Friday, October 21, 2016

Poetry Friday: Gerard Manley Hopkins

Methinks it would not be autumn without a sip of the sublime nectar that is the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. 

You're welcome. 

Spring and Fall
Gerard Manley Hopkins

               to a young child

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

(Public domain.) 

Tricia is hosting the round up today at The Miss Rumphius Effect. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"How I Miss Them."

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

Atticus and I, the couple who married with the firm belief we'd never want children, lost five of our children to miscarriage. Oh, how we wanted those children.

Miscarriage doesn't get easier with practice. I crumpled every time. I needed grace, a God who would let me weep and scream at Him. A God who would let me collapse, exhausted, into His arms and then grant me the grace to somehow keep moving forward. To get up again the next day.

I needed my husband. He was devastated too, but was also my miraculous rock. We needed to cry together, fall apart together, and pick ourselves up together.

I needed my friends. Friends who listened to me, helped me heal. Friends who were bearers of light and love.

And I needed, years later, the beauty of all the stories that came together to become After Miscarriage. In gathering my own stories and those of others who were generous enough to share their lives and the too-short lives of their children, I experienced a new level of love and healing.

Here are the words of a friend, a father who contributed to the book, and they say it all:

If any blessing has come as a result of all this, it is the intense desire to see my children. We Christians believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. I hope that if I live my life as well as I can and come to know Him more each day in prayer, Our Lord may place me under His mercy, and after the resurrection of the dead, I will be able to embrace my children for the first time and forever. 
How I miss them. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Why I Don't Read Much About Homeschooling Anymore

Ramona, when she was three. 

(I originally posted this three years ago):

I have a confession: I don't read much about homeschooling anymore.

Not because there aren't a million inspirational, wise, funny, interesting homeschoolers out there (there are, and you should definitely read them.) And not because there aren't terrific books, and stories, and ideas. They're all over the place.

And it's not because I've got everything figured out. I don't. I have my own blind spots, failures, regrets, worries, selfishness, and pride.

It's just that, well, I've got it figured out.

Not IT. Not "Life in all of its glorious meaning and the perfect way to live, breathe, and homeschool, parent, and exist on a day to day basis without stress or strife, pride, or judgement."

No, no, no. No one has that figured out, people.

The "it" I have figured out is my style. My strengths and weaknesses. My husband's style. My daughters -- their styles, strengths, and weaknesses. We took that stuff and ran with it, knowing the years would go quickly, there would be gaps, standards may have to be lowered, a la Dave Barry, that it will not be perfect, and there would be times I'd think I couldn't do it.

The "it" I know is this: one of the reasons we started homeschooling was to treat our kids as individuals, and individuals don't fit neatly into pre-cut boxes labeled "homeschooler." They will not uniformly love math, grow up to be astronauts, priests, or nuns, get certain scores on ACT tests, or live their faith and their lives so perfectly that they will be mistaken for the Blessed Mother. Not all homeschoolers will love reading, play sports, or even enjoy the company of other homeschoolers (because that depends on what kind of individual that other homeschooler is, right?)

My kids are just individuals. They're just people. Sometimes they're as weird and different and out of the mainstream as their dad and I are; sometimes they flow with the mainstream quite nicely. Sometimes they are helpful and giving beyond belief, sometimes they are selfish. Some days they're blissful and feel blessed, some days they are sad and feel put-upon.

Hey...they're just like me. They fit neatly into the box called "Fallen Human."

And homeschooling is just one way to educate fallen humans. It's a way we love, to be sure. It's a way that I think can work beautifully, despite its challenges, for a lot of people. But I also know it's not for everyone.

It is, however, a way of life that has allowed Atticus and me to stay focused on our main goal in life: relationship.

Our relationship with each other.
Relationship with our kids.
Relationship with God.

To sum it up, I guess the only thing I have figured out is that I love this busy, weird, individual life we're living, and I know that there's not a singly perfect way to live it. I long ago let go of caring what our homeschool looks like to the world. We know it's working out (in that fallen, messy way), and that's what counts the most to us.

