Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

Brett & Relyn
I think this picture of my brother and me is a perfect Mother's Day picture.  It shows exactly how my mom has always made us feel.  Look at those happy, smiling, laughing faces.  Notice the book. Pay attention to the stylish home: the cool phone, the plants, the stylin', comfy sofa.  See the joy?

Motherhood in one simple snapshot.  At least, my own mother's version of it.  The ingredients she mixed are simple enough to write about.  But, they are not so easy to live out.  It takes courage, passion, compassion, intelligence, dedication, energy, prayer, faith, and so much love to be a mother like mine is.  But, oh, when you have a mother like mine...  life is nothing short of magic.

My Mom's Motherhood Recipe went something like this:

Laugh:  Give your children a happy childhood.  Laugh with them.  Play with them.  Listen to them.  Don't argue.  Teach your family that home is a place for friendship and joy.
Books:  Fill your children's lives with books and stories.  Read to them at night. Talk about what you are reading.  Listen to them read aloud.  Take them to the library once a week to stock up.  Buy them books as often as you can.  Have a personal library in each child's bedroom.
Home:  Make it beautiful and comfortable.  Work to keep it clean and tidy.  Life just works better without the clutter and mess.  Be organized.  Keep life in the house; nurture plants and pets alongside the children and marriage.  Take care of the things you are blessed enough to own and make your environment as beautiful as you know how.  Invite people over and treat them like they are special. Serve them nice food at a beautiful table and listen to their stories.  Be a good hostess. Above all, make home a safe place to return to after walking in this weary world.  Make home a haven and a refuge; the one place you can always find absolute love and acceptance.
Listen:  Keep the phone handy.  Let your child know that no matter where they are, what they are doing, or what kind of life they choose, you are - at most - only a phone call away.  Listen.  Talk.  Share.  Nobody cares about your life like your mother does.
Love: There are too many words for this one.  My heart is too full to tell you how my mother loved us; loves us still. Maybe this will give you a glimpse.  When I lived at home, my mom woke me up every morning with a song and a smile.  Every morning.  Now, we talk on the phone nearly every day.  And no one, not one single person know about the details of my life, my friends, my triumphs and frustrations like my mother does.

There just aren't enough words to speak the fullness of my heart.  I love you, Mom.  Happy Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday Morning Poetry

A House of Readers

At 9:42 this May morning
the children's rooms are concentrating too.
Like a tendril growing toward the sun, Ruth
moves her book into a wedge of light
that settled on the floor like a butterfly.
She turns a page.
Fred is immersed in magic, cool
as a Black-Angus belly deep in a farm pond.

The only sounds: pages turning softly.
This is the quietness
of bottomland where you can hear only the young corn
growing, where a little breeze stirs the blades
and then breathes in again.

I mark my place.
I listen like a farmer in the rows.
                                                             ~ Jim Wayne Miller

Happy Sunday, friends.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Happy birthday, my love


As a tween and teenager I was the very romantic, dreamy sort.  I read love stories and daydreamed about a knight in shining armor.  I planned my wedding in great detail and practiced kissing on the back of my hand.  As a teenager, I wrote the most embarrassing, sappy love poetry which hasn't seen the light of day in decades, by the way.  I daydreamed romantic moments that were a mix of the First Love from Silhouette love stories and my own imagination.  Full disclosure: I still have about 25 of my favorite paperbacks from those early teen days though I haven't read them in years.  See?  Romantic, dreamy...

In college I told my mom that I had no intention of getting married until I found a man who would treat me at least as wonderfully as my Daddy treated her.  I went on to list all the other things I wanted in a husband.  My mom is always gentle and full of love, and she is a truth teller.  So?  What do say to your daughter in that moment?  After a quiet minute, my mom looked in my eyes and said, "I'll pray for you to find him.  Because, I'll tell you, there just aren't many men like your Daddy."

Fast forward about four years to our wedding rehearsal dinner.  I would give anything to have recorded the toasts that night, especially my Mom's.  She told that little story, though her version was longer and funnier.  She told a little of my hopes and dreams and a bit about her dreams for her daughter and my marriage.  Then, she said something like this, "You know, I worried for Relyn.  I knew in my heart that a miracle was the only way she would ever find a man who would make all of her dreams come true."  She turned to my sweet Jeffrey and said, "Jeffrey, I know you are the man God has for my daughter.  You've not only made all Relyn's dreams come true, you've made all our dreams for her come true as well.  Welcome to the family."

