Made Just For…What?

For weeks my daughter has been on the hunt to find a costume that represents Queen Isabella from Castile for our Classical Conversations end-of-the-year party. Back in the 1400s, Queen Isabella signed off on Christopher Columbus’s quest to find the New World.

After searching unsuccessfully online for cheap costumes we decided to try Goodwill. Walking up and down the isles, Mackenzie sized up each dress, long skirt and hideous shirt, looking for something we could pass off for fifteenth century royalty. Finally she made her decision. With a couple of scarves to add some color and drape over her shoulders, and some stick on fingernails that were four for a dollar, the outfit was set.

When the cashier rang up our treasures she noticed the seams on the inside of the dress and said, “Hmmm, this dress looks like it was made just for someone.” She looked further and found a tag nestled inside with a name inscribed with black sharpie on it. Kim Peterson, UT Austin.

I smiled at purchasing something homemade, for I can appreciate all the work involved. I said to the cashier, “I bet the owner would be proud to know her custom made dress is now in the hands of a young lady dressing up as Queen Isabella.”

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The Power of “Come”

A few weekends ago my oldest son wanted to sleep outside. And when my oldest son wants to do something, he lets me know of his plans every chance he can. We could be talking about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and Caleb would insert a plug for his case to sleep outside.

Maybe it’s partly my fault. Being the mama that I am, I don’t tell him yes to everything, for if I did, we’d be fur trading in Alaska and eating bear soup for dinner. I make him work for his yeses. He must convince me as to why he needs to sleep outside in such a way that I understand his cause and want to say yes to him with joy.

So I had put him off for days but by Saturday night I had no more reasons to say no. He had convinced me and with a smile I said Yes.

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Because He Loves Me

“Oh Momma….come heerree,” my little man called from the back door in his sing-song voice. “I’ve got something to show yoouu.”

Sometimes these requests cause me to hold my breath, afraid there will be a finger dangling from its base or some disaster to clean up. But something in his voice this time sounded promising. So I stopped whatever I was doing and followed him to the back porch. You can imagine my surprise when I saw this:

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A freshly blown off porch (blower provided by Daddy with a rent fee of $2), wiped down picnic table with a beautiful camellia blossom planted in a vase. All just for me! Just because he loves me!

I engulfed my little boy in my arms and said thank you with all the reciprocal love I could find. Then I sat down across from him on the bench seat and discussed the finer things in life according to a seven year old while soaking in the serene scene he created for us.

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When God Asks for Everything

Well it’s time for me to eat some humble pie here on this website. So much has transpired in my mind since the last time I posted here. Let me catch you up a bit…

During the Christmas break and after Papa passed, I struggled again with this calling of homeschooling. I’ll save you the long boring details. Let’s just say that in the end the Lord showed me that this calling to homeschool is like a marriage. Sometimes we’re on the same page and sometimes we’re not. Sometimes we get along and sometimes we fight. But He’s called me to be committed to this relationship no matter what.

With that said, when I try to squirm out of this calling and imagine how wonderful it would be to NOT homeschool, I’m being unfaithful to this marriage. It’s like flirting with another man. GULP! That truth really broke me. God’s word is so sharp and so personal that it hurts when He convicts you.

It reminds me of my sweet, bouncy daughter. Her favorite thing right now is to kick her own butt with her heels as she walks. So literally, every other step she’s alternating her heels into her backside. I can handle the commotion for awhile, but by evening time when we’re in the kitchen together and she’s bouncing around I have to say, “Darling, STOP! Please just keep your feet on the ground!”

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Good Morning!

This morning my sleepy 13 year old stumbled into my room. Since he was the first one up, he nestled quietly into the coveted spot right beside me on the bed. With his head against a pillow propped up on my leg we discussed quite deeply the thoughts of a young hunter/trapper boy. Most of the language I didn’t understand but I tracked along as well as I could with my barely awake brain.

He talked about guns and what the calibers meant, how many bullets go in each barrel and so forth. And I just listened. We talked battle scars and injuries and how it would be good for his future wife to have some nursing background.

I marveled at how easily we embraced and how fluidly the conversation ebbed along. I wasn’t distracted by my phone pinging the day’s notifications and I wasn’t in the middle of teaching my other two math or English. It was just me and him enjoying some sweet conversation.

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My Grief Observed (Part Two)

Sunday was a hard day for me. I don’t know what goes on subconsciously, but even simple tasks like going to the grocery store and putting lotion on your hands can evoke such emotions that lead to tears.