Thanks, Atticus, Anne-with-an-e, Betsy Ray, and Ramona, for caring as much about our relationships as I do.

And now? I'm tired, so I'm going to have another cup of coffee. Because I have a huge blind spot when it comes to whether or not I've had too much caffeine.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Poetry Friday: Golden Boy is Dying

I love's Poem-a-Day. It delivers almost as much happiness as, oh, say, Hamilton. Or my favorite t-shirt.

Campbell McGrath gets that:

My Sadness
by Campbell McGrath

Another year is coming to an end
but my old t-shirts will not be back—

(You can't resist that lead-in, right? I know. Go read the whole poem here, at


Jerry gets it, too:

Golden Boy is slowly dying....


Thursday, October 06, 2016

What Are You Reading?

So, I recently posted on Facebook that I had book hangover and couldn't decide what to read next. After finishing Far From the Madding Crowd, which I loved dearly, I was in a dither. I picked up The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood over the weekend, but in the meantime, ideas were piling up on the FB post, so I decided to share them here.

I didn't clean up the list -- just grabbed everything that was mentioned, so these are in order of comments. If you'd like to add anything on FB, go here. If you just need to head to Amazon and start clicking, well, we all understand.

books by Terry Pratchett
Ready Player One
Enders Game
Destiny of the Republic, Candice Millard
Three Men in a Boat
The Eyre Affair
Orphan #8
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
A Lantern in Her Hand
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire
The Awakening of Miss Prim
Dearest Dorothy series
The Confessions of X
Anne of Green Gables
James Herriot
The Muse, by Jessie Burton
A Canticle for Leibowitz
Lonesome Dove
The miniaturist
Brave New World.
A Postcard from the Volcano by Lucy Beckett
The Marriage of Opposites, by Alice Hoffmann
The Death of Ivan Ilych
Blackout/All Clear, by Connie Willis
To Say Nothing of the Dog
Doomsday Book
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Candice Millard's Hero of the Empire
The Meaning of Names by Karen Shoemaker
Flannery O'Conner
A Very Special Year, by Thomas Montasser
The newest Louise Penny mystery
Agatha Christie
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Taylor Caldwell's Grandmother and the Priests
The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
I Am Margaret series,
A Girl of the Limberlost
Pride and Prejudice
Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson
WWI diaries of Lady Cynthia Asquith
Jeremy Poldark

Podcasts that were mentioned:

What Should I Read Next? (My friend Danae told me about Anne Bogel's podcast awhile back. I was immediately smitten.)
Books on the Nightstand
Dear Book Nerd

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Poetry Friday: I'm Hosting!

Galway Kinnell's compact "Blackberry Eating" is precise and perfect for at least two things:

1. For the last day in September
2. For word connoisseurs who gather round blogs on Poetry Friday.

Blackberry Eating
Galway Kinnell

I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry-making;
(Read the whole [very short] poem here, at


Savor it, then sample all the Poetry Friday posts via Mr. Linky:

And thanks for stopping!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Poetry Friday: After Apple-Picking

(Photo courtesy of Free Images)

I didn't get a post done before we left this morning for our field trip at an apple orchard, but "After Apple-Picking" now seems the thing to turn to. A poignant thing, given my chat with the owner of the orchard, a kind and lovely woman who gave every child there today a bag and invited everyone to pick apples from all the varieties of trees she introduced us to. ("Free?" some moms asked. "Yes," said those of us who had been there before, "they always do this. Isn't it wonderful?")

As I was buying additional apples (so much apple crisp, just begging to be made) I asked her if the orchard would stay in the family, if any of her children would take over when she and her husband retired. No, she said, they all had other jobs and no one wanted it. And her husband, she told me, has cancer, and his treatments are so tiring....

