The Way I Was Raised

I was raised with boundaries, and if in my childish folly I pushed them, the rod of correction drove it far from me. Who knew the writers of the Bible could be so spot on?


I was taught that respect was given before it was earned, and that politeness is never out of season. I was taught that a job worth doing was worth doing right the first time, and that the world doesn’t owe me a favor. I was raised to say ma’am and sir, so if that offends you I’m sorry, but that’s how I roll.


I was raised to believe that chivalry isn’t dead, and to accept it gratefully. I was taught to believe the best in other people, and to always respect other people’s time. I was taught that my word is my bond, and that what I do and say reflects on my family, so to choose wisely. 


I was taught that love is not conditional, and that kindness and a good work ethic are part of a good person’s fabric. I was taught that if I said I’d be there at 5, to be there a little early, and that if I was going to be late I’d better make it a rare thing and I’d better call and let somebody know or have a good reason why I didn’t. 


I was taught to appreciate the little things in life and not to sass my parents, even when I didn’t think they were on the right track because they were older than me and had been around the block a few times. 


And as I’ve gotten older, I have come to appreciate all these things all the more as I watch other people selfishly and thoughtlessly run roughshod over other people with seemingly no concern whatsoever. 


I will always be grateful that my parents didn’t have to worry about getting arrested for spanking a child because I’m far from perfect but I love and respect and serve people from the depths of my heart whether they love and respect and serve me in return–and sadly they often do not. 


I am glad I am the woman I am today, imperfect but striving to improve and glad for the chance to live in this big wide world for a time. And when God calls me home, I hope He is as happy to see me as I will be glad to see Him, and to at last be reunited with my parents who thought enough of me to do the hard thing and choose parenting over the buddy system. 


I thank God that I was RAISED, not lowered, believed in and not ignored, celebrated and not simply tolerated.


I can only pray that I am blessed to be able to pass along a legacy of parenting that will keep producing good people who are grateful for the way they were raised.


Because the world is a better place when parents really are parents. It lets kids be kids who have a fighting chance of growing up to be good parents themselves.


I am eternally grateful for the way I was raised.


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And it came to pass. (251-260)

All these things that hurt us, that sucker-punch us and take our breath away, they can’t keep gaining victory over us because they came to pass.

They came…to pass.

That’s something to be grateful for, that these light and momentary troubles (that usually seem neither light nor momentary) came, had their moment in the sun, and then passed.

The misunderstandings, the failures to communicate, the growing pains, the hormones churning and changing, the confusion brought on by one life season morphing into the next, they will have their day and then the sunset will come. There will be rest and there will be the rising of a bright, hopeful sun.

And in each new day we will encounter all these familiar hurdles but this time we are stronger.

This time we know just a little bit more, have a little more hope. We have a better outlook.

And outlook makes all the difference.

I face the new day, the new week, with a smile.

Gifts one by one, all the way to one thousand…

251. Phone call from my Bree
252. Ciabatta, 4 loaves, piping hot from the oven, packed to send with my girlie to her sleepover
253. Fresh-squeezed lemonade with extra pulp and a bit of zest
254. Poetic words leading a friend to think of me
255. Polish sausage medallions and cheddar slices on sun-dried tomato and basil wheat thins, with tart lemonade over ice
256. A longing deep within to eat intuitively according to the Creator’s design
257. Loving accountability among friends
258. Support showing up unexpectedly
259. My daughter’s thoughts on One Thousand Gifts
260. Anticipation of reviving a family reunion once vibrant and strong and connected

Dear Mama,

These are days I really could use being able to talk to you.

I think we would be spending a lot of time together, you and I. I wish I had made more time for you when you were still here. I know you would say it’s okay, that I did my best, but I would give almost anything to have those days back.

My kids are almost all grown up, Mama. How did this happen so fast? I wonder, did you feel like someone had sucked all the air out of the room the afternoon I told you at 16 that I was pregnant and by the end of the day I was a bride and three weeks later I was a wife? Because I have a daughter who is nearing 16 and thank God she has so much more sense than I did and already in her young life is wiser than I was at three times her age, but she’s growing up so quickly and I already miss her and she isn’t even gone yet.

How did you do it, Mama? How did you watch your kids grow up and move on in their lives without running after them and begging them to slow down and let you hold them just a little bit longer? Because sometimes that’s how I feel.

Life seems to be speeding up and I want it to slow down so I can breathe and squeeze the essence out of each little moment and why aren’t you here so I can ask you all these things?

The grief books lied. They told me it would get easier, the missing you. It isn’t easier.

