Pop Pop’s diary

While looking for something else at my dad’s house recently, I ran across a pile of small diaries of my grandfather’s (Pop Pop.) They were each dated on the front so I quickly searched through the piles for the year that I wanted to see: 1965.

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I went directly to February 26, 1965…
The day I was born.

People are naturally drawn to information about their childhood. It doesn’t matter how old we are, we love to hear the stories. On this particular day, I was no different from the small toddler asking their dad to tell them the story about when they were born. I instinctively wanted to know what my grandfather’s thoughts were on that day. I imagined he wouldn’t say much since I was the umpteenth(ish) grandchild to be born. Surely he was used to it by now…

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Two days later, on February 28th, he notes that my parents (Loy and Marlene) named me. Had they waited two days to name me? What other names were they contemplating? Was it just that Pop Pop didn’t know about it for two days? My mind began to question all the facts.

Then I saw the entry on March 1…

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A poem??
The piece of paper behind these pictures is the penciled, handwritten poem Pop Pop wrote about me and tucked it into his 1965 journal. How incredibly precious was this find?!!!

The poem was rudimentary and difficult to read, but it went something like this:

We’re glad for our little darling Greta
With feathers of an angel from heaven.
Her coming has brought us closer together as a chain
With its length unbroken

While she lies quietly in her little bed
Tho not neglected one moment of the day
With prayers of her safety, have been said

Consciously waiting to show her the way
Are two Christian parents and a beautiful home
To help her and show her the right way to go
From infancy to maturity that she may not roam
Out in the world, and be tossed to and fro.

I don’t even care how elementary the poem was, my grandfather cared enough to immediately pen a poem about his newest grand-daughter. The first-born to his youngest daughter.

There I was, sitting in my parents’ home, 50 years after this poem was written, 25+ years after Pop Pop died, feeling uniquely treasured and significant.

As I read through the days following, I noticed a number of days tha and dit he was sick. Then, after getting the clear from his doctor, he headed to Kansas City to meet his 8th granddaughter

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I asked Scott if he knew anything about the Rock Island train.
“Oh sure. All those trains came into Union Station back then. Now those passenger trains are all gone.”

I couldn’t believe it; at the end of his Kansas City visit, my dad (Loy) took him back to Union Station to go back home to Duncan, Oklahoma. Union Station! The train station that I’ve photographed hundreds of times. The train station that I picketed for and signed petitions for in college to keep it from being torn down. Union Station where my children have gone on field trips and the halls of which Scott and I have walked in awe and wonder. Union Station, where my own parents would meet ‘under the clock’ when they were dating.

Pop Pop left from Union Station.

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Pop Pop’s handwriting wasn’t perfect.
His spelling wasn’t perfect.
His poetry wasn’t textbook.

But I mattered enough for him to write it down.

A half a century after he picked up a dull pencil and opened his tender heart, I received the words with deep appreciation and honor.

I felt treasured…
and honored…
and important…
and wanted.

All because Pop Pop didn’t wait until circumstances were ideal or that his handwriting was perfect.

It is vitally important that you write down your stories. Record your memories.
At some point and time, they will mean the world to someone.

Reaching out through death, with the help of a simple pen and diary, he hugged me tightly again.

re-purposed kitchen door

On a recent visit to Restore (benefiting Habitat for Humanity), I ran across a pile of old kitchen doors and drawers. My mind started whirling…

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I bought some drawers and this wooden, kitchen door that Gypsy is helping me show you -

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I removed the hinges permanently and temporarily removed the metal handle pull

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Using a palm sander, I gently distressed all of the edges and sanded down the surface to remove the shiny gloss/varnish that was still present on the door

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Taping off the inner square, I then painted it with black chalkboard paint.

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I painted several layers to get a full, thick coat of chalkboard, writeable space. Thanks to my father-in-law’s fully stocked workshop, I used a powerful shop fan to dry each layer – which took no time at all!

