October, 2012

October, 2012
October 2012

Friday, June 21, 2013

Have I Told You About My Daughter?

If you know my family, then you know we are the parents of four children.  Each unique in their own way.  Sometimes it is the kind of uniqueness that makes me want to pull my hair out.  Other times it is the kind of uniqueness that qualifies as take my breathe away and melt my heart kind of stuff.  One thing is for sure, in my 24 years of parenting so far if I was keeping a running total, I am pretty sure the pull my hair out count would be astronomical in comparison to those melt my heart moments.  Yet, as any parent would tell you, the specifics of crazy moments fade away but details of the good stay in your heart forever.

So today, I want to tell you about just one of my children.  Brooke.   Because I am realizing more and more that Brooke, possibly more than my other children, symbolizes my evolution as a parent.  Why just Brooke? Well, I won't lie, Brooke and I have always had a contentious relationship.  She can be, for lack of a better word, complicated.  Because of that I think sometimes it is easy to overlook the fact that she is exactly what I have hoped my children would be....I just wasn't seeing it.  I wasn't giving her credit where credit was due.

Just a little while ago, Brooke came upstairs after she had been helping her Papa.  Turns out she was helping him of all things, trim nose hair and ear hair. Yes, you read that correctly.  Most thirteen year old children would run screaming from this sort of thing, but not Brooke.  He can't see to do those kinds of personal tasks anymore, so she doesn't hesitate to help him.

This type of helpfulness isn't just reserved for her grandparents.  A few days ago we were in Walmart.  I was busy thinking about my grocery list and passed a lady in one of the motorized carts. I remember wishing she would get out of the way.  I went around her.  About that time I hear a familiar voice say, "Can I help you find something?"   I turn around and watch as Brooke helps the lady look for crackers.  I had to swallow hard to not cry.  Most kids would have walked on just like I did.  Not Brooke.  This happens all of the time and isn't reserved for elderly people.  Children, elderly, and all in between.  Doesn't matter to Brooke.  She has the most compassion for people I have ever seen in one so young.

I said that Brooke was a symbol of my evolution as a parent.  Trust me, I know I can't take full credit for her heart.  That is who she is...how God made her. Yet as a parent, I have always taught my children that it won't matter how pretty or successful you are in life, what is on the inside is what counts.  Don't be afraid to take chances, but understand that means you have to accept your mistakes. Be honest with others, but start by being honest with yourself.  If you make a fool out of yourself, laugh and go on...don't let it define you.  I am more worried about how they will be as human beings in this world than I am academic or financial success.  Truthfully though, there are times I have wondered if I was giving the wrong advice.  What if I am wrong and should have pushed them towards more "popular" definitions of success.  Maybe I haven't been a good enough parent. Scary thought for me.

I have been spouting my wisdom nuggets for so long, I was pretty sure they were being completely ignored.  Turns out, I was the one who wasn't paying close enough attention.  They were listening. Brooke especially was listening.  For all of her frustrating moments she is precisely what I wanted my children to be.  She makes me proud and I just wanted everyone to know it!

****Ashley, Anna, and Ben... you know I love you all more than life. I know what you all are thinking as I go on and on about Brooke.   Just so you know, I see these qualities in all of you.  You are all what I hope for!   The way Ben will give his last dime to a person on the street or the coin collection boxes wherever we go.  Anna,  your love of all creatures and your trusting soul. Ashley, your gentle spirit and big heart even if you try to be cool and collected all the time!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pattern Play

A card I made for an online card class--Pattern Play.  Lil' Inker Designs balloon stamps and dies, Paper Smooches sentiment stamp, Birthday Sampler.

Please excuse this blog....I normally only write here, not post cards!   Made more sense to just use this than make a new blog!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Am The Greatest

Stop. Don't read another word until you watch the video above. Trust me on this, it is important to the story and not just a chance to share my strange love of Kenny Rogers. Yes. You read that right. Kenny Rogers. When you grow up in a house where your parents were convinced that all modern music would lead to drug abuse, you learn to like Kenny Rogers, The Statler Brothers, and the Oakridge Boys. That, however, is another story.