I was so saddened by all of that -- the illness of that sweet man from whom I'd just bought the most delicious cider, the loss of the tradition of the orchard, that so many things no longer seem to last for generations. But I was heartened, too, by the kindness and generosity of these people ... the cider they poured for us all, the apple slices they'd prepared and chilled for the children, the leading of tours even when one is sick, and tired, and probably wants nothing more than a drawn shade and a soft, comfortable bed.

One of my favorite things about last year's Cinderella movie from Kenneth Branagh was the highly quotable quote, "Have courage and be kind." Those words came to mind this morning, after apple-picking.

After Apple-Picking*
Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

*in the public domain. 


The Poetry Friday round up is at Reading to the Core

Thursday, September 22, 2016

"When They're Older...." (For my friends with young children)

(From the archives: When I first wrote this, Anne-with-an-e was 12, Betsy was 10, and Ramona was 4.) 


I got to thinking about something last night, just after I settled a dispute between Anne-with-an-e and Betsy (or was it between Betsy and Ramona? Or had Ramona been annoying Anne? Ahem. You get the picture.) I was tired, and when one is tired, even the littlest irritations loom large. A few tiny disagreements suddenly feel like near-constant bickering, picking-on, finger-pointing and tattling. Oh, my, the behavior of children. I mean, it's so ... immature.

I felt a little overwhelmed (did I mention I was tired? So much depends on a good night's sleep ....) Yes, I thought, this is the stage of life at which I'm currently parked:

My children are walking, talking, reasoning (well, mostly), sharp little tacks who delight me but are also capable of draining my mental energy. They're all quite verbose (exquisitely so on the good days and "Do-you-ever-stop-talking?!" on the bad) and that's what can get me. It's not a physical exhaustion, but it can feel like one. It's mental fatigue: the dragging of a mind forced to think of 17 different ways to say, "Be kinder," the sluggish tongue that must -- one more time -- wrap itself around the words, "Go tell your sister you're sorry." It's the ambushed brain that can't take one more joke that involves body parts or functions.

This is where we are, I thought. But when they're older ....

"Uh-oh, stop right there, missy," I told myself. "Don't start playing, 'When they're older,' because it's a lose-lose proposition."

"When they're older" is the trap that entices you to long for a different stage of life. I sometimes fall into it, but it's not a good place to live. Because if I live my entire life in the "When They're Older" trap, before I know it, they'll be older. And they'll be gone.

It goes something like this, looking back to infancy:

When she's older, she won't wake me up every night.

(But she also won't coo and gurgle in that delicious way. She won't linger at nursing and enclose me in her eyes, telling me I'm her reason for being.)

When she's older, I won't need to carry her everywhere, so my back won't ache all the time.

(She also won't be portable enough to be cuddled, held, and snuggled no matter where we are or what we're doing. She won't fit neatly into one arm and I won't be able to scoop her up to celebrate that she just mastered skipping.)

When she's older, I won't have to listen to "Why? Why? Why?" all the time.

(She also won't have that same awed look on her face that she got when she saw her first penguin at the zoo. She won't study caterpillars and ants for extended periods and she won't be delighted by pointing out water towers, having just learned what they are. She won't have that squeaky voice that personifies "ironic" when she says "Awwwww, look at that babeeee! He's so cuuuuute!")

When she's older, I won't have to listen to body function humor.

(Well, I can just keep hoping on this one.)

When she's older, she won't pick on her sister. She'll be too mature for that.

(And she'll be too mature to sit on my lap, play hide-n-seek, wear her hair in ponytails, jump rope, get that incredible shine in her eyes when she kicks a soccer ball and she'll no longer be more delighted by my company than anyone else's in the world. She'll have discovered there are other things and other people who are important to her.)

When she's older, she won't be so moody.

(Oh, wait. That's a woman-thing. That'll continue. That's okay.)

I've always found "When They're Older" to be counter-productive. Oh, sure, it might seem to comfort me at the time (and don't get me wrong, there's a place for the "This too shall pass" philosophy) but most of the time, "When They're Older" is the opposite of comforting -- it's agitating. It forces us to live in and for the future. And when we do that, we miss so much of today. This Moment.

