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The Small White Thing That Brought Rest to the Sleepless Baby Days

Trying to write a blog again makes me feel like my daughter when we try to wake her out of a deep sleep. Small arms stre-e-etch high above the head. The mouth grimaces in multiple contortions. The small eyes clamp tightly shut.

“Time to get up, Anina,” I say, because it’s past time for her to eat. (No, I don’t do this at night anymore.) “Wakey, wakey.”

She ignores me with utter and complete disregard, similar to her tactics when we try to convince her of the virtues of going to sleep.

One day our friend Barb was trying to wake her up. She took one little arm and raised it above Anina’s head. When she let go, the arm just stayed there, hand raised.

So, here I am, stretching and yawning, sifting through the last months for something to write about. “Time to write again,” I tell myself. “Wakey, wakey.” And then I think of it.

A small, trivial object unifies these last few months. I’ll never be able to look at this small white thing without thinking of the last month’s of pregnancy, Anina’s birth and the next weeks. In turn my mind will go to the woman I will probably never see again who gifted it to me.

Who was this mysterious woman? And what small, white thing did she give me?

One bonus of living in town is getting some of our groceries delivered. Occasionally the delivery people who bring our groceries disappoint us. The groceries smell like cigarette smoke or the strawberries are whitish-green or a substitution doesn’t make sense. But for the most part the delivery people are friendly and competent.

However, they don’t normally give gifts.

A few months ago I received a delivery and found something extra in one of the bags of groceries. It was a small cylinder wrapped in corrugated cardboard. I peeled away the cardboard and found a white candle with the words Bless This House written in black on the side. I flipped it over, found the battery compartment, and filled it with batteries. About this time I noticed there were two options on the on/off switch. I could either turn on the candle and have it run continuously or I could turn it on to run for six hours per day.

I turned it on for the six hour per day slot and put it on the kitchen table. I was heavily pregnant and still working two days a week. Every night when I would come home from a long day on my feet and find the candle glowing, a warm glow filled me. If I had been home all day, I would come out to the kitchen and find the candle glowing and feel much better about life.

It was a small thing, but one that brought light and rest and required no energy.

When I went to the hospital to give birth I took the candle with me, thanks to the hospital bag checklist which suggested “LED candle.” I set the candle on the continuous mode. Through the labor, birth, and subsequent D&C the candle flickered on the bedside table. Through those long first nights when Anina’s dark eyes peered at me from the hospital bassinet, the candle flickered in the corner.

When we got back from the hospital the candle somehow landed on the top of the electric fireplace in the front room, right next to the globe. I don’t remember putting it there. But now when it gets dark and I’m too tired to think, I see the candle flickering beside the globe, giving light to my world.

At a time when laundry and dishes don’t even get done, having a candle that turns on by itself faithfully every night at dusk is it’s own special luxury.

It’s too bad I can’t find this grocery delivery lady and thank her. She’ll never know that the inexpensive gift she left us took on a life of its own at a sentinel moment in our lives.

But maybe that’s the whole point of generosity – to not know how it affected the recipient. Maybe leaving results with God is part of the great blessing of being a giver.

Well, now it is 10:45pm. Little Anina is fighting sleep just as much as she fights waking up! And down here on the top of the fireplace, the candle is flickering beside the globe, shining light on my world.


Surprise, I’m behind schedule! I’ve just delayed the publication of Brady Street Boys, Book One, Trapped in the Tunnel, until July 7. However, I now have it listed in the shop as a pre-order. I’ll also post the Amazon pre-order for the ebook.

It will also be available for wholesale orders from Faithview Book Store in Ohio, so if you want your local bookstore to carry the books, let them know. It will also be available in print in Australia and England through Ingram Spark. It should also eventually be available in print from Amazon.

It’s great for me if you pre-order, rather than wait until later, so that I know how many books to prepare for shipping. Especially in this super busy time!

Can the boys escape the tunnel? 

Times are simpler in the 1980s. Terry, Gary, and Larry love their maple tree, their boat called the London, and the friendly face of the St. Joseph’s River. Gary finds comfort on the river, where he can use his upper body strength to row, and almost forget about his wooden leg and lost dreams. 

But nothing is simple when Mom spots suspicious characters in the empty house next door and suggests it may be time to move away. And nothing is easy when Dad and Mom assign the boys a summer project to learn about the fruit of the Spirit. 

Terry, Gary, and Larry set out to investigate the strange characters and prove that their neighborhood is safe. But then, the detective work backfires, and the boys are trapped.

Trapped in the Tunnel, Book One of the Brady Street Boys Midwest Adventure Series

What is the Brady Street Boys series? Based on the fruit of the Spirit, it is expected to have 9 books.

Terry, Gary and Larry Fitzpatrick live in northern Indiana along the St. Joseph River. President Reagan lives in the White House. Gasoline costs 90 cents a gallon. For families like the Fitzpatricks, computers and cell phones are still things of the future. The boys’ Christian parents teach them to pray and give them a project to learn the fruit of the Spirit. They help Gary navigate the pain of losing his leg and his firefighting dreams.

But having a wooden leg doesn’t keep Gary from adventures. With Terry the acrobat, and Larry the brain, Gary begins a quest to find an answer to the most important mystery of all.

What happened to the surgeon who amputated Gary’s leg, and has now disappeared?

Brady Street Boys Midwest Adventure Series
Another piece of art by the illustrator, Josh Tuft. He does a great job!

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