Two little gentlemen stand by the tree,
Two precious grandsons for Tom and me.
A dear little sister will soon join the fun,
Grandchildren joy has just begun!
~ Grandma Ing
This is my husband, Tom, last night leaving to play the opening night of Tosca. He perpetually amazes me (20 years and counting) with all that he is and all that he does. Proud to know you, Tom Schlueter, and glad that you love me and our children. We love you right back. As Snow White once said about Prince Charming, there isn’t anybody like him, anywhere at all. ❤
Here’s a heart-warming story of a holocaust survivor who has set up a fund to rescue the persecuted Christians in Syria who are facing terrible persecution.
Charles Krauthammer writes about this amazing man in an article in National Review.
“The consequences for Christians [in the Middle East] are terrible — enslavement, exile, torture, massacre, crucifixion.” — Charles Krauthammer
But a man, who himself was taken in by Christians in 1938, has stepped up to try to help. Here’s the story.
“We need to take a last walk here before we leave,” Emmy said this morning. We’ve sold our current house, and the moving truck will be here in a few days to move our things to the new place.
It will be bittersweet walking with my little daughter on our old route one last time. We know about every tree and yard and house along the way from memory. Emily has grown up on that route, having accompanied me on the walk before she was even born. Then it was in the stroller, then running and playing the route as a preschooler, then a kindergartner and now, nearly a first grader on the brink of her sixth birthday.
I’ve watched the sunshine in her brown hair that has the gold highlights, seen her limbs get longer and longer and lose their chubbiness. I’ve listened to her questions about the world and God and flowers and birds along that route. Walks are great conversation times with children. You have the privilege of introducing them to the larger world. Those are precious memories to me that are locked away in the bank vault that all mothers have in their hearts.
We tentatively walked near our new house the other day. It will take a while to feel like it’s home. The houses and yards are unfamiliar, and there aren’t sidewalks like there are in our old neighborhood. There is the paved trail to the south of our house where people bike and walk. We’re going to have to explore that. Along the avenue before you turn into our new subdivision there is sidewalk that runs north for quite a ways. The nature preserve to the west of the avenue makes it feel like you are suddenly in the country. I liked that a lot when I drove past.
I met a walking neighbor in her late 70’s. She walks five miles a day. We have met several neighbors who are original home builders/owners in the neighborhood and had a wonderful chat with several the other evening after they approached us while we were working in our yard. New friends are already being made.
I was in the back by my flowers inside my picket fence the other evening when I suddenly heard a high piping voice of a child calling out in excitement.
It was little Peter, my grandson, and his baby brother Max standing on the other side of my gate, waiting to be let in. Grammy and Grandpa’s new yard.
New adventures are calling, and there are new memories to be made!
“Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment in life.” ~ Unknown
P.S. Tom’s friend who has a big garden came over the other night and told us what we had in our new flower garden and front mound. The previous owner was an avid gardener who clearly knew much about flowers and bushes. He made suggestions about what to pull and what to leave, and with my sister-in-law and her husband’s help this week, the place looks wonderful. They removed some of the dying plants that had been neglected too long and did some pruning back of bushes and roses. Tom, Kris and Mike cut back the beautiful magnolia tree in the front so the light comes into the front of the house now. It’s all coming along, one step at a time.
We’re in the throes of moving, with one house on the market while another is being readied for move-in. It’s that stage when chaos reigns! Lord willing, we will be past this stage soon. In the midst of the move, Tom and I took an evening off on the 30th to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We tried out a restaurant we hadn’t been to before, and we enjoyed it greatly.
As we pack up our home of nine years, so many memories come to mind. This is where children left home, with the last son off to college again in the fall. This is where we brought our delightful surprise baby, Emmy, home almost six years ago. Birthday parties, anniversary parties and so many celebrations took place here. This is where Will got his start practicing the organ in the basement and he and his dad have filled the walls with music. Much joy, some sadness, but lots of love.
