Showing posts with label Memories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memories. Show all posts

The Value Of Creating Tangible Things


My grandma on my dad's side died when I was around nine years old.  I remember crying at her funeral, but I don't think I fully realized at the time what I lost.  

My grandma was a really neat lady by all accounts, and I remember that too.  I remember her pulling out the toys for us to play when we went over to visit, and I remember going over with my mom one day to make a fall wreath craft together.  I remember her funny magnets on the fridge, and her glasses, and her big welcoming smile.  

I wish I would have had a chance to know her as an adult.  I won't really get to know her until I meet her in Heaven.

But here in my living room, I have two blankets she crocheted.  The stitches are intricate, and the colors are bright.  And I feel like even though I lost her before I was old enough to really know her, I have something of her every time I look over and see her blankets in the corner.

I was thinking about her blankets the other day when I was mulling over the value of hobbies.  One reason that I define hobbies as an activity that produces something is because of those blankets.  There is something valuable about a hobby that allows you to create something tangible, something to pass down.  Something your descendants can point to and say "My great-grandmother made that."

I have other things around the house that have been made for me.  I have hand towels and table runners and baby blankets that were crocheted for me by dear ladies in the church where I grew up.  I have quilts my mom made with me when I was a kid, the baby book she covered in fabric and decorated for me.  And I have wooden bowls, a gorgeous cutting board, and the quilt rack that holds my grandmother's quilts, all made by my grandpa.

All these things make me think that I need a hobby that creates something that my kids can hold in their hands.  I need to print these writings into some sort of book.  I need to print the photos I take.  I need to finish that baby blanket I started knitting years ago, I need to stop thinking about learning to embroider and do it.

Because sitting under my grandma's blanket while I read a book, I realize, there is something special about passing down something tangible.  Scripture tells us we can know things about God by the things which He made, and I think there is a sense in which that is true for us humans too.  I never got to know my grandma as an adult, but even now I can know some things about her by the gorgeous blankets she made.

Material things aren't as important as people, but they can remind us of people we love, they can remind us where we come from.  Holding something in our hands isn't the same as knowing the person who created it, but we can know something about the person by the things they made.  Tangible things aren't everything, but they aren't nothing.  There is value in creating something you can touch.

And this also reminds me not to get too caught up in this digital world.  My grandkids may not ever look up my Instagram account or blog, but they will flip through albums of pictures I took, or read words I wrote on a page, and maybe if I take the time, they can do those things while snuggled under a blanket I made too.


Do you have anything that was passed down to you?  Or have you made anything you can pass down to your kids?


A Trip To The Pumpkin Patch

 


She sat in the back of the truck, crunching on animal crackers and drinking apple juice. The wind rustled in the corn across the road, and through the leaves of the trees overhead. Five mini pumpkins were clutched in five small sets of hands, booted feet swinging off the edge of the tailgate while we took a break.

This is the best day ever,” she said to no one in particular, the breeze catching her curls.





I glanced over at Derek, and and his eyes were smiling too. It had been a pretty great day, chasing our five little kids through a corn maze, trying not to let them get lost. Hitting dead end after dead end, discussing what we should do next and whether that path was really part of the maze or just a cheater path cutting through the rows. Finally spilling out of the corn into a field of pumpkins. Watching the kids run off to find the most perfect one. 
















The reality, though, was that Derek and I were completely exhausted last weekend, after three late nights and three days spent out of the house. Our car had broken down recently, so we have had to take two cars to get anywhere for the last week.  We almost didn’t go to the corn maze, but it was our only day this month when we could. 

But sitting there with our snacks in the back of the truck, I was glad we had made the effort, even when a myriad of small things might have stopped us. It was a worthy trade for the excitement in their faces, and one small declaration of the best day ever, one sweet memory made. 

Small things that really aren’t small at all.





I hope you all are having a lovely Saturday!

A Worthy Way To Spend A Life




"Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here...
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear."

We sang the words, surrounded by faces that will forever be seared into my memory.  As we sat, I looked down at the program for the memorial.  The face of a dear lady, one of my many "church grandmas" from my childhood, smiled up at me.


"Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land."

Another dear face, a pastor I haven't seen since I was 12 years old, stood behind the pulpit etched with the words "Jesus Is Lord".  He spoke about how Jesus could return at any moment, and how we all long for the day when we can see His face, as the woman we had all gathered to remember is looking upon Him now.  And my eyes filled with tears, my heart filled with something bittersweet.  She led a life well lived for Christ, and unlike some memorials, I knew the kind words about her were not exaggerated in the wake of her death.  I knew all the words about her faithful service were true.

I hugged her husband, a white-haired "church grandpa", and choked up a little again.

