Month: January, 2011
Dear Mak & Livy:
Often I wonder what life was like when Laura (Ingalls) was little. We’ve read Little House books throughout the years and played the videos over and over. You both know that there is something about those books and those videos that warms my heart and brings me to tears each and everytime I experience them.
Last week when Livy was sick, I watched an episode wherein Laura befriended a banker and unbeknownst to her Pa was attempting to get a loan from the banker. Eventually the banker accused Laura of only being friends with him because she was trying to butter him up so Pa would get the loan. Yes, it’s corny but the way Pa and Ma behaved toward the banker and the way Laura gave kindness and forgiveness brought me to tears.
When I was a little girl, I would watch the show and cry at the end of every episode. Yes, every episode. I remember one night after watching the show, GrandMary came to tuck me in and talked to me for a long while about how it was just a television program and that I didn’t need to cry about it.
Lately I’ve been wondering why the books and show touches me so – why it always has. I suppose I began thinking about it because I’ve had difficulty finding my favorite short Little House book and I’ve been scouring every bookshelf in our house searching for it. Looking for it made me wonder why the stories mean so much to me.
And then it occurred to me the day you both told me I was old fashioned. That’s it. Those two words explain it all. Old Fashioned.
You meant the words “Old Fashioned” to be something of a negative. Please don’t believe that time and technology and changes in fashion and things like that somehow make a better, more interesting society. While some of those things are wonderful, there are things that get lost.
I’ve noticed it since we’ve implemented the technology reduction around our house over the last month. I’ve noticed the things that often times go missing in this time……….now that things are no longer old fashioned.
Now our home, in the evening when the technology isn’t part of our life, we seem to gather together upstairs. It seems that my and Papa’s king sized bed is our gathering place. The other night, I was reading, Livy was dancing, Mak was playing piano and Papa was enjoying watching all of us. Later, we all just laid on the bed together and read to one another and laughed a lot. We shared stories and laughed some more.
What I’m trying to say is that Old Fashioned is often times a happy and lovely thing. It’s often times relationship building. Being old fashioned for me is teaching you what I value. I value the both of you and your Papa. I value time spent together, soaking in who you are. I value looking at your hair and loving how pretty it is. I value Papa’s smile as we listen to you play a song. I value things that get lost when there is too much white noise and activity.
Don’t let the world fool you into thinking old fashioned is something other than precious. If you do, you will miss out on shiny rays of loveliness eager to penetrate your corner of the world.
All my love,
For years I’ve been fascinated with barns and slightly covetous of all that entails. I’ll be capturing them throughout the year as a personal project.
She must be one of the most receptive, tender-hearted teenagers ever.
This past week, her papa and I sat her down to ask what the three or four most important things were to her. She listed the three or four things and then she waited. She knows when we have something to say. And she’s so respectful.
She sat there quietly as we explained that she has great goals and aspirations based on her list. The problem is that we didn’t quite think she was focusing on the things that she loves as much as she should be. After a few tears, we agreed that some of the privileges that she had would now be earned. They would be earned rather than assumed. Cell phone, facebook, summer camp.
Privileges ought be earned in order to keep one’s focus – that’s what we explained.
I’ve thought a lot about the conversation we had this past week about earning privileges. I’ve thought a lot about it because this young lady is pretty special and the truth is that I can’t complain one moment about being her mama. If she sasses me, she apologizes within minutes. When she’s reprimanded, she typically acts all teenager-y but quickly straightens out without any prompting by us. You see, she’s a respectful, God-fearing, loving, hard working, academically gifted, giving and sweet, sweet soul. God is working in this young lady.
The thing is this: He’s working in me too. And I’m trying desperately not to allow our family to conform to this world – in thought, action nor desire. Therefore, it’s my job as mama to gently push; to gently raise the bar.
She’s excited about so many things in her life but this world often crowds those God given desires right out of her heart. Texting crowds out her desire to play piano. Social media crowds out her desire to study deeper. All sorts of things crowd out her desire to work harder.
I looked deep in my heart before we sat down with her – to make sure it wasn’t mama wanting more out of her. If that were the case, that would be a dangerous way to parent. In order to avoid that, I asked her what was most important to her. And then we went about looking at how things were going.
She’s content in her heart about earning the privileges back. She’s wanting them back so I’m certain that the bar will be raised. Isn’t that what the Creator wants from each of us?
On a lighter note, this beautiful girl asked about makeup recently. Papa said if she wore it properly that it would be just fine with him. Her wings are getting sturdier and growing wildly. Soon, those wings will take her places away from me. While at one time I feared her flying away, recently I’m noticing my heart warming to the notion. I’m feeling the deep need to treasure now but to prepare for the day the wings spread out and take her to the places God has for her.
To our most bitter opponents we say:
“We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering.
We shall meet your physical force with soul force.
Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you.
We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.
Throw us in jail and we shall still love you.
Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you.
Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you.
But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer.
One day we shall win freedom but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process and our victory will be a double victory.”
