Tag-Archive for ◊ Willow ◊

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• Saturday, March 29th, 2014
chinaberry beads

Image courtesy of Pinterest

I was talking to Willow the other day–movies.  I mentioned the old Tammy movies and talked about how she said that “Nothing dresses up an outfit like Chinaberry beads.”  Of course, Willow wanted to know what those are, so I asked Chautona to make some.  She’s not sure, though.  Does anyone care about “chinaberry beads?”  I think they’d be a fun project–stringing a homemade bead necklace.  The picture shows possibilities.  And you could always buy yourself one there instead if Chautona says no…

 

 

 

 

 

beccasiggy

Author:
• Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Chad, Willow, and the children are in Westbury for a late Christmas gathering with the Tesdall-Sullivan-Stuart clan.  Chad had to work yesterday, even with the miscarriage, which I think is cruel. So they decided to enjoy their celebration today. She’s feeling better physically.  That’s part of why they went, I think.  Marianne won’t let Willow overdo it.  She’ll be forced to sit and enjoy the children.

Meanwhile, Josh and I are holding down the fort while they’re gone.  Can you believe it?  Josh milked the new goat, Guinevere.  I call her Gwenny.  He insists on her real name.  I think he only washed his hands four times afterward too.  He still won’t drink the stuff, but it’s a start.

But, the real reason for my post is that one of my gifts to Willow was a new journal–one I decorated the cover for myself.

Okay, fine.  With help from Josh.  A LOT of help then.  The idea is that she’ll put her thoughts in there for everything she wants to share on here.  Of course, sometimes I’ll be taking from the journals on the table.  That means sometimes there’ll even be entries from Kari, but I wanted one that I knew, if there was a new entry, HAD to be shared.  So, Merry Christmas (late though it may be) and I look forward to sharing stuff with you.  Josh and I are excited about upcoming changes around here and what it means for us.  We’ll share that with you as well.

December 25–

I’m ready.  This year was more rushed than I’d like.  I don’t enjoy a life of rushing and panic because plans are taking longer than expected. I have to adjust my plans and expectations to fit my reality. I can do that now that I know.  I think I am beginning to understand Mother’s feeling of constant flux in our lives.  I just followed her lead, never realizing how much change came with each year.  I must remember this as the children near adulthood–showing them the ebb and flow of life so they are more prepared than I was for it.
Aggie stopped by last week and gave me a beautiful glass dispenser.  I couldn’t figure out why I needed something like that when the faucet works fine, but I thought maybe it would be nice for lemonade or lemon water in the summer.  Then she explained her idea–laundry soap!  (Becca, maybe you can put a picture on the thing to show what it looks like?)  I love it.  Mother would have approved.  I think if glass wasn’t so fragile and expensive to ship, or too heavy to carry, she would have had something like this years ago.  It’s nice not to have to dip into the bucket and fiddle with the lid etc.  If it needs stirring, I can see it.  It’s just a lovely gift and I think them staying with us really gave her insight into what suits me best.  I’m afraid my silly throw quilt will be less unique and practical, but I know she’ll understand that it was made with love.
Becca showed Chad the blog where Aggie got the idea and now he’s obsessed with creating a new and beautiful laundry room like the one on the blog.  I had to go into town and find it at the library so I could see what she was talking about.  It’s a beautiful room, really.  I love it.  But I just don’t understand.  We’re a working farm.  We have mud,  manure, and other muckiness. My laundry room is in a barn!  Why would we try to make it more than utilitarian?  Then again, is that not what our life is about?  Living it to the fullest and infusing beauty into every corner of it?  So, our new laundry room will be both pretty and utilitarian.  And it’ll feature my lovely new dispenser!  Isn’t that just beautiful?  I’m so excited.
The contractions are stronger now.  I think it’s almost over.  Time for me to take another shower.  Chad will laugh–to prevent himself from crying again, I suspect.  That part doesn’t have to go into the blog, Becca.  You can share if you think it matters, but once I start writing, I find it hard to stay only on one topic.  I just ramble.

As you can see, she’s well enough.  We’re praying for her, of course–and Chad.  I decided to leave those thoughts and musings because it is what makes Willow, Willow.  And isn’t that what this blog is all about?  Sharing her?  I start with a laundry fun post and end with what is affecting her heart right now.

Have a wonderful day.+

• Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Every year about this time, Mother would get me busy with something that didn’t require my brain but did require my busy hands–cookie making, chicken de-boning, coloring–and then she’d just start reciting.  I remember the first time she ever did it.  I was about five and had gotten into trouble for something.  Why can’t I remember what?  Anyway, she’d set me to separating dried beans into jars.  Mother liked our beans to be stored in Mason jars with all rocks removed so we didn’t have to take the time to do it when we cooked them.  As an added lesson to whatever it was (I suspect I made a mess that only Mother could clean up, now that I think of it), she combined pinto beans, white navy beans, and split peas for me to separate into jars and from the rocks and rotten pieces.  I was discouraged and feeling a little sorry for myself.  Why Mother didn’t tell me to change my attitude and deal with it, I will never know.  Instead, she pulled out the table leaf and started mixing bread.  As she mixed, she recited.

