Friday, March 30, 2012

April Fools Around the Table

My dad is a good sport.

I guess that's why we played so many April Fool's jokes on him around our table when we were growing up.

The "Blueberry" Pancake
One year near the end of March I was making chocolate chip cookies with my mother. When I got to the last bit of dough I asked if I could make a giant cookie. (I think I had gotten tired of making little dollops.) My mother said yes, so I spread the dough out in a large circle, about 6 inches in diameter.

When the cookie was done we thought it looked like a blueberry pancake and I said we should give it to dad on April Fools morning for his pancake while the rest of us had blueberry pancakes--always a favorite of mine.

As Dad cut into his "pancake" that morning he commented that it was a very tough pancake. When he took a bite, a surprised look came on his face and my brother and I could finally let our giggles out as we shouted, "April Fool's!" 

Dad smiled and was happy to get a real blueberry pancake after scraping the cookie into the trash.

The "Soft Boiled" Egg
One year I had the "great" idea to give Dad a raw egg for his breakfast in an egg cup instead of a soft boiled egg. I came downstairs early to "help" Mom get Dad's breakfast. She put four eggs into the boiling water and I said with alarm, "No, no! Dad's egg is supposed to be raw!" She rightly said, "If it's cold to touch, he'll know something is wrong."

When Dad came down the eggs were all in the cups on our plates. After giving thanks my brother and I watched Dad carefully. He almost started to whack off the top when he stopped to butter his toast and then took a sip of his orange juice. Wasn't he ever going to break the egg?

When he took a sip of coffee, I broke. "Daddy, aren't you going to open your egg?"

He looked at me and asked, "What's wrong with my egg? Is it hard boiled?" My brother and I couldn't hold the laughter in any more and I told him it was raw. "April Fool's!" At this point Mom produced a soft boiled egg all ready for him. "You were acting too suspicious for me to break my egg," he told us.

The Heated "Syrup"
One day when pouring some tea I commented that it looked like hot maple syrup. That's when I got another great idea: put hot tea in a pitcher and say we had heated the syrup!

Our patient Dad was again on the receiving end of this joke. We had pancakes for our April 1 breakfast--real pancakes! On the table were two little pitchers with syrup. One had syrup, the other had tea. Excitedly we said that we had heated syrup this morning. We were careful to act like nothing was unusual, but also to be sure we used the real syrup while we waited for Dad to butter his pancakes and, finally, pour syrup over them.

"Boy this syrup is runny!" Dad commented. Before he could even take a bite, we burst into giggles again and said, "April Fool's!" As Dad scraped his pancakes into the garbage and reloaded his plate he commented, "I should have known something was up, we never have heated syrup!"

So I guess if I make pancakes this Sunday morning, my kids better beware!

How about you? Have you done a great April Fool's Day joke to someone at your table? Or do you have one planned? Write to me about it here and I won't tell--till after April 1!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How to Get Teenagers to Talk

My friend Peggy, from Washington state, says that when their boys were young teens "They had a habit of bolting down food and then saying, 'C'nibescuzed?'  My husband would always reply,  'No.  You can sit here and entertain us with bright conversation.'"
Is that a problem in your house? I think it is in most homes with teens. We've had teenagers for the last thirteen years and have three more years to go, so we've learned a few things about getting teens to talk. Here are some of the things we have done that have worked.

1. Listen without Criticism
Okay, so we haven't done a great job on this, but we are [still] learning. If you get them to express their thoughts, don't jump in and refute or tear down. It's amazing how often they perceive what we say as criticism. And who wants to talk to someone who just picks apart their every opinion?

2. Be a Student of Your Teen's Interests
Because my husband is interested in airplanes and airlines, our sons developed the same interest. Whenever I flew somewhere alone one of them was sure to ask, "What kind of plane did you fly on?" My answer: "Um, two wings and enough engines to get us there." You can be sure that didn't win points.

Then I discovered that that safety card they always tell you to look at tells you what kind of plane you are on. So I made sure to memorize that and to take a minute to look around at the seat configuration--was it two on the left, three on the right, or a wide-body with two-four-two? 

I also listened more closely when the news had something about airplanes--a crash, a new plane unveiled, an airline merger. Anything thing that they would be interested in. That way I had something to ask them about. "Did you see the unveiling of the 787? What's better about it?" 

You can do the same kind of investigation for whatever it is that interests your teen. 

