Her Laugh

Do you know what really gets to me? It’s watching a movie that I know she would have loved. I did that yesterday when the kids were napping. I curled up on the couch and watched a movie. Through the whole thing, I kept thinking about how much Mom would have enjoyed it. I knew exactly when she would have laughed, and when she would have cried. In the middle of every funny moment, I could almost hear her laughter echoing in my ears.

She had a great laugh! When she laughed, you could see the twinkle in her eyes. She used to laugh so much! I think that’s one of the things that I miss the most. I miss that familiar laugh of hers. It was unique to her.

She laughed a year ago when I called to tell her that the kids had managed to pull the Christmas tree over.

“Didn’t you anchor it to the wall?” she asked.

“No… was I supposed to?” came my reluctant reply.

And then she laughed. Ten minutes later, she showed up at the door with Dad and we anchored my Christmas tree.

I suppose I’ll have to put the tree up soon. The kids really love the lights and decorations. I’ll miss calling Mom to let her know that my tree is up. She would always come and see it, and tell me that the only thing missing was tinsel! Then I’d convince her to sit down and have a cup of coffee. Her last tin of coffee still sits in my cupboard. Maybe it always will.

My nativity scene was a gift from her, two years ago. Some of the ornaments on my tree are ones that she gave me. Some are handmade by her. Memories, so many memories. All bittersweet now.

Still, what is Christmas, but hope? Hope for eternity, because of the sacrifice that was to come. Christmas brings me tears, but it also brings me hope.

Mom’s laugh isn’t lost. I think that right now, maybe the halls of Heaven are ringing with her laughter.

Patience Isn’t Easy…

How many times a day do I tell my kiddos that they must be patient? A LOT of times, trust me on this one. Yesterday, I discovered that I am just as impatient as they are…

I ran a quick errand for Aaron, and decided to stop by the post office on the way home. I ordered our photo Christmas cards over the weekend, and wanted to pick up the stamps that I would need to mail them out. I pulled into the post office parking lot just about fifteen minutes too early. They were still closed for lunch.

“OK,” I thought, “It’s only fifteen minutes, I’ll just wait so that I don’t have to come back later.”

So I sat, in my truck, with nothing to do. It was one of the rare occasions when I didn’t have any knitting with me. To make it worse, my iPod was also at home, so the only music I had to choose from was a selection of five FM radio stations. I flipped through the stations twice and found nothing but ads and music that I didn’t like. The car was silent, and I began to fidget. I remember thinking that it was really ridiculous that an adult who is nearly thirty couldn’t manage to sit patiently for more than a minute or two.

Finally, after what seemed like FOREVER, I was able to zip into the post office and get the most adorable stamps for my Christmas cards. (Really, how can you resist little gingerbread men and snowmen on postage stamps?)

I’ve told my children on many occasions when they complained about how hard it was to be patient, that it doesn’t get much easier as an adult. How true that turned out to be! Patience is a virtue that perhaps I need to cultivate as much as my children do.

It’s strange to realize how far I have to go. For some reason, as adults, we think we need to have it all figured out, that we need to have it “together”. I’m not saying that we should not strive for excellence in everything. We should consistently aspire to learn more, and to improve both our thoughts and actions. The transformation that Christ brings to our lives is an ongoing process. I do think that we should realize and accept that we, like our children, still have a lot to learn. I am NOT a shining example for my children. In fact, there are days when my prayers are something like this, “Please LORD, don’t let them turn out like me!” But I can point them to the One whose example we should strive to follow. Perhaps that’s the best legacy that we can leave to our children. We are created in His image, why would we pattern our lives after anyone else?

Tenth

Black Friday. Also known as my tenth anniversary. For some reason the irony strikes me as completely hilarious! I have always been told that I have a somewhat warped sense of humor… But I digress.

The early bird sales did not tempt me on the worst shopping day of the year. I typically avoid leaving my house on the day after Thanksgiving. I had no plans to step foot in ANY store, let alone venture anywhere close to the Bangor area. Then, I got an e-mail… There is the most lovely yarn shop in Orono called Fiberphilia. They had their third anniversary sale the day after Thanksgiving. They had 20% off ALL yarn! I needed a bit more of a particular yarn to finish a sweater, and I did need to pick up some nice yarn for some knitting I’m doing for Christmas, and what better day to do it, then when it’s on sale, right?

