My sister told me I would like my little niece's new teeth, and I did -- very much so. Tiny little pearly white squares of cuteness which I got to admire regularly over the weekend, owing to the frequent smiles (bestowed like gifts of grace to one and all) of the small person herself. She is the merriest, most sunshiny baby I've ever known -- a result, I am sure, of my sister and brother-in-law's faithful training and parenting. They are doing a brilliant job of the parent thing and the only time in four days that I heard a peep from the MillieMoo was on Sunday evening when she did not want to sleep. And given that she had just tasted sugar (in the form of blue cake icing smooshed all over the face with tiny, fat open fists) for the first time in her twelve-month life, who can blame her?
I ambitiously predicted miles of reading, journalling, and letter-writing during the two seven-hour drives down and back up, but weeks of late nights and earlyish mornings leading up to our trip meant I didn't do much at all on the drive down. Predicting more of the same on the drive back up, I packed my books and notes and such into my luggage and not my handbag. But of course, I was all full of beans and with everyone else asleep except for Dad, the driver (and I appreciate his abilities to soldier on!) had nothing to read for most of the trip. In desperation I dug through my sister's gear and found Elisabeth Elliot's Passion & Purity, which I last read about a year ago. I hadn't forgotten, but I also hadn't particularly remembered how brilliant that book is. Last year, I read it for its wonderful perspective on romance. This time, as the coast passed by on my right hand shoulder, I couldn't help seeing how much this book simply has to say about faith in general, romance or no. God used that haphazard re-reading to remind me of some wonderful truths.
So I must say it: seriously, if you haven't read anything by Elisabeth Elliot, now is the time to begin. Her writings have profoundly influenced my faith life in a way no other living author's have (except perhaps John Piper). She is, to me, the personification of the Titus 2 older woman and her words are full of smart, Scripture-soaked, witty commonsense. If you don't know where to start, try Through Gates of Splendour or (especially relevant to women) Keep A Quiet Heart, a collection of all her best snippets.
Kristy -- Thank you; it's good to be back!
Tegan -- You are most gracious to concede just for the weekend. You are so right: no one's niece is as wonderful as your own! Bless you :).
And a special shout-out to Bethany -- whose seventeeth birthday was on Sunday. Hope it was awesome!