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After removing the painters tape, I then ‘seasoned’ the chalkboard. It’s important to run the flat edge of a piece of chalk all over the chalkboard so it will erase better once you start making your notes on it

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After erasing all my initial chalkings, I then wrote my message: Happy Fall, y’all! It’s ready to be hung on the wall for grocery lists, seasonal messages or boredom doodles – just add a couple of sawtooth hangers on the back. The door cost me $1 at Restore. The chalkboard paint cost was minimal since I used very little and have plenty leftover for all my other projects!

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I hope your Fall is filled with many fun and productive projects to keep you happy and healthy this winter!

Twenty-something

I have two children in their twenties. They are burrowing into their individual fields and making choices to further advance their talents and desires. I really loved this article from Cup of Jo and wanted to pass it along to anyone out there that might be in the midst of the weight of their twenties – it’s a difficult decade! And yes, I’m sure I will send a sweet Mom Note along to my kids to read it as well. It’s the kinds of things that I would tell them. I heartily agree.

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Project Life app

I have been waiting and waiting for this app to go live!

At the very least I can use this as a practice visual before actually scrapbooking it ‘live’…

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There are so many great things about this app, but the most exciting to me is the ability to sew together two 2×3 pictures to print off as one 4×6.

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So excited for this app!!!

Treasure Hunting

I love doing a little thrift store shopping wherever we are. While we were in Salina I found a couple of good finds…

A silver jewelry box. It’s nice to have a smaller one rather than getting into my big one for the everyday stuff. This thing weighs a ton!

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I will feel very old world, reaching into my bag and pulling out this silver compact case to freshen up my lipstick. I believe there is an ‘M’ engraved on the top. I’m pretending it stands for ‘Mother’. The inside has a small latch that lifts for extra powder (?) The mirror is in rough shape, but I love this find!

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Then something completely different: this metal Bake box will hold my washi tape for now but I can envision this being a gift of baked goods someday. I love finding things like this to include in gift giving later on.

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Lastly, I spotted this long, green frame in a pile of pictures. I originally envisioned the frame for some future project. Then I loved the cross-stitching on linen. I could choke the person who colored in the flowers and the bee with markers – eegads! – but will figure out a way to cover it or get around it. What a great addition to a sunny kitchen or…again, a potential future gift to a dear friend.

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Thrifting always fills me up when I find a few treasures amid all the other rubbish (aka: crap!)

Happy hunting!!

Desire

Many times over the years, I have used this blog to ‘download’ my thoughts after a Sunday sermon. After nodding and smiling and quick exchanges of pleasantries, Scott and I left church on Sunday, walked to our car, commented on the great weather outside, got into the car and drove away.

“Well, THAT was a tough sermon”, was all I could capsulize at the immediate moment.

“He did a great job, but yeah, after awhile I wanted to yell, ‘Okay, OKAY, I GET it‘ “, Scott remarked.

You know the sermon. The one that is graciously presented but contains a message that is very close to home for the majority of the congregation. THAT was our sermon on Sunday.

Our pastor, Tim Keel, has begun a new sermon series on sexuality. So you’d think that would be a fun series, right?! On Sunday, he discussed desire. There were many themes I have heard or thought through before, but there were angles that I needed to hear again.

Irony: Our desires are innate and unchangeable and yet how many billions of dollars are spent on changing and manipulating our desires?

Desire is always stronger than satisfaction. That phrase is something I need tatooed on my forehead. I am a dreamer. A planner. A strategizer. A future-planning addict. As a result, I always (always) have a strong line of desire going through my head at all times. Whether it’s blog planning, art projects, family event planning…BIG ideas. I have a strong desire to see things done to the absolute best and in the most unique way possible. A good friend of mine, Monica, and I have often discussed the downfalls of living with high expectations. That can be another way of saying ‘desire’. I desire for this event to turn out at THIS level. My satisfaction with it, however, will always fall just short of that. Desire is always stronger than satisfaction.