“Loving Your Enemies” Martin Luther King, Jr. 1957
Ht: Justin Taylor
Dearest Mak & Liv:
As you grow older, I feel more and more like sitting you down each day to share my heart with you but the time is short and there is much to do so I’ll just jot it down here quietly and hope that someday you have time to read and reflect on the thoughts I’ve written.
Today I’m thinking about your Papa. I’m thinking specifically how often I pray that God will bless you with a husband (if you want one) near to identical to the one I’ve been blessed with – your papa. Be patient – it will take a long time, most likely, to find the “one”. Maybe not, but probably.
The first thing I can tell you about your pops is that he loves my family (now his family, too). Don’t underestimate how important that is. He never once demanded anything of my family………he just wanted to be accepted. And you know GrandMary and Beepa and Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Julie well enough to know that they not only accepted him but they loved him. It wasn’t difficult. He just fit – like a puzzle that had been waiting for one of it’s missing pieces. That, my girls, is an amazing blessing. He is selfless for them………once driving a few hours to help Uncle Jimmy out after a bad car accident far north. And just last week when dear beepa broke his arm, I asked Papa to load up the chair in our living room into his truck and drive it to my childhood home an hour and fifteen minutes away so that beepa would be more comfortable. Your papa did it with great joy without one complaint. When I called and told papa a few weeks ago that I needed to go and visit Grandma Danna and wouldn’t be home until very late, do you know what he said to me? He said, “you do what you need to do for your family, sweetie.” That my girls, is what you look for in a man.
I’ve heard it said that it takes 10 years of marriage before you stop being selfish. Before you stop thinking that your mate should only do what makes you happy. I was certainly guilty of that. I’m getting better, maybe. Or maybe just by me merely thinking that I’m getting better at thinking first of him, it actually means the opposite. I don’t know. I know that I am trying. The reason I mention it at all, though, is that I never felt that way about your papa. He was never selfish when it came to me. He always put me first. Before himself.
Tonight as he was running out, he offered to make a run to Walgreens for me. I objected, saying “no, it’s ok I’ll go out after you get home.” He replied “no, honey, I don’t want you to have to go out later.” I was willing because I needed eye makeup remover and didn’t want him to have to deal with that. However, he insisted and he brought back the eye make-up remover. Here’s the amazing part, girls. Now pay very close attention. About fifteen minutes after he left, I realized that not only did I need makeup remover but I also needed the cotton squares to use it with. I ran out last night. Here’s where I need you to pay attention: when your papa got home, he pulled out the makeup remover – the exact kind I had asked him to purchase. And guess what? He also pulled out a package of cotton squares.
Girls, that’s not little stuff. Your papa is selfless and knows how to take care of me. He never asks for anything in return. And usually when I thank him, he just tells me that he loves doing things for me because he loves me.
Sweet children, look for these types of things. There is much, much more to say about this and I will in due time. But for now…………just know that there are guys out there like your papa. Ask God to help you find them and settle for nothing less.
You have my heart girls. And your papa’s pinky has no room…..cause you are all wound up right there on it.
Love and kisses,
P.S. – eyes tell a lot. Look at those beautiful eyes your papa has.
This photograph is completely out of focus – the result of trying to shoot on Christmas morning in low light without a flash. Sometimes I am so stubborn about natural light that I mess the shot up. Note to self: put the flash on the camera and use it when necessary. Right? Right.
While I’m disappointed that the shot is out of focus, I love, love, love it. The expression on her face of complete joy makes me so happy. She received that headband – hand made – from her big sister for Christmas and she had just opened it when this photograph was made. She adores her sister – so receiving something so beautiful and hand made moved her. Can you tell?
Sometimes life seems like a series of curve balls. A good curve ball can serve its purpose. A good curve ball will strike out the batter. The next time the batter is up in the rotation, the crowd will soon learn whether or not he learned anything from the first one.
We were thrown a pretty icky curve ball at the beginning of December. The hot, hot, hottie was injured pretty seriously. And my plans for a relaxing holiday season with well planned events and activities went quickly out the window.
There is good news, though. I learned a lot. And that’s important. I’ll be more prepared next time.
In the meantime, I need to blog some of the activities & things that happened during the season so that I don’t lose track of them.
Early December (pre-injury):
Cutting down our Christmas tree with U. Jimmy (pre-injury):
Ornament Shopping (pre-injury):
Christmas parade (pre):
Tree lighting (pre):
Decorating our tree (pre):
Christmas craft; snow scenes (pre). Can you guess who made which?
Nutcracker ballet, Milwaukee (post): Although he wanted desperately to come with us, Papa was not well enough and we missed him terribly.
Livy’s dance performance – Nutcracker:
Each year, Livy falls in love with the Nutcracker all over again and dreams one day of being lead ballerina:
Quite honestly, the curve ball threw me off. I had difficulty managing to do everything I hoped to during the season. I learned, though, that we have what matters more than doing crafts together, attending events and sipping hot cocoa. We have a love beyond words.