We gathered downstairs for refreshments, and I looked at the quilted wall hangings she had made, photographs of her in her wedding dress. Her name will not be in a headline or a history book.  But there is nothing small about quietly serving others, and faithfully encouraging them to know and love Jesus more.  This is a truly worthy way to spend a life.  And the One who matters most, He sees and rewards His faithful servants. 

I looked around at all the people she had made an impact on, people who still are such a dear part of my own story.  And I realized, this lump in my throat wasn't just sadness for a lady a wouldn't see again, and a time that has passed.  I realized it was also joy.  Because no matter where life takes us, I know someday I'll gather with all these dear people again, around His throne, and there will be joy untainted by sorrow forevermore. And this all because of our precious Savior.  

This wasn't a funeral to grieve; this was a memorial to celebrate what Christ has done to save us, and to look forward to the time when we will see her again.  What a beautiful thing to be able to say.  What a wonderful way to remember one who has entered His glory.  And what a Savior, who takes away the sting even from death.  


 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”...But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."  

1 Corinthians 15:55,57



 

Read all my 31 Days Of Small Things posts here.

To My Golden-Haired Child, On Her Fifth Birthday

 


My Sweet Clarice,

Today is your fifth birthday, and as the sun was peeking up over the hill, I peeked into your room to see if you were awake.  As soon as my eyes met yours, you popped up in bed, and your face broke into a grin when I started singing you happy birthday.  This is your day, and you are bouncing and grinning as you take it all in.

This year with you has been a good one.  You have always been my quiet, introspective girl, but this year you started telling me more and more of what you are thinking behind those pretty blue eyes.  You have such an imagination,  and you are always coming up with funny stories to tell me and your dad.  We love hearing your imaginations!  You are also a little artist, always coloring and drawing pictures to mail to your friends and family.  Often in the last few months you'll present me with an envelope and a name of who the envelope should be mailed to.   I love how you've been thinking about others that we haven't seen often enough for your liking.

You have such a sweet, sensitive heart, and when something is bothering you, you get very quiet.  Sometimes I just pull you onto my lap for a hug until you are ready to tell me what's wrong.  I've especially loved seeing some of our Bible verses and catechism questions stick in your mind.  Hearing your sweet little voice reciting Scripture is one of my favorite things.

You're interested in all things princesses, and you color your princess pictures so carefully (you're really quite a good colorer).  You relate most to Rapunzel because you both have "golden hair" (when someone says your hair is brown, you sweetly correct them).  Your curly hair is beautiful, and you always make note when I wear mine curly, declaring that my hair is just like yours. Your big blue eyes are constantly twinkling with excitement or humor, and you have a bubbly and fun little personality.  Even when you don't say much, you win everyone over with your big smile.  

Your favorite color is pink, and when I asked you said your favorite food is "toast!".  Your favorite dessert is ice cream, which I could have guessed because on one of our days together this year, you thoughtfully announced to me that you wondered what mint chocolate chip ice cream tasted like.  We promptly got you some, and you were in heaven as you dug into your dish, occasionally sharing a bite with me.  Your favorite book is Cinderella, your favorite movie Strawberry Shortcake, but I suspect those answers would change depending on the day.  You asked for an Ariel birthday party this year.  

You respond "I don't know," with a grin when I ask you what you want to be when you grow up.  In fact, you frequently declare to me that you don't want to grow up at all.  When I ask you why not, you think for a little bit, and then it comes out.  "I don't want to leave you."  And it swells and breaks my heart a little every time, because way down I kind of wish you could stay little and stay here with me forever too.  

I love you my sunshine girl.  No matter how big you get, or where you go, I will always be here for you.  I'll always be your mama.  And even when you're grown, I think I'll look at you and still see you as you are now - my happy, blue-eyed girl, hopping around on the morning of her birthday, with the sun shining in her curly, golden hair.

I'll love you forever, my darling.  Happiest of birthdays to you, today and every year!

Love,

Mama





What We Did This Summer


Remember that summer to-do list I posted back in June?  Well, we ended up crossing quite a few things off my unreasonably long list.  We squeezed a lot of fun into summer, and as we are turning toward fall now, I wanted to record how we made the most of this summer, all the unusual circumstances notwithstanding!

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Trampoline Games - Check!  I taught the kids "pop the popcorn", and they had so much fun when I joined them on the trampoline!

Catch - Derek bought the boys some gloves, and he's been practicing catch with them this summer.  We never signed either of them up for baseball, but it's one of my favorite sports, and I'm glad they are getting some practice in!

Spray Bottle Sidewalk Paint - Check! We did squirt bottles instead of spray bottles, and it was a hit! But they used it up way too quickly.



Ice Cream Playdough - Check!  We used this recipe, and it was interesting - not much different than regular play dough, except it smelled like frosting.  I think this is basically the same way you would make fondant.  It's a fun recipe to try if the cooked-playdough recipes scare you!



