My Book, Blooming, will be coming out later this fall. I'm excited. I've been working on the thing, writing and rewriting for more years than I care to mention. I began writing bits for a family life column in Christian Courier when my oldest daughter, Angela, was about seven. She is turning 30 this year and has two darling children of her own. (Grandchildren are the most darling of all children.)
To give you a taste of the book, here is the introduction:
My friend Dini and I had at least 78 years of wall-papering know-how between us, so when the church was looking for volunteers to paper the master bedroom during the parsonage makeover project, that job had Dini and Marian written all over it.
When we showed up at 10 o’clock on Thursday morning, the walls of the unfurnished room had been sized, according to Dini’s request, and numerous wall-papering gadgets were at our disposal: two plastic smoothers, a measuring tape, a laser level for checking the plumb line, a flimsy plastic wallpaper tray, three useless card tables, a step stool, scissors and a pencil. The pastor’s wife showed us the beige wallpaper with a green pinstripe. It reminded me of one of my husband’s old suits.
The paper was very thin. To a less experienced team it could have proved a nightmare, but Dini and I knew exactly how to work with it. We measured, cut, and hung that room in less than four hours. Every piece lined up perfectly. We flowed, thanking the Lord at every corner. We would have trimmed the top and bottom edges as well, but the thin damp paper was prone to tear. The pastor’s wife agreed to finish up when the paper dried.
The following week at a ladies’ social it was rumoured that our paper had fallen off the wall. Mary heard it from the pastor’s wife. Of course, she was using the electric sander at the time, so she could have heard wrong. Tami, though, had seen the room. There was no paper on the wall. It was an unfinished room with blotchy walls. Dini and I were baffled. Professionals couldn’t have done a better, neater job. Never in our combined 78 years of wall-paper know-how had any of our work suffered such consequences. It couldn’t be true.
That night I had a revelation. The walls of the bedroom had recently been painted with a latex paint. The paint hadn’t had time to cure properly. The paper sucked the water out of the paint, the paint crumbled, so of course, the paper came down.
On Sunday morning the pastor’s wife approached wearing a sheepish look. I beat her to the punch. “The paper fell down.”
“You’re asking me if the paper fell down?”
“No, I’m telling you the paper fell down.”
“It didn’t fall down. I took it down.”
Right then, I could have ‘took’ her down, but, we were in church....
No, that was the old me. The ‘being-transformed’ me quietly questioned, Lord, what is this about? Surely, Dini and I didn’t spend four hours enjoying each other’s company, hanging paper perfectly just to have it torn down?
The pastor’s wife explained the stripes were dizzying and served to highlight every bump and jag, already clearly defined by the very thin paper. The pastor’s wife didn’t like it, so she took it down.
At the beginning of this book, I had my life papered neatly in straight lines. My Christianity lined up. I hung it myself with the help of my friends, my Bible studies, my private devotions, my mealtime rituals, my church attendance, and my acts of charity. One could see the imperfections in my self-righteous life somewhat highlighted by the ten commandments, but heaven would fix that.
Well, although the undercoat was good, God didn’t like the choice of paper. He took it down and He’s replacing it with the righteousness of His son–thicker, richly textured wallpaper that covers the flaws perfectly. At the top edge He plans to hang a border of blooming lilies.
The stories in this book reveal the day-to-day experiences of my sometimes frazzled self as I mothered six children over a period of approximately 15 years. The Holy Spirit subtly, yet dramatically, convicted and convinced me in the nitty gritty of everyday family life.
Most of the stories in this book were originally written for a “Slice of Bread” column in a Christian tabloid, The Christian Courier. Scripture verses and spiritual applications have been added for the purposes of this book. In writing the columns, I simply wanted to entertain others by sharing what was happening in our household.
When I began recording the stories, Marty and I had been married for eight years and were the parents of four children, ages seven, five, three and one. I lived Christianity from my head. As the years progressed, the Holy Spirit patiently changed me into someone who lives Christianity from the heart as led by His Spirit. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27.