 "I Am The Greatest". Remember that song...it is important to my story. As far back as I can remember, I liked to be doing something. I really don't think it mattered what I did, but I was always doing something. I couldn't sit still. This often included crazy things like dragging everything out of my closets and drawers and reorganizing it. Today we call that ADD or OCD or something with a D on the end of it. To me then, as it remains today, I thought it was fun to be busy.

Mostly though, a large part of my childhood years were spent making things. I learned to sew and did a lot of cross stitch and embroidery that my mom would then have framed. A couple of those things are still hanging in this house. I colored, painted and glued my way through my childhood. Oh and I can't forget latch hook and string art. I say can't forget because if you have ever nailed 500 tiny nails into a pattern and then spent countless hours winding thread around those nails until you form a picture, you don't forget it. Ever. That particular project won a grand champion ribbon at the state fair and for all of that work, I deserved it! The strings formed a picture of two mallards flying over cattails. It was beautiful and hung in my parent's den for years.

My desire to make things didn't stop at crafts. I loved cooking just as much. That was a bit more complicated though since the kitchen was my mother's domain. Trust me on this, if my mother was busy in the kitchen, your best bet was to stay out of the way. Don't ask questions and certainly don't get under her feet. There was important stuff going on there. So I learned to sit quietly in the chair and watch. I watched and I learned.

Are you wondering yet how this relates to the Kenny Rogers song? I Am The Greatest. That is how I felt as a child. Everything I made was absolutely gorgeous because I thought it was. When my mother finally caved in and let me cook in her kitchen, everything I made tasted so good my Dad would ask for seconds.

Well, not exactly. If I am being honest here, then I have to tell you I wasn't always very good at what I was doing. At all. I was allowed to cook mostly if my Mom wasn't going to be home. Even though my Mom was a teacher, she had to work several weeks into the summer on home projects with her students. Those were the weeks when the kitchen was mine. I would find elaborate recipes and get to work. Problem is, a lot of those recipes would flop. My solution. I would dump the food in the garbage can and start all over again. Sometimes I would spend all day working on a simple meal and dessert. On those days when my Mom came home, she developed a habit of checking the garbage can. Sometimes she would laugh, but mostly she would grumble about the waste, then add all of the ingredients I had used to her grocery list.

Singing, dancing, playing the piano. Sewing, drawing, painting, string art and latch hook. Growing vegetables. Cooking. A childhood full of things to do and learn. A childhood full of blunders, successes, and garbage cans full of wasted food. Gosh, it was terrific. Fast forward 30 years and I find that I am still that child. Always busy. Making things. Trying new recipes. Although I do find that since I am now paying for the ingredients, I tend to make sure they don't end up in the garbage can.

Just like the boy in the song, there are days when I start out in the kitchen thinking I am greatest chef that ever lived. Then I realize it is just a pot roast, but still it is the greatest pot roast ever made in a crock pot. Then crafting, well lets just say I am a bit obsessed. I envision myself as an artist at the start of every project but the truth is, sometimes it looks like one of the kids did it. Still, "I Am The Greatest" plays in my head.

I hope my children learn from me that everything they try in life will not result in greatness. We may not always live up to our own visions of ourselves. That, more so than what others think of us, is what will keep us moving forward or standing still. They will have plenty of failures, but even more successes. The key is to never quit trying. To look at what you have accomplished and be proud, even if it isn't perfect. Even if you throw it in the garbage can, try it again.

Jason was standing watching me make a card the other night. I was carefully applying ink in a variety of colors. He just stared. I said, "What?" He said, "I am just trying to figure out what you are doing." I was kind of irritated. "Can't you see I am making something here?" "Oh. OK." Truthfully, he is catching on. I used to take everything I made to show him. I would ask him what he thought. He would say, "It's a card." UGH. He caught on, and now he says "Yeah, that's a great card!" (Emphasis on exclamation point) Even he knows I am the greatest. Ha! Ok. Not really, but he knows I am close!