3. Read What They Read
You know that novel they have been complaining about having to read for the last two weeks? Have you ever read it? Check it out of the library and read it. Then ask questions about the book. (You might sneak a peak at Spark Notes and get some ideas.) Don't be their teacher, but if you are genuinely interested in what they think about the book, they will probably talk. Check out what they are reading just for fun, too.

4. Invite Their Friends for Meals
When kids go to other people's houses they rise to the occasion in the politeness area. You can ask the guest a few questions about what they are doing, what's going on at school, the novel they are reading, and they'll answer even if your teen won't. This will give you information about your teen.

But another way to get your kids to talk is to listen to them talk to their friends. (Driving a carload of kids somewhere is a great place to do this!) You learn a lot, especially if you don't butt in with your opinion. This information enables you to ask questions that might spark a conversation. They complained about a bad call by the ref at last week's game. Tomorrow night you might ask, "What's everyone saying about that ref call Friday night that lost the game?" and possibly follow up with, "What does it take to be a good ref?"

Questions are good, but don't become the inquisition either. Ask open ended questions where they can express their opinions and cultivate an environment where they know they are free to express what they really think.

Peggy's sons are now grown men who come for dinner every Friday night. Peggy encourages us, "Something must have worked because now, many years later, we enjoy their bright conversation."

For more ideas on this: check out another post with thoughts from other parents about how to talk to your teens, and deal with the information you get, here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tell Me a Bible Story

Unexpectedly, this past weekend, I learned a new way to get anyone excited about getting into God's Word!

At a ladies' seminar I attended this weekend, the announced topic was "Simplify Your Life." Since I had agreed to be a table leader several months before I knew the topic, I went, even though I didn't really think wanted to hear about how to declutter my closet. (Not that I don't need that, but that's another topic; and that's not what she talked about anyway.)

What I found very interesting was the "Bible Stories" that the speaker told as examples, using the stories of women in the book of Luke. 

She said she wouldn't add anything to the stories, but she would tell them rather than read them. I checked the passage on one story. I discovered that she made no artistic embellishments, and in places, even used almost the exact words in my translation. But since she was telling the story, we listened closely. 

At the end of the story, she said there were five questions we needed to answer:

  1. What do I like about this story?
  2. What do I not like about this story?
  3. What do I learn about people from this story?
  4. What do I learn about God in this story?
  5. What can I apply to my life from this story?
As I thought about these questions I realized how great they are for teaching our kids or others to read and understand the Bible for themselves!

I've always used the questions:
  • What does it say? (Observation)
  • What does it mean? (Interpretation)
  • What does it mean to me? (Application)
But those questions can be a little vague, especially for people who are just learning how to study the Bible. These new questions, while they wouldn't work for every passage, help people because they are more specific

The first two are observation questions, but they give the reader something specific to look for. While looking for what he likes and doesn't like, he will pay close attention to the story. 

The next two questions are interpretation questions, again with specific lessons to look for. 

Finally, there is an application question, something the reader can take with him through the day, something to actually do or change in his life.

How great would it be to do that with our kids? Stories fit every age. Jesus did much of His teaching to adults through stories, so they will work well with our children whatever their age. We can decide if we should tell the story, read the story, or assign one of them to be the storyteller.Then we answer the questions, discussion style--each one who wants can have a say. Even young children will soon start to be attentive so they can tell you what they liked and didn't like.

You can let them not like the fact that Mary didn't help Martha or that Martha tattled or that Jesus scolded Martha. But help them to also see that Mary was able to settle down and listen to something important, even though she probably knew her sister wanted her help. And they can realize that the Lord's rebuke was gentle. Just make sure that what they like and don't like is truly there--not things they add or conjecture.

With the lessons they learn about people and God, guide them with questions to lessons that are in keeping with the rest of scripture. And the same goes for how they want to apply it to themselves. The lesson of Mary and Martha is not that they can avoid setting the table if they are reading their Bibles!

photo credits RK Scott

Let's Have Some Fun!
Have you ever done April Fool's jokes on people that involve a mealtime? I have! I'll tell you my stories if you'll tell me yours! Send me a quick note here with your story and I'll print it at the end of the week.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spanish Tortilla

A while back I checked some books out of the library that seemed to have to do with mealtimes.
One of the books was called Time for Dinner Strategies, Inspiration, and Recipes for Family Meals Every Night of the Week by Pilar Guzmán, (et al). Sounded like a book I could like!