Joyce had already been to the early morning sales and back, she was actually sleeping when I called her. Still, she graciously agreed to ride with me to Orono while Aaron watched the three little munchkins. We were on a deadline, since we were supposed to have dinner with Aaron’s parents. I had to be home by 11:30 at the LATEST in order to be on time for dinner. (Yeah, we were late.) We got to Fiberphilia, and I found the color yarn I needed to finish my sweater, but there was only one left, and I was hoping for two. Maybe one will finish it; I’m this close to being done. I also found some yarn for the Christmas gifts that I’m attempting to knit. We got in line. I threw my yarn into Joyce’s arms and told her to keep my spot. I returned with more yarn. The line to the cash register went past yarn. Another skein of some gorgeous Noro Silk Garden followed me… Really, it just jumped onto the pile of wool I was clutching! We got out of the shop with my bag of yarn and Joyce observed, “We’re going to be late.” We stopped at Tim Horton’s for hot chocolate and headed back. We were late, but I had such a great morning with my sister that even the prospect of being half an hour late for dinner couldn’t dampen my mood.

After dinner Joyce and I went to Wal-Mart. By then, it was no more busy than usual, so I did some Christmas shopping sans insane crowds!

Joyce took all three kiddos home with her for the night.  So, Aaron and I had an evening to ourselves.

We sat down in a very quiet house to have supper. It had not seemed like it was really our anniversary, particularly a milestone like the tenth, but I suppose that after ten years and three kiddos, life gets rather hectic! We still had the chance to have a quiet supper, watch some TV, and just chat without being interrupted. It may have been a rather boring way to celebrate an anniversary, but I still enjoyed it. (With three little kids in the house, boring can be welcome!)

It was fun reflecting on our wedding ten years ago. The time has gone by so fast, especially the last five years with the kids. So much has happened, so much has changed. It’s been wonderful, it’s been hard, it’s been life. So much of being married is just life. It’s filled with the good, the bad, the crazy, the funny, the boring, the heartbreaking, the exhilarating, the irritating, the stressful, the fun, and everything in between. Having someone there to ride the crazy rollercoaster with you is priceless. Having someone to share the great moments, the awful moments and the everyday moments is something to be thankful for.

My husband amazes me. He is a man of character, and I treasure that. He had the courage to start his own business and work hard at it every day, and I’m so proud of him! He keeps me grounded, and he makes me think. He inspires me. I have no idea how he manages to put up with me, but I’ve not once doubted that he loved me with all of his heart. I know that it’s a cliché, but I truly believe that God put us together, and I am so very grateful that He did! There is no one else who I’d rather grow old with…

Anniversary Cake

Ever Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that all of you will be spending it with people you love.

I’ve got two pans of rolls in the oven right now. One pan will be going to a friend’s house with us tomorrow. The house is starting to smell really good!

When I was a kid, we always had Thanksgiving dinner here at the house that I live in now. I have wonderful memories of those moments. I even remember looking out the window to a pond covered with ice and snow on Thanksgiving Day! We used to have snow by then pretty much every year. Last year, when we moved in right after Thanksgiving, I had planned to begin that tradition again and have dinner here at my house. But I had not planned for Mom not being here to spend it with us. In truth, I just don’t have the heart to spend the day here, in a house filled with memories… reminders of what was, but never will be again.

Thankfully, friends of ours invited us to Thanksgiving dinner at their house. I will be fortunate enough to spend the day with not only my husband and children, but also with friends who really are like family to me. I am actually looking forward to tomorrow. My biggest concern is how my three little kids will behave!

In spite of the fact that I’m sitting here in tears, I can still find so much to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for what I had. I’m thankful that I had her for as long as I did. I’m thankful that she was here to hold her three grandchildren the day that each of them was born. I’m thankful for the tears, because it means that there were far more wonderful memories.

