It’s reading time.

“Hey guys, come and get some food, we’re not eating again after this for at least two hours.”

There was a fine spread of apples, carrots, juicy oranges, cheese, and scrambled eggs.

They came running.

“Thank you for dinner mom!” my two year old said after he had finished his food and was sliding backwards down his chair.

I cleaned up the remains of lunch, reheated my cup of old coffee again, and then I eagerly snatched up my book I’ve been reading for the last week. It’s like a tiny retreat to delve into a chapter at random times throughout the day.

And as I was walking towards my spot on the couch, you know, the one closest to the fireplace, I heard a voice say…

“Can I eat?”

A second voice from the other room said, “Yeah, are you going to feed us lunch today or what?”

My eyeballs responded before my voice did. They grew sort of big and bulgy and they attempted to communicate a full sentence along the lines of, “Are you joking me right now?”

But I was holding my book in my hand.

My book by Bob Goff called, Everybody Always. As in, “Love everybody always.”

So when they sass you for not feeding them lunch immediately after you just cleaned up lunch, and you also reminded them several times to eat enough lunch and they clearly didn’t… Love everybody always.

When they say stuff, do stuff, forget to do stuff… and when I do all of that stuff too… Love everybody always.

Right on the front cover it says, “Becoming love in a world full of setbacks and difficult people.” I think he also meant to add ‘Becoming love while learning how to parent difficult children who aren’t actually trying to be difficult, but are actually just children doing their job.’ I’d like to think that was included in his initial working title, but it had to be trimmed back to fit the cover design.

If you do it long enough, continually practice loving everybody always, it’ll eventually become a part of you. I’ve heard this idea somewhere before. And that’s when my Bible beside my new book fell open precisely to this page:

Jesus said, “You are to love the Lord, your God, with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, with every thought that is within you,
and with all your strength. This is the great and supreme commandment.
 And the second is this: ‘You must love your neighbour (everybody) in the same way you love yourself.’ You will never find a greater commandment than these.” – Mark 12:30-31

I like to always be reading a book that encourages me to be a better mom, wife, and person in general, in tandem with my Bible reading. So when I was thoughtfully handed this book as a Christmas gift I knew it would be a perfect fit.

I feel like when I’m reading a chapter I’m secretly snacking on my favourite bag of potato chips, and the bag is bottomless. He has cleverly wrapped good insight, Biblical truths, and necessary reminders inside of creative story telling. So basically just a few of my favourite things.

And he’s funny. I feel like if we met in real life we’d have a really great conversation filled with a few hearty belly laughs. His ‘office’ is apparently on Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland… how did I not know that on our last visit this past year. And as if that’s not crazy enough, he even wrote his real cell phone number on the last page of this book… and as the story goes, he honestly answers it if you’re feeling brave enough to make the call.

I’ve read aloud sections to my children on several occasions. They really enjoyed Chapter 6 entitled ‘Skydiving,’ because my boys are wild and free and interested in the possibility of one day hurling their own little bodies outside of an airplane window as a ‘sport.’ I’ll be on the solid ground below them hyperventilating into the brown paper bag that previously held their lovingly ‘crafted by mom’ pre-jump peanut butter sandwiches.

Bob Goff has also written (along with his daughter) Love Does for kids. It’s filled with short stories about love in action and geared towards ages 6 and up. This book is also frequently read at my house, and it beautifully demonstrates 1 Corinthians 16:14, “Do everything in love.”

Love isn’t always the natural response for our human nature. Love has to be taught, nurtured, and encouraged to grow. It has to be practiced and discussed, read about and walked out, and these kinds of wonderful books sure do help this mama out.

Love does the surprising and unexpected things. Love does the regular old boring monotonous predictable things. God is love, and since we are to become like him… you get the picture.

“Whether we want to or not, we end up memorizing what we do repeatedly. It’s the way we were wired from the factory. Because this is how we’re made, it’s a great idea to pick actions worth repeating.” – Bob Goff (good old page 82)

Dear Bob,
Thanks for sharing your words.
P.S. Next time I’m at Disneyland I hope to find you there…

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