Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Little Star

This seems to be my week for book reviews (check out my other blog)- which I would happily do anytime, by the way!  Part of living a "Barefoot" life, one that thrives on intention, creativity and community, is reading lots of books!  The latest book from Anthony DeStefano reminds me that Christmas is just around the corner.  We adore Christmas at our house, so I'm always happy to find a new book to add to our Christmas book box. 

This story is about a little star who struggles to be noticed by the other stars until one day he, the unlikely hero, notices the One, an unlikely savior.  Little Star recognizes that greatness is not determined by your size or importance, but by who you are born to be, and he gets to reap the benefit of that lesson. It is nice to find a unique Christmas book with such a great lesson to learn.

I enjoyed the idea of this book, though the illustrations unevenly alternate between looking old-fashioned-dark and overly-cartoonish.  Maybe they are just not my style.  DeStefano attempts to weave a tale of triumph that resonates in some parts but is sidetracked in others ("twinkle-talk"?) by some awkward moments (I doubt a star would keep a baby warm) and formulaic plotting.

My resident children's book expert (4 year old daughter) seemed unimpressed and did not ask to read it again, though we did our usual "unpacking" of the story, which she enjoyed.

All in all I think it is a sweet, fairly biblically accurate book, and I know it will make a great gift under the tree for the little book lover in your life.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Halloween Conundrum

I did trick-or-treat once or twice in my childhood, it just wasn't a big deal.  I don't feel like I missed anything.  As an adult I'm turned off by the commercialism, the candy and the greed that permeates this holiday, BUT I can't deny the fact that it is the one holiday that really promotes community.  When else do you get to wander around your neighborhood, knocking on doors, and not one gets slammed in your face?  So... I've been struggling with whether or not to celebrate Halloween in our family for a few years, knowing that we could buy some time while our eldest was so young. My husband has no moral issue with it, leaving the decision up to me.  Yikes.  But this year I've finally reached a decision (I know you are all waiting with bated breath). 

The answer is "yes."

Now for the Why:

  1. Halloween builds community.  We live on a corner lot, across from a park, under a streetlight, in a very family-oriented neighborhood.  I knew there would be lots of kids out, tonight.  Every parent who came to the door with their kids now knows we live here.  They saw that we have two girls, our house isn't perfect, and we care.  They are learning to trust us.  If there is one thing that my husband and I feel called to do, it is build community where we live.  Love God, love people.  As a homeschooling family I don't want to be completely isolated (and we definitely are not) from the neighborhood kids and the world around us.
  2. My desire not to do Halloween was entirely too wrapped up in worrying what people think of me and confusing myself in the process.  Ok.  Maybe I was passing a little judgment, too, if I'm honest with myself.
  3. Jesus loved the un-lovables.  He probably would've hung out with that werewolf kid from down the street, too.  Not that he would have gorged on candy, but I like to think he would at least give something out at his door.
  4. We can hold our moral ground as a family and still have fun.  We know where we draw the line for our kids, and that's the only line we need to worry about.  The kids will be exposed to "scary" stuff.  That's life.  And honestly, I don't think Halloween is half as insidious as Christmas.  Don't hate me for saying that, I do LOVE Christmas.
I'm fairly certain we are all familiar with the "why-nots" of Halloween.  I just thought I'd share a little of my process in working through this tough topic.  You know what's best for your own family, right?

We limited our small kids to one community event and handing out candy at our door.  Our focus is definitely on fall and the changing of the seasons, and has always included pumpkins, pumpkin patch trips, leaf jumping and more.  I suppose each year will add more excitement, a line drawn a bit further down the road, and more discussion about the meaning of Halloween.  In the meantime, stay posted for my overly passionate dissertation on Block Parties!  Coming soon- hopefully next summer, straight to you from the lady who over-thinks everything.