It isn’t the walls that make a home. It’s the people who make it a joyful or tragic place. Tom has given all of us a beautiful life, and together, Tom and I are a team . we give full credit to God’s grace for carrying us through.
Every home is temporary on this planet, including the home we have in our bodies. Our souls are forever. Packing up things for Goodwill or give-away, I was thinking again of how yesterday’s happy purchase is today’s discard as we outgrow and no longer need things. Our heavenly home is forever, where nothing will fade, and nobody will age, and where all sadness will be wiped away forever. Thanks be to God for his gift of Jesus Christ through whom we have forgiveness of sins and life eternal.
Now, back to packing!
There are lists all over the place online such as, 10 Things to Always Do in Your Marriage, Five Things Never to Say To Your Spouse, 20 Ways to Affair Proof Your Marriage, and so forth. Good articles and lists can be good thought provokers . That isn’t what this post is.
It will be 20 years on June 30 since I married Tom. I’m writing this early, as I am in the middle of a move (our next big adventure), and I won’t be able to six days from now. Looking backward, I don’t have great prose, lofty advice or a smug account of how we’ve made it this far. God’s love and grace is the only explanation.
I knew the first time I laid eyes on Tom that he was a fine man. It’s one of those instinctive things I can’t explain. I’ve heard people describe love at first sight. Yes, there is such a thing. On this 20th anniversary, the only thing that has changed is that I love him more. It’s because of him that I know God’s love is a real thing. I see it in him every day in how he loves me and our children. Constant, faithful, kind and decent to the core. That’s who Tom is.
Coming back from a walk the other night, we admired the birch tree he planted a few years ago in the front of our home. It’s thriving. In each home we have lived at through the years, Tom has left something living behind. At one house, it was shrubbery. At three others, he has planted birch trees. He grows things and fixes things. One of the first things he ever did for me as a single parent before we were married was to repair a broken leg on a chair. What’s broken he restores with careful hands.
We’ve gone through a lot in 20 years, weathered a lot of storms. Sometimes he leans on me, sometimes, (most of the time), I lean on him. Sometimes we lean into each other to keep from falling over. That’s what a life’s partner is all about. Just two people, walking through everything together, and looking up to realize a lifetime has gone by.
(The photo on this post is one I kept on my dresser through the months before we were engaged and then married. My favorite snapshot of the man who changed my life.)
I’ve added three posts in the last 24 hours. That’s a change, but today my son Samuel is 27-years-old. It’s always hard for us as parents to fathom how quickly our children are grown. It boggles my mind that Sam could be this age already. He should still be the little guy with the dimple that I tucked into bed.
One of Sam’s gifts has always been a kind and tender heart. He is also spiritual in his outlook and a serious thinker. When he was three-years-old I came into his bedroom to tuck him into bed and he had his arms out hugging something invisible. When I asked him what he was doing, he told me he was hugging Jesus good-night, because he loved him. I never forgot the faith of Sam as a child, and was reminded how precious that must be to the Lord.
Sam is now a loving husband to Laura and father of two darling little boys, Peter and Max. He is also Communications Director for Pro-Life Wisconsin. He spends his time writing and speaking as an advocate for the voiceless, the little people who are forgotten in our culture.
I am thankful for him and his loving presence on our lives. He is always ready to help others and his wife and babies adore him. That is the greatest measure of a man’s character. God bless you, Sammy. (I still call you that.) Happy Birthday!
Which reminds me, I have to share a photo I snapped this week of Peter and Max. I am a grandmother, so please indulge me. These are Grammy’s boys. ❤
When I can’t sleep at night I make my way to my favorite seat in the house, Emmy’s rocking chair. Tom bought it for me before she was born. When trying out upholstered rockers, I knew instantly that this was the one. The back is wonderfully soft and comes up high enough that you can lay your head back. Also, the arms are low enough to be comfortable, a rare thing to find in rockers. It’s a glider with a footstool, and often the rocking is so smooth that I can doze off in that wonderful chair.
The other night I tucked Em in bed, and she took my hand. “I know that sometimes you come in here and rock in my chair,” she said. “It makes me happy.”