I’m thankful for what I have. I have a husband whom I love so much. I have three precious little ones who give me many reasons to laugh. I have a sister who is closer to me than ever before. I’m thankful for the other family and friends who I’ve been blessed beyond belief with.

I’m thankful for what is to come. I don’t know what is in store, but I do know that I will be given the strength to endure it. And I’ve read the end of the story. I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that He’s preparing a place just for me. Could anything we suffer in this short life compare to what is waiting for those of us who follow Him? If that isn’t a reason to be thankful, than I don’t know what is!

I don’t understand how joy and sorrow can co-exist, but I know that they do. One of the mysteries of grace I suppose.

Happy Doctor Who Day!

Today is Doctor Who’s 46th anniversary. For those who don’t know, it’s a British science fiction show. I was introduced to it by my Dad.

I used to watch the Original Star Trek and Doctor Who with him. I grew to appreciate the shows in time, but mostly, I just wanted to spend time with my Dad. Those are some great memories. Just sitting on the couch with him watching the strange TV shows with terrible effects, but utterly intriguing storylines. Perhaps that in part is what inspired my facination with astronomy and space exploration.

I don’t have anything profound to say today. But it was nice to remember some of the good memories that I have from my childhood.

Daybook for November 9th

Outside my window… turkeys yesterday, but none today.

I am thinking… worrying actually, about my test tomorrow.

I am thankful for… Camo’s second birthday on Wednesday!

From the learning rooms… sorting out how to make this work when life gets in the way.

From the kitchen… Jello for supper!!!

I am wearing… jeans and a black cable sweater.

I am creating… finished Camo’s birthday sweater and cast on a new sweater for me!

I am going… mad. The raving lunatic kind.

I am reading… I have too many books going at the moment.

I am hoping… that things come together for Camo’s party on Thursday.

I am hearing… my kiddos discussing the alphabet over breakfast.

Around the house… the house has rather gotten away from me as of late.

One of my favorite things… my children’s birthdays!

For more information about the daybook, please visit: http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

Glimpse

The following entry is from my journal. I pour out myself onto paper through my pen. If it is rambling, I apologize. If it makes little sense, please bear with me. I’ve written much about hope and grief this year. I want to give you an honest glimpse into my journey. It’s easy to write about hope, but so hard to hold on to it.

“Here I sit, LORD. Once again in the same place. Why do I return to this stronghold of darkness? Why do I allow this misery to consume me? Is it because this is familiar?

Oh God, this is not what I wanted! This is not what I planned! To be without her now, is too unfair. I didn’t want this, not now. Not so soon. The time we had was too short. So many questions that I never asked. The hole left in my life is eclipsed only by the one in my heart. Like a piece of me is missing.

Holy One, my strength is gone. I fell to my knees, unable even to stand. Here I lay, in my very own Slough of Despond. Cold and alone. Crying out to You, because I HAVE NOT THE STRENGTH.

Savior, my faith has been tested. I believe, truly I do. My mind knows the truth and holds fast to it. But my heart hurts. My black heart selfishly refuses to accept Your will.

Creator, break my heart. Shatter it if need be. ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.’ Mold my heart. Make it true. Purify it by fire. Let it long for You.

Great Physician, break me that I may be healed.

Prince of Peace, rule my heart. Guide it. Let in find peace only in You.”

Legacy of Love

I was seated at the table, sipping a hot mug of tea and paging through Mom’s quilting books for Christmas ideas. Lessons were finished, the boys were playing and Munchkin was drawing. It occurred to me that sitting at the table with my tea and quilting books, I was the picture of my Mother. She used to sit at her table with her cup of French vanilla coffee; looking through her books or magazines and finding more projects that she would like to do than she would ever have the time for! Sometimes I would sit with her, and we would both point out the prettiest quilts, or the one with colors that looked perfect for one of us. Those were good times. Nothing spectacular, just the ordinary. I find that is what I miss the most, the ordinary things. Things that I never thought to really appreciate until they were gone.