On Sunday I did my grocery shopping for the week like I usually do. And what did I see there? Lays potato chips, bottles of peanuts, rotisserie chicken, cranberry limeade juice – all things Papa stored in his kitchen, some for him and some for my kids. A lump began to form in my throat as I pulled into the checkout line. So many times I stood in this line, checking out these items for him.

After I got home from the grocery store, Adam and I snuggled down to watch a movie. But before we hit play Adam grabbed some lotion to put on his hands. He took his wedding ring off so the lotion wouldn’t glob up inside it, and when he did, my mind instantly went to Papa.

When mom and I sat at his bedside the day before he died, she slipped his ring off his finger and as she did a pang hit my gut. That ring never came off. It couldn’t. It had a worn a permanent divot underneath his knuckle and couldn’t escape. That moment was when I knew it was for real. He was leaving me soon. Going somewhere I couldn’t go…just yet.

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My “Grief Observed”

Yesterday was the first day in 10 that I haven’t cried. Today is the first day in just as many that I actually put mascara on. Why put something on that will just drain down your face?!

It’s interesting to me how our brain processes. Every day is different. C.S. Lewis says in his book A Grief Observed, “Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.”

I see new landscapes each day, some more beautiful than the day before and some not so beautiful. Every night, my brain sorts and files the days information, trying to process this brick of grief. It puts all the day’s events and thoughts and emotions in a manila folder, slaps a label on it and files it away under the corresponding heading. I tend to wake up feeling better each morning, but as the morning turns to afternoon, the grief looms over me again.

I’ve heard it said death is like an amputation and I would agree. It seems to be after lunch I notice this gaping hole where a leg used to be.

Life just isn’t the same. Papa used to live next door to me and call me daily about silly things like how to work the microwave. My kids used to ask continuously to go to his house and play in the shop or fish at the lake. My dog would even run to his front porch if he happened to escape out the front door. I blocked off certain days from our schedule so we could spend time with him.

Now there’s just this void. I can’t believe he isn’t here for me to share this life with anymore.

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What Does 2017 Hold?

Dorothy was right…there is no place like home. We left for Arkansas on Christmas Day, visiting my parents and celebrating Christmas in Silver Dollar City and didn’t return home until New Year’s Eve. I actually want to unpack my suitcases, restock my kitchen and vacuum up the dirt tracked in on my floors. I’m even ready to think about school starting back up and I’m soooo thankful to sleep in my bed, with all my pillows next to my husband!

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Ringing in the New Year causes me to be nostalgic. (OK, really anything can cause me to be nostalgic, but especially when the calendar turns January 1st.) I think back to highlights and unfortunately low lights of 2016 and recall the lessons God taught me through them. Then I try to peer through the misty windows towards what’s ahead in 2017. I know God doesn’t see time like I do, so I try to align myself to His timetable.

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Living Peacefully in a Land of I-Should-Be-Doing

Last week was weird. It was our first week off of school and I scheduled to visit a list of friends we hadn’t seen in awhile. Two of them have new babies, which made it extra exciting to visit! But by Tuesday, my daughter was suffering from a sinus cold and by Wednesday, my stomach felt knives were digesting my food. Neither of which is appropriate to take among newborns!

So instead of hustling merrily around spreading Christmas joy, we were all stuck in the house. The cold, dreary weather outside merely mimicked my feelings and offered no motivation to do otherwise.

I easily said yes to my children’s petition to watch TV shows and movies. We may or may not have watched The Parent Trap and Fiddler on the Roof both in one day. Even after the kids went to bed, Adam and I perused Netflix and watched more Longmire episodes than I care to admit.

By Friday, I felt guilty for all my slothful indulgence, thinking about all the tasks gone undone.

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Lessons From My Favorite Artist

Growing up I did a lot of projects. My parents, grandparents and even my Aunt made things we called miniatures. They were just little wooden replicas of some of our favorite American nick-nacks like bluebell ice cream, old fashion school desks, pencil holders, stumps with a tiny hatchet through the middle with the words gone hunting glued across it.

My family was always painting one of these little jewels for a wholesaler who would then sell them to stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. Wax paper would be laid out in sheets across every table in the house with 12 dozen “pencils” drying before being glued to their “holder”.

So I would often set up my own desk and make my own miniatures with whatever paint and supplies I had.

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