3 is a magic number...

3 kids. a 3 day weekend. toy story 3. 3 billy goats gruff. and now my new favorite 3... 3 cars.

we have 3 cars in our driveway. well, 2 in our driveway and one in our yard (we need to make a little parking pad). i don’t have photos yet because millie hasn’t had on the “right” outfit to be photographed with our 3rd vehicle. and it is too hot to walk outside with my camera and take photos of a just a car. call me lazy. it won’t be the worst thing that i have been called.

it is a honda element. we had to really search for a safe, energy efficient car with enough leg room for a boy who is rapidly approaching over 6 feet to drive in a year when he has his driver’s license. eeek. i have barely contained my panic dealing with ONE child driving and now i will be amping the crisis into TWO drivers?!?!? all that “free” time that i will have with another driver being able to go and retrieve people and things for me will now be spent in fervent prayer. good times. 

and now 3 good books that i am in the middle of reading...

scorpia rising. by anthony horowitz. the last and final book for the alex rider series. i have about 1/4th of the book left and i keep putting off reading that last quarter because i am so reticent to say goodbye to alex. consider the fact that he is only 15 and that makes me a cougar. a literary cougar. which i can deal with. 

how we decide. by jonah lehrer. i read a lot of good and bad reviews of this book. my friend, deaver, recommended it. and she enjoyed it. i am enjoying all the true life stories that he uses to illustrate his points. it is a lot like blink, by malcolm gladwell. and predictably irrational by some other guy. i enjoyed those books. i always love me some pop-cognitive-pseudo-behavioral-science. and yes, i just made that category of books up all by myself. 

the happiness project. by gretchen rubin. it has been a lot of fun reading about her year of trying to be happier. one thing that she noted that i have found to be key to me being happier is to always be learning something new. i am happiest when i am immersed in learning. also she finds she is happier when she cleans and organizes something in her house. true. so true. i haven’t been through the whole year with her yet, but her month of NOT criticizing her husband and thinking only good thoughts about him is really challenging me. because i might need to start with a day and then move to a full week first. 

and 3 books that i read recently (as in last week)...

give them grace. by elyse fitzpatrick and her daughter, jessica thompson. the first time i read it through i didn’t like it. i thought it was too didactic for a book that is basically saying that the gospel message is that God does all the work in our children’s lives. but on a second reading i highlighted a lot of it. just not the didactic parts... which were fewer and further between that i remembered. it made me feel more grace given and grace empowered as a parent. it also made me want to re-subtitle the book from the original “give them grace: dazzling your kids with the love of Jesus” to the more wordy but more worthy title of: “give them grace, your kids won’t understand what the heck it is and frankly you don’t really understand it either, plus there are no guarantees and it feels so opposite of what you want to do on most days.” that is a book that you would buy, right?

all the tea in china. by sarah rose. this is about the great british tea heist and how one man stole the secrets of growing and producing tea from china and changed the world (and my mornings) forever. this is a great book for a tea lover. 

after you believe: why christian character matters. by n.t. wright. and here are three good quotes from this book... 

”someone who is determinedly trying to show God how good he or she is is likely to become an insufferable prig. We would all prefer to live with people who knew perfectly well that they weren’t good enough for God, but were humbly grateful that God loved them anyway, than with people who were convinced that they had made it to God’s standard and could look down on the rest of us from a lofty moral mountaintop. 

1) There is much more to the doctrine of “justification by faith” than this, but not less.  The radical insight of St. Paul into what it means to be human, and what it means to have the overwhelming love of God take hold of you, corresponds in quite an obvious way to what most people know about what makes someone more or less livable-with.  And livable-with-ness, though of course it contains a large subjective element, is not a bad rule of thumb for what it might mean to be truly human.”

 2) "virtue is what happens when wise and courageous choices have become 'second nature' . . . Those who follow Jesus can begin to practice, in the present, the habits of heart and life which correspond to the way things are in God's kingdom--the way they will be eventually, yes, but also the way they already are because Jesus is here . . . But virtue is always the result of work and cost". 

3) "The key is this: the 'fruit of the Spirit' does not grow automatically. The nine varieties of fruit do not suddenly appear just because someone has believed in Jesus, has prayed for God's Spirit, and has then sat back and waited for 'fruit' to arrive . . . The point of using the term 'fruit,' after all, is that these are things which grow from within rather than being imposed from without" .

whew, my brain hurts for all that reading. maybe some t.v. watching is in order for this weekend. we are watching a harry potter movie a day so that we are all caught up for this thursday night at midnight when the last movie comes out!