Rather, I must embrace that my children are just that. Children. They're going to be childish. And my ambushed brain has to steel itself to take one more joke, one more poor choice, one more tattle. I have to remind myself that bad days make it feel as if this happens all the time, but I know that it actually doesn't. Because on the same day there's been tattling, a poor choice, and a joke that only a daddy can appreciate, there have also been cuddles and hugs and beaming looks of love. There've been discussions that run deeper than I thought a ten-year-old could handle and insights so moving that I've gotten a glimpse at the woman my daughter will become. There have been tea parties and read-alouds, girl-talk and cookies in the oven.

There has been the delight of "I'm so glad they're this age. I'm so glad for now. I'm blessed by today. I'm so in love with this moment."

Today, I won't fall into the "When They're Older" trap. When they're older, they'll certainly be more mature.

But they won't be here.

And I'll miss them. So very, very much.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Recent Reading

I honestly didn't know what I was getting myself into when I picked up The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. It was far more beautiful than I'd anticipated. It was a sad, gut-wrenching tale about choices, secrets, and consequences, a tale that could only end badly and yet I came away from it glad that I read it, glad that this book is in the world. 


I really wanted to like The Awakening of Miss Prim more than I did. (I hate it when that happens.) I don't know if it was the translation I read, or what, but I just never fully entered into it, despite the premise involving librarians, loads of books, and quirky eccentrics. A lot of people seem to like it, so maybe it's just me. 

There was this beautiful passage in which a character describes conversion as: touchstone, the line that's split my life in two and given it absolute meaning. But I'd be lying if I said it's been easy. It's not easy, and anyone who says it is is fooling themselves. It was catharsis, a shocking trauma, open-heart surgery, like a tree torn from the ground and replanted elsewhere.

Oh, my, yes.


Is there more relaxing bedtime reading than Betsy books? 
Methinks not.  


Just no. 
This was not necessary. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bits and Pieces of Our Days: The Avatar Edition (Plus Jane and Pete)

Our current mom/daughter shared TV show is Avatar: The Last Airbender

The fun! The adventure! 
The laughs! The character development! 
I love me a good redemption story, too, so I'm enjoying the unfolding of this one with my girls. (They've already seen the whole series, so they are indulging me, watching it again.)  

Jane! Where have you been all our lives? 

Ramona and I are loving L.M. Montgomery's Jane of Lantern Hill. So good! Why did I wait so long to read this one? Oh, Superior Jane, you are our current favorite literary heroine.

In Avatar terms, this is how we feel about Jane: 


We went with my parents a couple of weeks ago to see Pete's Dragon. We all thought it was lovely. I generally don't have to write movie reviews since Steven Greydanus reads my mind so handily.

His review is here, at Decent Films, for your (and my) convenience.

In Avatar terms, Pete and Elliot did this to us:


But back to Avatar! 
Here's what I thought when I saw the episode about Appa's lost days:

I could do this all day, but I really shouldn't. 
I need to get some sleep so I can read more about Superior Jane (I particularly like doing voices for Dad and Grandmother) tomorrow and gear up for some final battles. And there'll be leaf juice to be made! 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Poetry Friday: An Original One This Week

This week's poem comes to you courtesy of an actual Facebook exchange with a friend this week. 
Happy Poetry Friday! 

by Karen Edmisten  

My friend said she had 
"hospital dinner guests" coming over. 
I pictured invalids on gurneys
being wheeled up to her dining room table.
This is not what she meant at all.

She, a doctor's wife, meant 
that another physician, one who was 
planning to move soon 
to our area, was coming for dinner while 
in town on a house-hunting mission. 

Still, I like to picture the gurneys 
around my friend's table. 
I hear her broad and joyful laugh, 
as she chops, stirs, and shares a meal with any, 
with all, who would be wheeled.  