Basically it was a cookbook, but one section really intrigued me.

“Start with one ingredient,
pair it with what you’ve got,
and it will lead you to a delicious,
inspired meal for four.

This was from the chapter was titled “I Want to Use What I Already Have” designed to help the cook make dinner out of what is already on hand in the kitchen. It has 21 starting ingredients, ranging from ground turkey to canned tomatoes to rotisserie chicken to wilting vegetables, and three options of where to go with it based on what other food items you have in the house.

I decided to see if it would work for me.
I started with eggs because I had recently gotten several good deals in the last few weeks, anywhere from $1.00 a dozen down to 44c with a coupon!

I added to that potatoes and I was on my way to a Spanish Tortilla!

The ingredients were pretty simple.
6 eggs
4 medium-small potatoes
1 Tablespoon olive oil (the original recipe called for 4, but it worked fine for me with 1)
½  onion
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano
¼  cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 350F. In large ovenproof pan, sauté thinly sliced potatoes in olive oil over medium heat for 10 minutes. My pan wasn’t ovenproof, but I made it safe by wrapping the handle in foil. (It really works! I was afraid to try it the first time, too. Using a non-stick skillet probably made it possible to use less oil.)
Add ½ a chopped onion. (The book's recipe called for another 2 Tablespoons of oil here.)  Season with salt and pepper. Cook until potatoes are cooked through. (The recipe said 15 more minutes, but I only did about 10.

In a bowl, whisk eggs with oregano and parsley. (The only thing I didn’t have for this recipe was the fresh oregano so I substituted ½ teaspoon of dried. I’m sure fresh would have tasted even better.) Pour the egg mixture into the pan, reduce heat, and cook for 5 minutes.
Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 5 to 8 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let rest for 5 minutes, ten cut into wedges and serve.

Get a printable version of the recipe here.

I served this with broccoli and fruit slaw. If I had had bread, too, perhaps it would have fed 4, but 3 of us finished this up happily!
If you are interested in Time for Dinner, why not see if your local library has a copy before you purchase it to make sure you can use the book?

What interesting books that have to do with mealtimes have you read recently?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What's On My Table

Spring has sprung here!
I am reveling in the luxury of fresh flowers! These were given to me by the daughter of friends from Colombia who spent part of her spring break at our house. 

Then today I got out my spring and Easter decorations. Easter has a way of sneaking up on me and it's such a wonderful day. Resurrection is definitely worth celebrating!

I bought this bunny at the Flemington glass factory in New Jersey when I was about eight years old. Back then, getting me to part with my money was a rare feat, but I thought he was so cute, even if he didn't look like my black and white "blue dutch" live bunny at home, so I bought him. He probably cost me a dollar!

These candle-holder bunnies came from a Lilian Vernon catalog I somehow got hold of while living in Peru--probably about 20 years ago.

They have held my Easter dinner candles every year since then, now in their third country.

The lace table runner came from my mother-in-law. When they moved out of their home up the street from us last year into a retirement community apartment, she held "giveaways" every time we visited. At one of our ladies' "Just Prayer" meetings she had some table runners out and offered them to anyone. They said I should go first, but I was embarrassed because I got a "giveaway" every time I came! However, they insisted I keep in the family anything I wanted, so I chose this light and spring-like runner.

The birds all came from my mother-in-law, too. The larger white bird was part of a trio that I had admired, so one year for my birthday she gave me the pair of blue birds. Later she gave me the white birds. Sadly a man who was painting our walls in Bogota, bumped the shelf they were on and two of them crashed to the floor. 

When I took the little white birds out today, the smaller one slipped out of my hand, bounced on the table and slid along the tile floor in two pieces. Thankfully it was a clean break and I glued him together. You never would have known if I hadn't told you, would you?

What's on your table right now?
A friend (who shall remain unnamed) wrote: I have trouble decorating my table because it seems to be the "dumping place" for everything:  mail, keys, papers, laptops, etc.

I think that's a pretty common problem. Our table in Bogota was in a place that people walked past to get to the kitchen and school books often "decorated" it. 

So I have two questions for you:

  1. How do you solve the "dumping place" syndrome in your house?
  2. What's on your table right now?
Tell me your answer either in a comment below or send me an email here and attach a photo. I'll share your ideas and photos in a future post.

Sunday Snapshot

Monday, March 19, 2012

Teach Them to Pray Like Bert Did

Last month one of God's greats went to be with God.

