Saying goodbye to home

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I was blessed to grow up just 15 minutes away from my grandparents (on my mom’s side), who lived on a small farm in the country. Granted by the time my brother and I were born and old enough to remember any animals, the only critters there were rabbits and that didn’t last long. If you ask my mom, she doesn’t remember there being any animals, though she did have rabbits when she was growing up (along with a cow or two, possibly some other animals), but I’m going to stick by my memories of rabbits. There were also 2 huge gardens on either side of the 2 acre property and a small strawberry patch. The rest of the property was dotted with an old, small, pieced together barn (that held the aforementioned cow(s)), an old dog house, a small shed connected to a larger pole barn, an outhouse looking shed that held old coal, a large lean to where tractors were parked, a brick 2 car garage, another metal shed that held mostly fire wood, and of course, the two story farmhouse.

A small, murky swampy pond sat just on the other side of the back property line and it held many adventures for my brother and I, our cousins, along with friends and the neighbor boy down the road. On a side note, this is the boy who once said I could never shoot him and not miss. Luckily for him, it was just a BB gun, because I did shoot him….and I didn’t miss. My grandpa kept everything. Some may have called him a hoarder, but he was simply a man who survived the depression and was ready for another one. If the apocalypse came, I knew where I was going to go. That being said, out of his “junk” we made rafts out of inner tubes, wooden pallets and hockey sticks with the ends sawed off. Oh the fun we had pushing ourselves through that murky wonder.

The plethora of buildings provided us with places to climb, hide, explore, and play in. Hours on end were spent climbing tractors; walking through the barn with the very old hay, imagining a cow kept there; sorting through the old hardware, farm and garden tools, and odds and ends and climbing over the furniture and riding mower in the garage. In later years, my mom and I would dream of how we would refinish all the old stuff and open our own business.

Then of course there was the house. I recall playing Lincoln logs on the stair landing; having sleep overs in my grandmas room upstairs (and her portable potty chair that she kept upstairs since the only real bathroom was downstairs); trying to get the color to come in on my great grandmas old boob tube (it was a black and white tv….it took us awhile to learn what that meant); practicing my piano skills in the den (one of my aunts painted it an avocado green when she was younger); traipsing down to the basement and being awed by all the canned goods in the root cellar room, the unlighted corner that held who knows what and was covered in cob webs, helping with laundry in their ancient washer and then hanging the clothes out to dry, shuffling food around in the two deep freezers, and sneaking pop.

The gardens held a variety of vegetables and in later years, flowers too. My brother and I loved running through the corn field, though looking back, it was really just a few rows of corn. But when you’re small, the full grown corn stalks were taller than us and seemed to provide yards of mazes for us. Green beans needed picking, but that also meant munching away on fresh beans as we picked off the ends, dirt and all. There’s nothing better than a homegrown carrot and I loved eating the tomatoes like an apple with a little sugar sprinkled on. I would catch moths and other small bugs to feed the ants. I’d watch them tear apart their meals and carry them down into their holes, then I’d dig around and try to find the moth part. I never did. To this day it’s still a mystery as to how the ants ate, broke down or hid/stored each insect that quickly. There was an electric wire that ran around the perimeter of the main garden (the other garden grew pumpkins and other squash in the fall, and gave us our own pumpkin patch) and my brother and I would laugh hysterically as we dared each other to touch the fence and jolt ourselves. I would catch moths and other small bugs to feed the ants. I’d watch them tear apart their meals and carry them down into their holes, then I’d dig around and try to find the moth part. I never did. To this day it’s still a mystery as to how the ants ate, broke down or hid/stored each insect that quickly. Two of my old dogs are buried there.

You could watch birds and squirrels at the bird feeders from the kitchen window. We would tunnel into and build forts in the piles of snow after my grandpa plowed in the winter. There was a small hill in the front yard that gave us sledding fun and we’d often head across the street to a larger hill that, if you weren’t careful, would dump you into the creek after careening down. The row of pine trees along the driveway were full grown when I was old enough to notice them, but I marveled at how my mom and her sisters could jump over them when they were kids growing up. Ground hogs and chipmunks were always making holes or digging into the garden and considered nuisances. We enjoyed walking behind my grandparents through the open field that led to a forest with a fox hole that always had animal bones scattered around. I remember walking back there just me and a friend one time and seeing a wolf. We freaked and ran all the way back to the house. Granted it was probably just the fox, but the imagination of a young girl can run wild at times. Deer were plentiful and my Grandpa blessed us with a nice buck every year. Venison, mmm-mmm good!

Oh the memories. I could go on and on. That was home to me. It was home even though we lived in town. It was home when I moved away to college, and then grad school, and then got a job. Whenever I traveled home, that is the house I thought of. After my Grandpa passed away and then my Grandma, my mom moved into that farmhouse and has lived there the past few years.