The Poetry Friday roundup is at Today's Little Ditty

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

On Morning Air tomorrow, Talking About Miscarriage

I talked with John and Glenn, on Morning Air on Relevant Radio, last week about miscarriage.

We talked about my own experience with loss, about After Miscarriage, and then we had two callers who moved me deeply as they shared a father's perspective on losing children.

If you'd like to hear that segment, it will be aired again tomorrow morning, at 7am ET (6am CT).

If you can't tune in then, but would like to hear the segment, you can find it in the audio archives on this page. Scroll to Hour 3, on September 8th.

Revisiting the Pirate Prayer

Because it's worth revisiting, on a regular basis, don't you think?


(This explanation of the value of "A-R-R-R" prayer first ran in 2009.) 

I really need to be accountable. That's why I have Atticus. And children. And a cat. And a scale. And a best friend. And a spiritual director.

This weekend, I got to see my best friend and my spiritual director. I saw Atticus, the children and the cat, too, of course, but you hear about them every day, so let's move on. The best friend and the director live in Omaha, so I don't see them as often. Saturday, I had the chance to see them both, so it was a good day for accountability.

You don't really need to know, and you probably don't care, about the things I was struggling with. Like most of us, I have the same things arise again and again. My spiritual director compares God's work on these issues -- anyone's issues -- to an onion. God peels away a layer or two at a time, helping us to get closer to the core.  My best friend has always compared it to an upward spiral: our struggles keep coming up, repeating themselves, which can be discouraging. But we are being pulled upward.

Both analogies work on the same level: we're making progress, but it's slow. Sometimes painful. Sometimes we don't feel as if we've gotten very far.

When I was an atheist, I assumed that people who had conversions were all like St. Paul: instantly different in every way.  What I've learned, as a Christian, is that some things are instantly different (let's face it, to become a Catholic is to adopt some rather dramatic changes in one's life) but other things are lifelong learning experiences. Core sins or ways of being take time to change.  Most likely, though the substance of the struggles is the same, the accidents, or the way in which those struggles manifest, is very different when we are 30 or 40 or 50 than it was when we were 15 or 20 years old.

I like to take the spiral analogy and visualize it even further. I picture the spiral as something very tightly, painfully wound at the bottom -- wound so tightly it can barely be moved or untwisted. But, as God' work begins, the spring begins to loosen. And as it is unwound, the spiral opens, and widens, and moves ever upward, widening our perspective of it as well.  So, as we move upward on this spiraling, expanding path, we get a better view, a clearer and wider sense of the things we're untangling and dealing with.

I share this because if you are ever discouraged by the fact that you seem to revisit the same sins or the same patterns of behavior repeatedly, I hope you won't despair. Compare yourself to where you were five years ago with the same sin. What about ten years ago?  Do you handle it differently?  If you're striving to seriously live your faith life, my guess is that you do handle it differently. A particular temptation or inclination might still be there, but you're probably approaching it in new and better ways all the time.

Does an alcoholic stop wanting to drink? Usually not. Does a recovering alcoholic stay away from alcohol? Yes. It's the same thing with all of our sins and temptations. We're still the same people, but the ways in which we live and behave do change, with God's grace. Sometimes we even stop wanting the drink, the sin, the temptation. God can transform us that completely.

Having said all that, I'm rerunning something that I need to revisit regularly and so I'm assuming you do, too. It's what my director called the "A-R-R-R" method of prayer, and what I then dubbed pirate prayer. All you have to remember is "ARRR" (but you don't have to add "Matey" or do anything that makes you feel really foolish. You can even eschew my silly pirate label and call it something respectable, such as "a method of prayer for those of us who enjoy acronyms.")

ARRR stands for:


These steps in prayer are especially helpful to me when I'm responding to something with a great deal of emotion. At times, I find (or my spiritual director oh-so-gently points out) that I've intellectually sifted through a problem, but I'm still reacting strongly to the situation. Intellect is not enough. It's time to take it to God in prayer, and "ARRR" helps me in this way:


Acknowledge what I'm feeling -- what I'm really feeling, not what I think I should feel, what I wish I could feel, what I think God wants me to feel. Acknowledge -- to myself -- my true feelings. No matter how irrational, unjustifiable or unpleasant they may be.

