminders to carry their memories with them, to allow their memories to comfort them in dark seasons, but to keep moving ahead rather than clamor foolishly for the past, for what will never be again. These are thoughts I had in May of 2010 when I stood, a little bit pregnant with Reagan & very emotional, beside my grandmother's casket.

I suppose this is sort of an odd mash-up of topics I've left you with today. As always, ignore &/or roll your eyes at what doesn't interest you. If you don't think it's too ridiculous a request, please say a prayer that this moving/not moving matter will be resolved in a way that satisfies both of my children's parents.

I hope May is off to a great start for you. If you've never read it, this is the perfect month to read The Great Gatsby. Read Gatsby now, & then on June 22 begin reading The Bronze Horseman, which opens on June 22, 1941, the day Hitler invaded the Soviet Union & the day Tatiana meets Alexander. Friday night I had a lovely message in my Facebook inbox from a friend who recently, on my suggestion, read the whole series: The Bronze Horseman, Tatiana and Alexander, & The Summer Garden. It makes me immensely happy when people read & love books I've suggested. I am like a matchmaker except instead of helping people find other people with whom they are compatible I help readers find books they love . . . & let's be honest, that's almost the same thing.

I am not sure when I'll next blog as next Monday promises complete mayhem, but I'll return at some point, the Lord willing, & it will officially be summer in the Zeigler household. I have mixed feelings about summer. To be continued.


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