I don’t miss you less like they said. I miss you bigger and deeper and more gut-crushingly than anything I could ever have thought grieving could be.

You’re gone too soon and I can’t make you come back and I am mad. Oh, I am so mad, Mama, and not at you and not at God but just mad because you should be here. We should be spending this time together, these hours that are coming so lonely, should be talking over coffee and joking silly like we used to and starting cookie dough fights and stirring chicken and dressing with our hands and playing UpWords and plotting pranks.

It’s been five years, and still sometimes in the night I cry for you. Well, sometimes in the day, too. Sometimes the only way I can get through this is to just not think about you, but that empty is worse. I would rather feel the pain than to not feel you.

I miss you, Mama. And I love you now even more than I did, and I wish I could I could hug you and tell you how these days I’m living through right now make me long for you more than I could ever have imagined.

The tears I shed for you, though, I consider a gift because they mean you are still part of me, still nestled deep in my heart where you will always remain. I see you a little more clearly each year in my bathroom mirror staring back at me, the you reflecting through my own features. Rosie has your smile, and sometimes when she turns a certain way I draw in my breath at the resemblance. How I wanted her to know you longer.

I take these things to God, and I ask Him to heal the hurt so I can keep going, keep trying to mother my children, even as they are so swiftly taking flight, with the fierceness and courage of the woman who mothered me.

If I can’t make you come back, at least I can make you proud.

The Calming of a Storm

I awaken to rain coming down and go quickly to the window where it is raining in and I close it and I sigh that it has to be closed away. I love rain.

Within moments it pelts hard and I go to the big glass door and slide the blinds away and watch trees swaying and bending in crazy directions with startling swiftness, water blowing in sheets changing direction mid-air.

Another storm, but not like the last one, filled with fury.

My normal routine is interrupted as lightning streaks across the sky too close and cracks quickly and I unplug my computer to keep it extra safe from surges, gather up my book and green plaid blankie and pillow and curl up on the couch where I can hear the rain loud and feel the breeze blowing through.

I read about suds and sanctuary and slowing down and I lie there with book propped on empty tummy and muse at the picture of filling with thoughts that nourish far more than food ever could.

I absorb it all, three or four pages of wisdom so dense it makes me sleepy again. I lay the book on my tummy upside down like a little roof and close my eyes and pull green plaid softness under my chin and rest.

Storm calms but rain is still falling and I think how much I love the sound of the dripping, the soothing away of worry and anguish from a broken yesterday and the promise of a rain-washed today, another day the Lord has made.

An hour goes by and I rouse to the beeping of a message and would probably ignore it but then I think about how I don’t want to sleep away such beautiful hours filled with rain and wind and thunder. I toss aside green plaid and hear my pen fall through the couch cushions to the floor. Squeezing my hand into the gap, I wince a bit and grasp it barely and fish it back out.

I will need it for the underlining of this new day.

The Blessing of Brokenness (231-250)

I was broken today.

Cracked open, heart beating hard, soul bleeding, drained out onto the carpet.

I turned from my desk, walked to our big canopy bed, crawled in on his side because I needed him, and wept myself to sleep.

My chest hurt when I woke up. I found out later my husband’s had been hurting all day. He didn’t know about my brokenness, but he felt it.

Ironic that Ann‘s post for today was “When You’re Feeling a Bit Broken”. A bit? So much more.

But not broken like Him. Still never as broken as Him.

And as I remember Him, and as He re-members me, I ask Him to never let me forget what it felt like to hurt over Truth.

Because He hurt over it. I didn’t die today, but He died for me for life and for days like today when all I wanted to do was curl up in His arms and be lost in Him. Or found.

Now, wrung out and weary from the fray, I rest in Him.

His arms are a safe place for the broken to rest.

To be made whole the way only He can make one whole.

Tonight I re-member.

The counting of gifts continues.

231. Living in the happily ever after
232. Baby girl screechy noises
233. A cousin happier for finding me
234. Sweet little grandgirl all fussy and tiredish and rubbing her eyes
235. My Mattie, home for two days
236. Rain trickling down, thunder gently rolling, gifts of grace
237. Smooth transitions
238. The buying of a wedding dress, the becoming of a bride
239. Sweet tea
240. Teen girls laughing, building memories
241. Coconut cream pie (and a buddy to share it with)
242. Dinner at the Hard Rock
243. Lovely girl turning 21, smile all alight
244. Lora feeling better
245. Tears collected in a sea of crystal
246. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)
247. Loved ones who believe in me (and remind me what it was like to believe in myself)
248. Being re-membered
249. Hunger
250. My beloved, my best friend