Hand those feelings over to God. Tell Him everything -- tell Him what I've honestly recognized in myself. Lay it down at His feet. Give it utterly and completely to Him.


Receive what God has to offer me in return. Is He calling me to forgiveness? To healing? To action? To grieving? Be open to what He offers. (This may not come right away. Be patient.)


This is self-explanatory. What did I receive from God, and how will I put that into practice, into action?

These steps don't always occur as neatly as I've spelled them out. The "Acknowledge and Relate" stages may stretch out over many moments or sessions of prayer. Sometimes I find that I have to acknowledge over and over again what I'm really feeling about something before I'm ready to move on. So, the "Acknowledge and Relate" stages may include tears or times of simply pouring my heart out to our loving God. Because I have to empty myself of my self before I'm ready to receive anything from the Lord.

But, I also have to remember that I can't get stuck in the "Acknowledge and Relate" stages. Reminding myself that I'm in the middle of a process is so helpful. When I've really and truly given up to God all that I've been holding on to, He will pour out new graces that I'll then be ready to receive. Knowing that I'm only two steps into a process wards off despair and nurtures hope. And it keeps me from stagnating in self pity or sadness.

I know that there will be gifts to receive, and that He will give me the strength to respond to them.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13)

Friday, September 09, 2016

Poetry Friday: Fall, by Edward Hirsch

On Facebook yesterday, I posted this picture, a sampling from Atticus's garden, and I said: 

I'm not a gardener. But on a cool September morning, when I'm picking vegetables, feeling grateful for my husband's love of growing things...there's no place I'd rather be than in that garden.

The calendar may still call it summer, but the season is changing here. I'm reminded of Emily Dickinson (As imperceptibly as grief, the summer lapsed away) and Edward Hirsch knows it, too. 

by Edward Hirsch

Fall, falling, fallen. That's the way the season
Changes its tense in the long-haired maples
That dot the road; the veiny hand-shaped leaves
Redden on their branches (in a fiery competition
With the final remaining cardinals) and then
Begin to sidle and float through the air, at last
Settling into colorful layers carpeting the ground.
At twilight the light, too, is layered in the trees....

(Read the whole thing here, at The Writer's Almanac.)


Friday, August 26, 2016

Ask for Chesteron on Dickens, and You Shall Receive

On Wednesday, I mentioned shopping my bookshelves for Ramona's upcoming school year reading list. Then, my friend Liz (over on Facebook) said I "should definitely read Chesterton's book on Dickens." I made a mental note and had another cup of coffee.

This morning, my girls and I were at a used book sale. You know that's always dangerous, but I promised myself that this time, I'd buy only books I truly love or truly needed, because otherwise, what was all that summer book decluttering for?

I was doing quite well. I had in my hand a Beverly Cleary that we've never read. (I didn't know such a creature existed! But it does! Muggie Maggie!) We'd also grabbed an Andrew Clements book that has long been a favorite of Ramona's. Anne-with-an-e found some Ray Bradbury, and Ramona and I thought that a science book that explained why penguins feet don't freeze was probably within our guidelines of "need." And since we don't own a copy of the Cary Grant/Audrey Hepburn movie Charade, I told Ramona she should definitely grab it. It was only 50 cents, after all, and Grant and Hepburn fall into the "truly love" category.

And then what to my discerning eye should appear?

We paid for our reasonable handful of books, escaped without spending the month's food budget, and we are all happy. No teetering, homeless piles of books this time. 

(Remember the last used book sale foray? Our spoil looked like this and my shelves were already overflowing:) 

Of course, the absence of teetering stacks after hitting a book sale also makes me a little sad, as it should any true book lover. 

Sorry, Marie Kondo, but that's a fact of bibliophilic life.