A simple phrase that, if I would embrace, could save me a great deal of mental exhaustion.

However, when we cannot satisfy our desire (which we’ve now learned we cannot), we compulsively try harder at it. If food cannot satisfy our desire, we compulsively eat more. When any form of entertainment cannot satisfy our desire, we watch more tv, go to more movies, play more video games. We don’t feel the sense of complete satisfaction, so we do.it.more. (Greta uncomfortably shifts in her pew.)

(Philippians 3:17-19)
We are fixated on earthly things thus that desire then becomes our shame.
How many times have you been in that vicious cycle?! I want. I shouldn’t. But I do. Now I feel badly about it. (rinse. repeat.) When we give our desires permission to control us, we are not in control of them. We have to develop ways in which to train them. This is where our spiritual lives step in. Name the desire. Expose it. Identify it. Then identify a strategy to re-train it. This can be your form of worship. As a response to any desire (sexuality, food, gluttony, greed, shopping, wanting), we initially feel a need inside us (“I want…”) and then we go and get it to satisfy the need. The secret, however, is to develop a pause between the restlessness and the response. We have messianic expectations – feeling as if we can quench the desire by doing ‘a’ or ‘b’. And yet when we choose to find the root cause of the “I want…” we can better know what it is we need to turn over to God. A good example for me is that when I am under a big deadline for work…the date is approaching…I’m feeling the pressure of it, I tend to start a c.o.m.p.l.e.t.e.l.y new and bigger project to avoid the restlessness I feel about the initial project’s deadline. I’m not solving the pressure of the uproaching deadline, I’m merely masking the restlessness with the adrenaline and excitement of the second project.

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Desire does not equal Wrong. Sin is a legitimate desire being met in an illegitimate way. Starting a new project is not a sin. What’s wrong is that I am allowing my desire (to avoid the deadline) to control me instead of taking control of it myself. Or more aptly, going to God and simply saying, “I’m overwhelmed. I’m in over my head. Help me figure out the best plan to work my way out of this feeling of ‘not enough’ and move into a place where I am confidently completing the project at hand.” I need to learn to stay present long enough in the pain until I find out the source of the discomfort. Our restlessness gives us a great source of energy, but it also keeps us from a peaceful heart and mind. This is where the Pause is of such great importance. I feel restless. Therefore, let me stay here for awhile to figure out where that restlessness is coming from. THEN I can take steps to master the real problem – not mask its pain with avoidance and distraction.

The reality is, we all are naturally geared to live out all of our desires at max level. Society = the restraint of our desires to live in a civil society. We have all learned to wrangle our extreme desires out of deference to other people. How do we learn to control those excess desires? That’s where spirituality sets in. It helps us to shape and discipline and train our innate desires – and if not, we allow them to rule our lives.

As Christians, we are living in a place that is naturally going to cause restlessness. We are in the interim place between the Resurrection and the Return. Our citizenship is in heaven. How many times have I heard that truth in my life?!?! But never have I so strongly identified with it! Scott and I are living between our parents’ homes when we are in Kansas City, and living out of hotels 2-3 weeks a month when we are traveling for work. All of our stuff (the things I have carefully collected over the years out of love) are boxed away in storage units. We do not have a place called home. We are living in the interim, and it is frustrating and often times sad that we do not have a place that we can fully exhale, put our feet up and feel as if ‘We’re home.’ On a much broader scale, Christians are living in that same temporal home. We are nomads, walking this earth, but awaiting our future home of permanence in Heaven with our Creator. That tension will never be fulfilled, this side of heaven.

What legitimate desire do you have that is being illegitimately realized? Is it causing stress? Restlessness? Shame? These are the questions I have been living with these past few days. I am learning to develop the Pause. Finding the root of the restlessness will ultimately bring me Peace.

Thank you, Tim, for so beautifully stomping across my toes on Sunday morning…