Homemade Bubbles - We did try this!  It looked cute, but it wasn't my favorite because the cornstarch kept separating from the mixture.  But it did work!

Glow Sticks In Kiddie Pool - The weekend that we went porch camping, I also let the kids play in the kiddie pool.  I threw a few glow sticks in it that night so they could see it from the tent!  It wasn't as glow-y as I wanted it to be, but still fun.



Treasure Hunt - I put together a scavenger hunt for the kids to find some candy, using some free printables!  The prize wasn't anything super special, but they still loved it.  Clyde asked to do it again the next day, so I guess it was a success!

Reading Challenge - We did participate in our library's reading challenge!  I took the kids a couple weeks ago to get their prizes, which included a book, a journal or bookmark, and coupons for a free entree at Noodles and Co.

Nature Hikes - We took several nature hikes this summer, and it was so nice to get outside so much.



Play In A Creek - Check!  We found a creek in June, and the kids splashed around while I read.  It was lovely, and the kids begged me to go back.  Unfortunately the next time we went the creek was dry!  We'll have to remember that it dries up by mid-summer next year.


Swimming - We managed to go swimming twice!  My kids are finally getting to the age where taking them to the pool is less stressful and more fun.  The big kids do pretty well in the deeper parts of the pool, and the little three are great with their floaties on.  Wyatt and Gwen were even big enough to go on the slide this year!



Park Days - We visited several parks, including one where splash fountains were on, and the normalcy of just going to the park this summer was so good for all of us!  My kids desperately missed the park when they were all closed during the spring.



Historical Sites - We had to delay one of our historical site plans until September, just because of finances and weather. But we did add in a more local historical site, and I am totally counting it as a school field trip!  We also visited some local fossil beds one weekend.



Fishing - We went fishing twice, with plans to go more this fall!  We went to a lake near our church on my birthday, and we also fished in ponds that are very near our house.  The ponds looked really promising, but the fish didn't like our bait, so we are going to try live worms and go again soon!








Stargazing - We went stargazing in Arches National Park!  It was the perfect place to stargaze as an International Dark Sky site.  We found an empty parking lot, and laid on the pavement for about an hour, just staring at the stars with the kids and talking.  The boys also saw their "first meteor", which they were super excited about!  It was a good one too, with a long tail streaking across the sky.



Porch Camping - We try to do this every summer, and it's a big highlight for our kids!  There is just something special about sleeping in a tent.  And a bonus is that they spend alot of time playing in the tent the next day as well!



Campfire - The burn ban was lifted for a couple glorious weeks, and we snuck in a campfire a few days before the re-instated the ban.  It was lovely, and even Georgie got into the marshmallow roasting this year!



Regular Movie Nights - We tried to have a movie night with the kids every Friday this summer, with pizza and dessert!  We are definitely going to continue this tradition.  It's fun to introduce the kids to some of our childhood favorites!

Firework Fruit Kabobs - I did make these for the 4th of July!  They were so pretty.




Special Kid Drinks - At the beginning of the summer, I froze a bunch of kool-aid ice cubes.  When we were having a boring day, I'd just pour Sprite over them for the kids - it's sweet how something so simple can make you "the best mom ever", ha!


Popsicles - I didn't do great at serving up the popsicles this summer, but I redeemed myself in these last few weeks!  Popsicles all around.

Spaghetti Salad and Broccoli Salad - These are our favorite summer foods, and I made a batch of each to take on our end-of-summer trip a couple weeks ago.

Circus And County Fair - We visited our county fair for the first time as a family this year!  I was really happy they went ahead with it.  There was also a free circus at the fair, and the performers were great!


Dates - Derek and I were able to go on a date night this summer (rare occurrence)!  We went mini-golfing and had a take-out picnic in the park.  We also had a whole weekend away at the Gaylord hotel!  It was beautiful, and we had a great time.







Boys' Birthday Party - We threw a joint birthday party for the boys!  We did a party for the girls last fall, and had plans for a boys' party in April.  We ended up doing it in June instead!



End Of Summer Trip To Arches - We ended up taking a weekend trip out to Arches before we started the school year!  It was a really lovely trip, and I'm going to share more in another post soon.  I have too many pictures to share here!



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Stuff We Didn't Get To:

Regular Game Nights
Trampoline Sleepover
Drive-in Movie
Bible Verse Memory Challenge
Make Bird Feeders
Origami "Fortune Teller" with Boredom Busters
Puffy Paint Ice Cream Cones
Hand-clapping Games
H.O.R.S.E.
Tic Tac Toe rocks
Homemade Bouncy Balls

I am hoping to add some of these into our fall plans, and if not, I'll just tack the rest onto next summer's bucket list!

Did you all do anything out of the ordinary this summer?


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