Mom taught me how to quilt. The first quilt I sewed was for her. Looking back I think how horribly ugly it was. The colors were just whatever I could find, and none of the seams were straight! My hand-quilting was even worse than it is today. (I know, that’s REALLY hard to believe!) I quilted a heart in every block, because Mom always said that every quilt had to have at least one heart, since it’s made with love. It was a truly awful quilt, but that didn’t matter to her, she loved the fact that her daughter’s first quilt had been made especially for her. Fortunately, my sewing skills have improved quite a bit since then due to the amount of practice I’ve had. But she was still better than me. Whenever I had something that just was not working out, I’d call her. Mom would know how to fix it, she always did. If she didn’t know, she’d figure it out.

The old treadle sewing machine that Mom learned to sew on is still at the house. It belonged to her grandmother, and when it was passed on to her she treasured it, and the memories attached to it. I have my great-grandmother’s treadle machine and Aaron’s grandmother’s treadle machine in my care. I seem to inherit these sorts of things, just like Mom did. I love the beautiful antique sewing machines, but even more, I love the memories, the legacy that they remind me of. I think of the strong, Godly women who passed on their skills and their passion for making something beautiful and useful to show their family how much they were loved.

I think that was the main reason that they sewed, quilted, knit, and cooked for all of us. Yes, they enjoyed the process, but they also saw it as a way to express their love for us. I’ll never forget the mittens that great-Grammy Lila knit for each of us great-grandchildren each year at Christmas. I’ll treasure the baby blanket that Lillian made for her great-granddaughter, and one day Munchkin can wrap her own babies in it. I smile at the piles of socks that we found, knit by great-Grandma Millie, who I never met, but I can see her love for her sons by the wool socks that she knit to keep them warm. Every night, I sleep under a quilt made my Mom and my sister. I sleep under an expression of love.

These women lived their faith. It was evident because they loved. They were loved by so many because of the love that they had for everyone. They knew what it meant to be loved of God, and because of that their compassion and love for others was remarkable. I aspire to their legacy in so many ways. I miss all of them, most of all, my Mom. She left me a legacy. A legacy of love that makes me miss her desperately, but also a legacy of faith that sustains me in my grief. I remember her trusting God, and asking Him for grace and strength. So, in this very small way, I can begin to follow in her footsteps.

Nervous Knitting

I fidget. A lot. That’s one reason why I knit. My hands HAVE to have something to do. If I did not knit then I would drive everyone near me crazy by tapping my fingers or clicking a pen. Knitting is good for those of us who tend to be fidgety.

It’s also good for those of us who are the nervous type. Like me. I’m knitting up hats for gifts right now and making excellent progress. When I’m nervous I knit faster.

What had brought about my case of nerves? I have an appointment with the dentist tomorrow afternoon. I’m a nervous wreck! I have not been to the dentist even once in the past 12 years. Yes, I know! I’ve just had other things to deal with than my teeth. Not to mention how freaked out I get at even the thought of dental work. I had three homebirths and yet the thought of a mere filling makes my knees wobble. Makes absolutely no sense, I realize this. I’m still nervous…

Do you suppose that I could knit while they fix my tooth?

Thanks Mom…

I woke at three AM this morning to words that make every parent want to hide their head under their pillow.

“Mommy, I got sick on my bed.”

I got up, changed the sheets and got her settled back in bed with a bucket close by. She was sick again a few more times before morning, and each time I got up with her. I wondered how many times that Mom had gotten up with me in the middle of the night when I was sick. I can’t even begin to count.

I never thanked her for that. It didn’t occur to me. I know that I thanked her for many of the things that she had done for me, but not that. There are so many little sacrifices that a Mom makes, and we don’t fully realize that until we have children of our own. I am just beginning to grasp what it meant for Mom to homeschool us. Did I ever thank her specifically for that? For making that choice and putting in all of the time and effort that it required? I honestly don’t remember.

There are so many things now that I wish I could thank her for. So many sacrifices made for me. Did she know how grateful I was?

I said a lot of things to Mom. A lot of really important things. I thanked her for the big things. I told her that she was the most wonderful Mom that anyone could have. I said the most important things. Things like, “I love you.” I don’t have any big regrets, just little ones. Because I never thought to thank her for so many of the little things.

She knew that I love her, and I really hope that she also knew how truly grateful that I am, for everything…