I hadn’t realized that she was aware of my presence in the dead hours of night, but she was. Children without close siblings or any siblings don’t know the comfort of having someone near at hand when there are shadows on the wall or when bad dreams frighten. When I was little, I had my little sister close by. When we were small, we had a double bed, and there was absolutely nothing more comforting than to feel my warm little sister by my back at night. We shared our secret plans for playing the next day and all our sisterly secrets. When she was near, all was well.
Charlie and Sammy were the same way. When they were small, I moved to a duplex with three bedrooms, the third being a perfectly-sized little room for my three-year-old, Sammy. I bought a twin bed and set it up for him with a cowboy bedspread, thinking he’d like having his own little place. But every morning, I kept finding either Charlie curled up on Sammy’s bed or Sammy curled up on Charlie’s bed. They didn’t care about having their own space. They wanted the comfort of having each other nearby at night. So I got a double bed for Charlie’s room, and they were pleased as punch to be back in the same cozy bedroom.
I read an article once about a movie celebrity who had two young children. She had a huge house in New England, and there was an accompanying photo spread of the luxury bedrooms fitted out by a famous designer. But one line in particular in the story caught my eye. It was beneath a photo of a tiny bedroom at the top of the house with twin beds in it, a very simple place. “For some reason, they only want to sleep up here in this small room,” said the star. “They like it here.”
No amount of money can buy the sense of cozy, of having someone nearby at night. I can’t provide a little sister for Emmy, but she seems comforted to know that occasionally, her mother is there in the dark, rocking quietly, watching over her.
“Remember, Mama,” she often says to me. “If you can’t sleep, you can always rock in my chair…”
With Mother’s Day approaching, I think that’s what I want all six of my children to remember most: That I am there for them always, even if I’m out of sight, that I am loving them, concerned for them, always wanting the best for them. Nothing matters to me more than that as a mom. Whatever else I do in life, it’s nothing if my children don’t know they have my forever love. It’s unconditional. I have had children hurt me, make decisions that I don’t agree with. It doesn’t matter. They are not clones of me. All but one is a legal adult now. One thing will not change: As long as I live, I will be there in that metaphorical rocker in the dark, loving them.
I saw an old poem recently. This is the last stanza in honor of Mother’s Day.
~ Elizabeth Akers Allen
Look what we can learn from elephants about family, compassion and getting on with living. The last few sentences spoken by Daphne in the clip are powerful.
One of the best articles I have come across recently on the subject of the tragic fallout of our hook-up culture is an article called, “The Kids Aren’t Alright” (unlike the song which claims The Kids ARE Alright.)
Jeff Mallinson, professor at Concordia University Irvine, writes a deeply thought-provoking piece on where things stand now among young people who are left with the terrible consequences of our throw away, disposable sexual culture.
” This ghost of desire, this ghost of eros, is all around us, and it serves only to mock us. There may have been a time when we could hope for love. Now we only have a shadow of love. This erotic problem, at its root, is a byproduct of our failure to understand and promote agape, unconditional love. Agape gives a couple confidences that they can authentically be unveiled to each other. It says, “I’d cross the desert for you,” and “I’d endure a thousand trials for our love,” but also, “I’ll be by your side when you suffer with clinical depression,” and “I love you so much, I’ll cuddle you when we are old and you have to wear adult diapers.” Incidentally, the loss of agape is largely to blame for the widespread phenomenon of middle-age divorce. Without the astonishing commitment of agape, the flame of eros dies out. But our bodies still desire physical gratification. The cheap answer? Fake it. Modern technology makes it possible. After a while, though, the imitation stuff seems as unfulfilling as anything. “
This empty shadow of sexuality as God designed it leaves nothing but brokenness in its wake. We see that everywhere in popular culture and news headlines. Thankfully, the real thing is still alive. Agape love, firmly at the root of marriage relationships, leads to the ultimate fulfillment of human beings. Our culture denies it to its own destruction.