Bert Elliot was the lesser-known older brother of Jim Elliot, who was martyred by the Auca (now called Waorani) tribe in Ecuador in 1956. While Jim gave up his life for the indigenous people of Ecuador, Bert gave his life to the peoples of Peru.

Along with his wife, Colleen, they spent 63 years navigating the rivers of Peru's northern Amazon region, hiking the Andes mountains, and during the last two decades, driving between towns on the barren Peruvian coast.

Bert and Colleen were among those "barren one[s]...who have borne no child...for the sons of the desolate one[s] will be more numerous than the sons of the married..." as God used them to start over 140 churches in Northern Peru.
Our family around the table with Bert and Colleen in their home in 1999.

In some ways I was one of those spiritual children. 

Jim and I were privileged to be coworkers with Bert and Colleen from 1984-1992 when we lived in Peru. We never lived in the same city, but from time to time we visited and helped in each other's ministries. We always learned more than we gave.

One of the things I learned from Bert and Colleen, was how to pray and how to disciple others in prayer. Bert believed that this was done by praying with others. After all, when the disciples asked the Lord to teach His disciples to pray, He prayed.

Bert and Colleen praying with a friend
One time when we were with Bert and Colleen, we were all invited to an opthamologist's home for anticuchos (roasted beef and chicken hearts served on a skewer). When we stood to leave at midnight, Bert called their 18-year old daughter over to pray for her because she was soon to leave for college in Bolivia.

Another time with them we were at the home of a Peruvian fulltime church worker who was about to leave on a horseback missionary trip into the highlands. After a lunch of tamales, Bert had us all stand to pray for Rubén.

Miles up a dirt road at 12,000 feet in the Andes, Bert led us in prayer and song at the home of a farmer-evangelist, a man with 12 children and hundreds of spiritual children.

Farther up that road we visited a cooperative farm. There, 85-year old mamita María and several of her children and grandchildren crowded around Bert and Colleen. I wasn't surprised to hear the familiar words, "Let's come before the Lord together."

Bert and Colleen's example has spoken to me in many, many ways. One of those was how teach my children how to pray--by praying with them. Some of the places we have prayed with our children are:
  • giving thanks at the table
  • at the end of a breakfast to commend the day and all we will do to the Lord
  • before a shopping trip, that God will help us find what we need, and be wise to not buy what we don't (I have had some amazing answers)
  • while driving the first few blocks on a car trip (the driver keeps his eyes open!)
None of these are super unusual, but it's one way we've tried to teach our children about the need to "pray without ceasing.

I'd love it if you'd write to let me know how you are teaching your children to pray. Write a comment below or an email here and I'll share your ideas in a future post!

Bert passed from his home in Peru into the presence of the Lord and many people will miss him. None more than Colleen, who Jim and I were able to have lunch with last week at Bert's sister's home. Colleen is dealing with blood clots before she can have cataract surgery. At the end of this month she will travel to Portland, Oregon, where they were sent out to Peru from, for a memorial for Bert. Then Colleen will return home to Peru to continue mothering all those spiritual children.

Update, March 30, 2012

After a prolonged deterioration of health, Bert went home to be with the Lord February 17. Colleen came to the states with his sister for cataract surgery and a memorial for Bert. She was unable to have the surgery due to blood clots. Two days before the memorial she fell backwards and knocked herself out and fractured her skull. The next day she went home to be with the Lord and with Bert.

I see this as evidence that we shouldn't worry. God gave Bert and Colleen no physical children to care for them in their old age, but a group of spiritual children helped Colleen care for Bert. Colleen needed no one to care for her. God knew what He was doing.

After we had lunch with Colleen I had said to Jim, "I can't imagine Colleen without Bert." Apparently neither could God.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

More Pancakes!

Stephen wrote to say that they saw my blog and decided to make a Mickey Mouse pancake to celebrate National Pancake Week. Here's Addie at work making Mickey Mouse.
And showing us her work of art. 
And they got more creative and added delicious details!
And then for the best part.
I think this is what Stephen got to celebrate National Pancake Week.
It all looks good!

If one of my posts inspire you, write and tell me about it, or even better attach photos to your email. Maybe I'll share your ideas, too!

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Real Saint Patrick's Day--A Story for Kids

When she was teaching at a preschool, my daughter-in-law wrote this story to explain to the children what St. Patrick's Day was really all about. If you have young children, you might want to read this to them tomorrow. It could spark a lot of conversations including what they know about how the world celebrates this day, about the bad choices the people of Ireland had been making, and about loving your enemies, to name a few.

