Wednesday, February 27, 2013

25 Years

a la Proverbs 31
Twenty-five years ago today I married my sweetheart, Monocogman. It was a beautiful, sunny day in western Wisconsin. Snow was on the ground and melting into deep muddy pools in the dirt parking lot at the church where we were married.  It was a mess, but a happy one. We were young and foolish then. We didn't ask for anyone's wisdom about marriage or true love. The love we had for each other was probably 95% emotion and only 5% action verb, but we were already wise in our own eyes. You do know that true love is an action verb, don't you, and not a feeling? We didn't know that then. What we did know was that if a man loves God and will obey him, and if the man's wife loves God and will trust him to guide her husband and make a man out of him, this marriage will work. Of course, we didn't know that by experience, but we were about to prove it.

When I moved into his apartment the first thing I did was to make sense out of his kitchen, and thus began the "worses" of our very recently stated vows to each another, "for better or worse". Since then God has given both of us great grace to endure one marital adjustment after another. The toilet seat is no longer an issue. On request, I make the bed right away when I roll out of bed. Dear husband has often been thankful for quick breakfast foods for supper. His neighboring-car-phobia, that resolve to park in the farthest spot from the door at WalMart to avoid dings in the car door, has abated through the years. I have followed him through seventeen mailing address changes. There have been some more serious "worses", but as our marriage vows also included "til death do us part," here we still are.

The "for betters" include the four lovely daughters we share, who are each a combination of our DNA and personalities. Add to the "betters" the joy of seeing some of those daughters come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ! And more "betters": the results of acting on faith, pay increases at jobs, generous gifts from friends and family, love and support from our church family, camp, and fun vacations.

I trust there are more of both 'betters" and "worses" to come, as I look ahead to our girls getting married (better) leaving home (worse) and making us grandparents (better), the growth of our little church and the ministry God gave us (better), as well as the health troubles that inevitably come with age (definitely worse).

This morning I found this beautifully wrapped little package on my pillow, along with a thank you card. How unworthy I am of a ruby ring! It brought tears to my eyes. Monocogman was so excited to have me open it. To this all-things-practical man I have nothing to give in return but my promise to continue to uphold the vows I made on our wedding day -- to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish. Love is a doing word, and it is by doing that we have stayed together.  Praise the Lord for his wonderful grace.  

God was so good to give me this man. I feel so loved and blessed by both of them! :)  

"Til death do us part." 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

From the Brain Archives (Creativity Is Still in There Somewhere!)

About three years ago I acquired several books of upholstery samples from a local shop. (Remember this?)  Most of the pieces are cotton and have several coordinating colors and patterns, but they are small -- not really enough to make one single item from.  Never mind the fact that I had no place to store them and no idea what I would do with them; they cost me all of $2, and what a deal, I just could not pass them up.  I made a few cosmetic bags for housewarming gifts and stuffed the rest of the fabric into a box for future inspirations. A year and a half later we moved them, still unused, to Minnesota, where they have sat in a box for another year and a half, occasionally admired and perused over, but not put to good use.

One particular combination of prints and a soft piece of leather were persistently calling to me, however. They would have made the perfect bag of some sort LAST spring, when the fashionable color was tangerine/orange, but I am consistently ten or twenty or thirty years behind what is fashionable.  If I were to make a tangerine bag for THIS spring, I would be way ahead of myself!

When I finally stumbled across Ikatbag's recent series of purse and bag-making tutorials, I could not resist the inspiration.  That woman is just FULL of creativity!  My purse began to take shape in my mind.

My purse bottom came together from the scrap leather.  The body was pieced from two coordinating pieces of designer cotton.  A third coordinate made a cell phone pocket and one for my pen.  A $1 find at Wal*Mart made the lining, into which were sewn a zipper pocket and one with a button closure.  A trip to the thrift store produced a shoulder strap, which was in its previous life a belt.  Add a bit of elastic, an old button, and many experimental techniques, and ta-da!  I am back in the creativity business:

Someone just offered me some more leather pieces. Once again, no place to store them.  But I think they would make an awesome backpack... in about ten years.  :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Finally I have my older children back.  It's looking like it is past time for me to be calling them children, however.

Alison and Amy spent the past three days and four nights parenting seven little darlings under the age of twelve.  My girls are now ready to be full-time mommies.  Maybe I should have waited to allow them to do this job when they were closer to motherhood, for what shall they do until then?  :)  I know.  We'll hire them out as nannies.  But only in our neighborhood.  I don't want them too far away!

I loved hearing how they trained the eleven-month-old to quit grabbing his bowl, the two-year-old to stop a tantrum, and the eleven-year-old to eat his salad. The baby only tricked the girls once into getting up at 3:00 am. The children had their school work, chores, and music practice done before lunch time. Keeping the house picked up promoted a peaceful atmosphere. Early bedtimes kept little ones from being cranky and unmanageable. Healthy, whole wheat homemade play-dough kept the children busy, happy, and creative for an entire afternoon. A sibling camp-out was allowed in the family room on the last night. Alison, who at one time shrank in fear from cooking, threw some supper ingredients together and twice turned out culinary masterpieces. One child requested sixths!

My two girls, who are total opposites, complement each other perfectly. Alison enjoyed being the boss, motivating the children to work, cooking for a crowd, and keeping the home and its residents in order. Amy spent the time playing with the children, doing the crafty stuff, cuddling and pretending. If we could combine these two girls into one woman, she would be the perfect mom! I don't know where they learned this stuff.  I wish I could say I taught it to them, but that would not be true, unless it was that they have learned from me how NOT to be a mom. I don't think that is entirely the case, either. This is a perfect example of God undertaking for your kids when you can't do it all, and even when you don't want to do it all.  I am so grateful to him for the work he is doing in their hearts and lives. And I am grateful to these children's parents for teaching them to be kind and compliant, because this experience has helped to reinforce Alison and Amy's desire for a large family. 

Now that they have been home a few hours, both girls miss "their" children.  :)  

And I am sure going to miss mine when they are gone.

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