Until now. The house has been sold; it no longer belongs to our family. I feel like a part of me died when it was sold. That was home. Our family home. My home. Our memories. It drew me back and called to me when I had been gone too long. It was a breath of fresh air, peace and tranquility regardless of what my life held. The memories flood back often and I smile at them, only now there are tears behind the smiles. It’s like an ending of an era that I miss so much.

 

Me vs. the President

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You know what has been really frustrating about this election? The power that people have put on our future president. It probably happens with each election, but this is the first one I am really aware of it being such an issue.

Let me ask a question: How will the new president affect your life? I mean, really affect your personal life, your family, what you stand for and believe in? I’m not saying our president does not affect us in any way, shape or form, but who has more power over your day to day life, you or the President? Who has more power over what your kids are raised to believe, you or the President? Who has more power over the people you claim deserve more rights and more help, you or the President?

I am a woman and I have a daughter. We deserve to be looked at not as a physical body that is either pleasurable or not, fat or skinny, hot or ugly, but as human beings who have been created in God’s image, fearfully and wonderfully knit together in our mothers’ wombs and are beautiful JUST the way we are. And yet, what am I promoting when I watch TV shows that show just the opposite? What am I supporting when I sit through a movie that depicts men lusting over a woman’s body and women trying to seduce a man to lust over her body? Am I not being hypocritical in what I claim to believe and want to teach my kids vs. what I am allowing into my brain and supporting with my money (books, movie tickets, cable bills, high speed internet, products promoted by sexual means)?

When it comes to teaching my daughter that her identity is in Christ alone, that who she is is so much more than what she looks like, who is she going to learn it from, the President….or me? I have a whole heck of a lot more influence over my daughter than any person in the oval office.

Abortion is always a hot topic when it comes to elections. Pro-life vs. pro-choice. A woman’s rights vs. a baby’s rights. is it a person or a fetus? When does it become a person? Which candidate is going to support what I believe and do what I think should be done? My question to you (and myself) is: what are YOU doing to support what you claim to believe?  Because again, it goes back to who has more power, you and me, or the President?

As a pro-lifer, what am I doing to support my claim that a baby is a person at the moment of conception, that he/she is formed by God himself at that exact moment, that to abort a baby is murder? Do I simply post articles on facebook touting my truths? Do I yell them from the street corner? Or do I do a little homework, realize that many abortions are done because the mother sees no other way out of a very real, very scary situation in her life, and find a way to provide other resources for these women? Many cities have pregnancy centers that provide physical resources and teachings for these women. I’m talking diapers, wipes, baby clothes, car seats, cribs, how to care for yourself and the life inside you while pregnant and as well as how to care for a baby and be a mom (many times a single mom). These clinics provide resources by way of women coming along side of them, supporting them, help with health care for mom and baby, etc. Maybe instead of spending our time and energies on hating the “other side”, we rally together to support these pregnancy centers by way of money, donations of items, volunteer hours. Let’s take the power into our own hands and really make a difference, regardless of what the law books say, regardless of what any president says.

So I say, whatever your beliefs (even if they are different that mine), realize that YOU and I have more power to be the change that we so desperately want. YOU and I have more power to help our neighbor, the homeless vet, the abused woman. YOU and I have more power to teach our children the truth. No matter who is in the white house or even in the role as our city mayor, no one has more power to influence our life and our world than we do. NO ONE.

 

 

Friends and Family

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img_6003-2I grew up surrounded by family. When I was young and my parents still married, I remember visiting my Dad’s side of the family a few hours away. From what I remember, I had a plethora of cousins. Now that I’m older and can actually count how many I have, it’s not as many as I remember, but still a lot. My mom’s side of the family was smaller, but closer in distance with my grandparents in the same town. We got together often and I have memories and pictures galore of the fun we had.

Now that we’re grown with families and kids of our own, the closest member of my family lives 5 states away. Thankfully I married into a family who lives only one state away with an aunt and uncle in the same town as us!

But I’m used to so much more, and I miss it. I miss them. I miss family that I see on a monthly basis. I miss the playing, the laughing, the holiday meals, the kids playing while the adults talked.

And yet I am blessed with an extended family, a family I call friends. People who have brought meals after my kids were born, people who have prayed for us and with us. People who we have shared meals with. People who my kids love to play with.

Tonight, Halloween, I was reminded of some of these wonderful extended family I have surrounding me. We ate dinner together, the kids at one table with the babies in high chairs and adults scattered amongst the table and couch. We kept an eye on each others’ kids as they ran from room to room playing with the toys (sometimes sharing, sometimes not), encouraged them to say “please” before getting a cracker to tide them over before dinner, mopped up messes made by whichever kid made it, whether our own or not, laughed and took pictures as the kids got into their costumes (and some adults too), and then went out trick or treating. Another mom held my little girl’s hand while I pushed my youngest in the stroller. When my camera ran out of room for pictures, my friends jumped in with theirs to capture the precious moments. As the kids ran around the front yard, getting lost between the cars and going inside and out, we all managed to keep track of them.

They may not be family by blood, but they are family none the less and I am blessed to have them near!