The report is out. Whew. Five years of teaching the early morning church class every day, followed by two years of this project, made for quite the character growth spurt. This weekend was one of my favorite weekends of the year, my church's semiannual conference. In my house, for this weekend, that meant watching church on TV in my pajamas and eating pop tarts. This was the first conference in seven years when I wasn't worried about a lesson or about working on the report. IT WAS GREAT.
You know what I noticed? That the class, despite the anxiety and work, has brought me so many moments of joy. Relationships with those students that will never go away; my own spiritual growth; the training that I received. It was such an amazing experience. So far, I'm not feeling a lot of joy from the report. But the story isn't over yet. There may be joy eventually, right?
Life is calmer now. I'm making lots of things. And, to bring this back to the subject, reading every now and then. I'm going to need a couple of weeks to finish. Maybe you will, too?
What have you been reading before you go to bed? I'm often too tired by that time of night, but there have been a few evenings when a book was so good that I stayed up way too late. The Hired Girl, by a favorite author, Laura Amy Schlitz, was one of those books.
It's nearly 1 AM here in NY, so I'll be lazy and copy the publisher's blurb:
"Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself—because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of—a woman with a future. Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz relates Joan’s journey from the muck of the chicken coop to the comforts of a society household in Baltimore (Electricity! Carpet sweepers! Sending out the laundry!), taking readers on an exploration of feminism and housework; religion and literature; love and loyalty; cats, hats, and bunions."
I really loved that Schlitz doesn't shy away from the heroine's stalwart Catholicism. Joan wants to convert her Jewish employers, all the while defending them to her disapproving friends. These days, religion is often portrayed as the enemy. In this book, it's part of why Joan and her employers want to treat each other well. It's why they try to do good in the world. And since that's my experience, I liked taking this particular book to bed.
I should probably head that direction now. Keep reading! Let me know what you consider a great bedtime book!