In that single moment, my mother, who always knows the right thing to say, summed it all up.  It's been nearly 25 years since then and Jeffrey still makes all my dreams come true.  Jeffrey makes me laugh.  He holds my hand and kisses me at home and in public.  He is never has anything bad to say about anyone.  He's a snazzy dresser.  He's kind.  He's a good father.  I could go on and on.  Instead, I'll just say this:  Happy birthday, Jeffrey, my love.  Thank you for making all my dreams come true.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Faves

* Word Nerdiness:  Do We Talk Funny? by NPR

* Great Read: If you love memoir and art, you will love My Favorite Things by Maira Kalman.  

* Happiest Moment: When I accepted the offer to become the new library media specialist at my school.

* Something to Make: The link is broken to these homemade cards, but the picture will give you lots of inspiration.  All you need is a scanner and some pencils.

* Terrific Tips: 100 Things To Do When You Are Upset by Gala Darling

* Images of the Week: 212/365 by Kent McDonald

* Anticipating: Jeffrey's birthday weekend next week.  We have so many fun adventures planned. 

* A Song: "Till There Was You" by The Beatles

* Quote of the Week: "With mirth and laughter, let old wrinkles come.~W. Shakespeare

* PINspiration: All About Amore by Artifact Uprising

* To Make You Think: "Carry Your Own Weather" by Steven Covey

* In Case You Missed It: A Prayer for my Daughter

Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday Faves

Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Missouri

* Quote of the Week: "Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm."  ~ Winston Churchill

* Something to Buy: Don't you love it?

*Images of the week: The Poetry of Dying Tupils by Chelsea Fuss

* To Combat Stress: 101 Frugal Ways to Relax 

* To Make You Think: Someday by the Minimalists

* To Make You Laugh: click here

  * In Case You Missed It: The Key To Living Artfully

 * Some Things I Love: fresh flowers all over the house, unexpected dinners with girlfriends, pedicures, BIG rings, piles of bracelets, my glasses, prescription sunglasses too, spell check, orange popsicles, Fudruckers, blood orange gelato, unscheduled weekends, Silver Dollar City, dogwoods just beginning to bloom, making summer travel plans

Happy weekend, friends.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Friday Faves

at student on Dr. Seuss Day

* It's a Small World: What Kids Around the World Eat for Breakfast

* Terrific Tips: How to Save Money Without Hating Your Life by Sarah VonBargen

* Image of the Week: "Bouquet" by Danielle Ruppel

* Quote of the Week: "You don’t have to be in People magazine to change the world for the better.  You just have to do the best you can with the talents and opportunities you’ve been given, and spend your life trying to help other people also do their best and be joyful in their service." - Orson Scott Card

* Song of the Week: Gaelynn Lee, Tiny Desk Concert Winner

* Bookish Thoughts: for Jane Austen fans

* Film Fancies: "Bat Eyes"

* BLOGspiration: Bella Grace blog

* In Case You Missed It: Man Alive! Moments

Happy Weekend, friends. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday Faves

example for making masks at City Museum, St. Louis, Missouri

* Quote of the Week: "Don't avoid doing wrong because you fear the consequences.  Avoid doing wrong because it interferes with you enjoying God." ~ Lecrae

* Simply Amazing: Marble Machine

* Song of the Week: 500 Miles by the Proclaimers (makes me want to yell along)

* Images of the Week: Under the Tower by Shannon

* To  Make You Think:  Great Moms Don't All Have to Look Alike by Joyfully Weary

* In Case You Missed It: Saturday Afternoon 

* Something Interesting: because I love random oddness

* Some Things I Love: weekends with family, getting lots accomplished even during hard weeks at work, writing contests for my students, helping friends, thoughtful gestures, my iPhone and posts like this one, that Jeffrey spent a large part of his spring break repainting my bathroom cabinets just to please me, listening to Sloane play her clarinet, how excited my students were when I introduced our biography reading unit...

Happy weekend, friends.

Oldies, but Goodies