The Real Saint Patrick's Day

by Abby Fleming

Once, a long time ago, there was a beautiful land called Ireland. The people in Ireland were not happy, even though they lived in such a beautiful place. They were sad because, believe it or not, not one of them had ever heard about Jesus!

They made lots and lots of bad choices. They didn't know that their bad choices made God sad, and that they should be punished for them. They didn't know that Jesus took the punishment for their bad choices by dying on the cross, that he rose again, and that if they believed this that God would forgive them. No one had ever told them!
So they just kept making
                          and lots...
                                      and lots...
                                                 of BAD choices.

Patrick lived in another land near Ireland. He knew all about Jesus because his Daddy had taught him. He tried to make good choices. Sometimes, he made bad choices too, but he knew that God forgave him.

One night, some people from Ireland made a very, very bad choice.

Quietly, they snuck into Patrick's land...
                                           then, they snuck into his house...
                                                          then, they snuck into his room!

They made Patrick go with them to Ireland!!

Even though he was scared, Patrick knew that God was still with him, even in Ireland. When he got to Ireland, the people from Ireland made him do their work! They made him their servant, and they were not very nice to him at all. Remember, the people in Ireland didn't know Jesus, so they made lots and lots of bad choices. One of those bad choices was being mean to poor Patrick.

Well, Patrick lived in Ireland for six whole years! For six years, he never went home, and he never saw his family.

Then one day...
                    he quietly, quietly snuck away
                                        and he quietly, quietly snuck back home.

His family was so happy to see him! He was finally free!!

Patrick was happy for a while, but then he kept thinking about the people in Ireland. He felt sad that none of them knew Jesus. He wanted them to believe in Jesus and to have their bad choices forgiven.

So... Patrick did a crazy thing!! Patrick went back to Ireland!

Even though the people had been so mean to him, he went back and told them about JESUS! Lots of people heard him and believed in Jesus and had their bad choices forgiven.

Today, there are people in Ireland who love Jesus and make lots of good choices. Since Patrick was the first person to tell the people in Ireland about Jesus, they decided to have a special day for him. They called it Saint Patrick's Day! And that is why we celebrate today.

Abby Fleming graduated from Emmaus Bible College with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and Biblical Studies. Also at Emmaus, she met and married Daniel Fleming. They have been married almost 6 years now and have a beautiful 9 month old daughter, Anna. After the birth of their daughter, Abby made the decision, with Daniel's approval, to quit her job in education and work instead as a full time Mommy. Currently, Abby and her husband are living in the Chicago area as he pursues further education.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

And Baby Makes Three

Is it possible to have a family mealtime with a baby? Read on as I proudly present my daughter-in-law, Abby Fleming, guest posting about their times around the table!

I had to laugh as my friends were interrupted, yet again, from their dinner by their 18 month old daughter insistently holding out a hand to each of them. Patiently, they put down their forks, joined hands, and bowed their heads as their daughter pretended to say a prayer in which the only word I could distinguish was AMEN! I laughed, but I was impressed and inspired.

This morning, my husband buckled our 9 month old daughter, Anna, into her high chair as I poured the juice. Then, we sat down together to do one of her favorite things... eat! 

Before we started, my husband and I joined hands and each held a hand out to Anna. After 4 months of this, she is starting to get the hang of it. She looks at our hands for a second, then slaps one small hand in each of ours and holds on tight. Her Daddy says a prayer, short but sweet, and then she knows it is time to eat.

We take turns feeding her and eating ourselves. We talk and laugh, both with each other and with her. All three of us enjoy this time together, and I like to think that Anna is learning a lot here, not just about food. Babies thrive on stability and consistent routines, like breakfast together with Mommy and Daddy every morning. I think it helps her understand what it means to be a family, relaxed around the table, just being together. I hope that, even at this age, she is learning about God's love as it flows through us and to her. Sure, that can happen anytime throughout the day, but it is easy to get caught up in diaper changes, work, cleaning, you fill in the blank, and at the end of the day, I can realize that I have not just sat down and shown my little girl that I love her. Carving out mealtimes as set aside for that purpose makes a big difference to me.

We are also teaching her how to pray simply by doing it. At 9 months, Anna is already in the habit of praying before eating. Some adults never reach that stage. And, I must confess, that I am so looking forward to the day that my meal is interrupted by her insistently holding out her hand to pray with me yet again. 

