I can't remember exactly how I found Tony's blog. It was years ago, late one night when I was searching for something online. And I'm not sure why I call it Tony's blog, as if I know him, but it's what I've always called it, instead of its proper name, Sand in the Gears.
I remember that night laughing out loud at something he had written and then minutes later crying over another post about his daughter, Caroline, who had died of a brain tumor. I stayed up late that night reading the story of Caroline. I remember sitting exactly where I am now praying for Tony and his wife, who had lost their daughter, knowing that I absolutely, positively could not make it if my daughter died in my arms.
And over the years, Tony continued to make me laugh and cry. Along with his humor I think one reason I liked his blog so much was because of the stories he tells about his family and his honesty about his fears and failures as a parent, his brokeness, and God using his children to teach him. And I will always remember my favorite post, The Shape of Eleven.
When I realized he had a book out I wanted to wait and read the "real" version, the one that I could mark up and write in with a pen, but I couldn't wait and so I read the e-version instead, even though I hate reading books from a computer screen.
In this book, Somewhere More Holy, Tony walks the reader through the rooms in his house telling stories about his family, the grace and mercy of Christ, and what he has learned about what "home" should be. Among other things, home is a "sacred place," a place "where sometimes we are wounded," and "the place that makes us better than we could ever be alone."
Yesterday was Mother's Day, and I was going to treat myself and stay up late and watch a movie; instead, I stayed up late and read Somewhere More Holy from beginning to end.
It was definitely the better choice. I had been crying off and on all day, and even though I thought I was all cried out, I kept crying off and on throughout the book. But I laughed too. I laughed at the stories of his boys and I could relate to the fact that some days their home classroom is "like an insane asylum" and sometimes it is "the most peaceful of places."
This little blog post doesn't do the book justice, but don't let that stop you. Buy the book -- you'll love it!