Abby Fleming graduated from Emmaus Bible College with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and Biblical Studies. Also at Emmaus, she met and married Daniel Fleming. They have been married almost 6 years now and have a beautiful 9 month old daughter, Anna. After the birth of their daughter, Abby made the decision, with Daniel's approval, to quit her job in education and work instead as a full time Mommy. Currently, Abby and her husband are living in the Chicago area as he pursues further education.

Be Published!
Do you have a short, upbeat story about one of your family mealtimes? Would you like to see it published? I am looking for mealtime stories to post. If you are interested please read my guidelines carefully and then send me your submission here for review.

Monday, March 12, 2012

How I Came to Write Around the Table

In 1994 a group of women from the local churches we worked with in Bogota, Colombia, met together at fellow missionary Sheran Killins' home. Sheran and I were the only non-Colombians. We prayed, laughed, talked and dreamed about having a conference for mothers on raising children.
The group of women at my "despedida" [goodbye gathering]
All of us were mothers, some had babies (like me) and some had grandchildren. We were all trying to figure out this parenting thing, how to do it God's way, and how to help other women raise obedient, godly children. 

As we met month by month, reporting to each other on the various parenting books we read, we realized one conference wasn't going to be enough to cover all the topics we thought were needed. Two conferences wouldn't suffice either. Or three. Or four. We ended up organizing five conferences on the various stages of mothering. The conferences were on:  

      * Conception to One Year
      * The Toddler/Preschool Years
      * The Elementary Years
      * Teenagers
      * Adult Children.

Over the course of a year and half we got it done! Somewhere along the way we decided we needed follow up material, so we came up with the idea of a newsletter for mothers. We called it "Mama Eres Increible" (Mom, You're Incredible!). 

I was excited about being able to use my desire to write as a ministry. At home I wrote out a list of topics I thought I would be able to write about. After brainstorming for a few minutes, I looked over my list and realized that they pretty much centered around family mealtimes. 
Watercolor of our Family at our Table--Original Cover Idea
> Getting to know your kids? Table talk! 
> Teaching kids manners? You could do that at the table. 
> Chores? Meals definitely create work. 
> Learning about other people? Invite them to your table.
> Family Devotions? No time like when they are already together to do that! 

And as I looked around at the families I saw in our local churches, I didn't see many of them ever having meals together. So I got the idea of writing the various articles and putting them together in a book.

I started writing and writing. In the past, when I had written other things in English I felt like the words danced, but in Spanish they seemed to just lie there on the page. So I edited and then tossed most of what I wrote. It was so didactic, so imperative. "You need to."

Then I talked with a friend about her book and realized it was full of stories. I started over. I wrote down my memories of growing up. I talked to other people about their family meal times. I had a long, multi-session "interview" with a friend (who is a pedicurist) as she worked on my ingrown toenail! I remembered what Jim and I had done with our children. Inspired, I tried new things with our kids. And I wrote it down.
Samuel playing the part of Daniel 
and the artist, Iain Campbell, in a cameo appearance as the blind man
It took about 2 years to write and 5 years to get it published. We paid for the art teacher at our kids' school to do pencil illustrations for that first edition. Then we paid for a Colombian artist to put together the first cover. The publisher wanted the book in English, too. So I found myself with the odd task of translating my own book back into my native language! Multiple people edited it in both languages. And finally it came out. But really, I was the only one advertising the book.

A few years later, one of the middle school teachers at our kids school got a hold of a copy. When we went to Middle School orientation, she stood up to introduce herself and she said, "I'm Kathleen VanZandt and I'll be teaching your children Language and History. But what I really want to talk to you about is a book that revolutionized our family life. I only wish I'd read it earlier! Each of you needs to read it!" She's still my biggest fan!

The owners of the publishing house were getting ready to retire and said I could take my book elsewhere if I wanted. Armed with Kathleen's testimony, I took the plunge and made a book proposal to ECS Ministries. They accepted! More editing, a new chapter to bring you up-to-date on my family, lots of hard work by Mark Wainwright who's in charge of publications, and my good friend, Sue Tyler, editor par excellence, and a new cover by Ron Brancato later, the book is available to a wider audience than ever!
Ron hadn't seen the original cover,
but he carried the theme of looking
at a family through a window!

If you are interested in reading the book for yourself or getting it for someone else, it is available here. You can also read the first two chapters there.


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