Annie and Willie’s Prayer

‘Twas the eve before Christmas. “Good night,” had been said,
And Annie and Willie had crept into bed;
There were tears on their pillows, and tears in their eyes,
And each little bosom was heaving with sighs,
For tonight their stern father’s command had been given
That they should retire precisely at seven
Instead of at eight-for they troubled him more
With questions unheard of than ever before:
He had told them he thought this delusion a sin,
No such creature as “Santa Claus” ever had been.
And he hoped, after this, he should never more hear
How he scrambled down chimneys with presents each year.
And this was the reason that two little heads
So restlessly tossed on their soft, downy beds.
Eight, nine, and the clock on the steeple tolled ten,
Not a word had been spoken by either till then,
When Willie’s sad face from the blanket did peep,
And whispered, “Dear Annie, is ‘ou fast as’eep?”
“Why no, brother Willie,” a sweet voice replies,
“I’ve long tried in vain, but I can’t shut my eyes,
For somehow it makes me so sorry because
Dear Papa has said there is no ‘Santa Claus.’
Now we know there is, and it can’t be denied,
For he came every year before Mama died;
But, then, I’ve been thinking that she used to pray,
And God would hear everything Mama would say,
And maybe she asked him to send Santa Claus here
With that sackful of presents he brought every year.”
“Well, why tan’t we p’ay dest as Mama did den,
And ask Dod to send him with p’esents aden?”
“I’ve been thinking so too,” and without a word more
Four little bare feet bounded out on the floor,
And four little knees the soft carpet pressed,
And two tiny hands were clasped close to each breast.
“Now, Willie, you know we must firmly believe
That the presents we ask for we’re sure to receive;
You must wait very still till I say the ‘Amen,’
And by that you will know that your turn has come then.”
“Dear Jesus, look down on my brother and me,
And grant us the favor we are asking of thee.
I want a wax dolly, a tea set, and ring,
And an ebony workbox that shuts with a spring.
Bless Papa, dear Jesus, and cause him to see
That Santa Claus loves us as much as does he;
Don’t let him get fretful and angry again
At dear brother Willie and Annie. Amen.”
“Please, Desus, ‘et Santa Taus turn down tonight,
And b’ing us some p’esents before it is light,
I want he should div’ me a nice ‘ittie s’ed,
With bright sbinin’ ‘unners, and all painted red;
A box full of tandy, a book, and a toy,
Amen, and then, Desus, I’ll be a dood boy.”

Their prayers being ended, they raised up their heads,
With hearts light and cheerful, again sought their beds.
They were lost soon in slumber, both peaceful and deep,
And with fairies in dreamland were roaming in sleep.

Eight, nine, and the little French clock had struck ten,
Ere the father had thought of his children again:
He seems now to hear Annie’s half-suppressed sighs,
And to see the big tears stand in Willie’s blue eyes.
“I was harsh with my darlings,” he mentally said,
“And should not have sent them so early to bed;
But then I was troubled; my feelings found vent,
For bank stock today have gone down ten per cent!

But of course they’ve forgotten their troubles ere this,
And that I denied them the thrice-asked-for kiss:
But, just to make sure, I’ll go up to their door,
For I never spoke harsh to my darlings before.”
So saying, he softly ascended the stairs,
And arrived at the door to hear both of their prayers;
His Annie’s “Bless Papa” drew forth the big tears,
And Willie’s grave promise fell sweet on his ears.
“Strange-strange-I’d forgotten,” said he with a sigh,
“How I longed when a child to have Christmas draw nigh.”
“I’ll atone for my harshness,” he inwardly said,
“By answering their prayers ere I sleep in my bed.”
Then he turned to the stairs and softly went down,
Threw off velvet slippers and silk dressing gown,
Donned hat, coat, and boots, and was out in the street,
A millionaire facing the cold, driving in the sleet!
Nor stopped he until he had bought everything
From the box full of candy to the tiny gold ring;
Indeed, he kept adding so much to his store,
That the various presents outnumbered a score.

Then homeward he turned. Where his holiday load,
With Aunt Mary’s help, in the nursery was stowed.
Miss Dolly was seated beneath a pine tree,
By the side of a table spread out for her tea;
A workbox well fitted in the center was laid,
And on it the ring for which Annie had prayed,
A soldier in uniform stood by a sled
“With bright shining runners, and all painted red.”
There were balls, dogs, and horses, books pleasing to see,
And birds of all colors were perched in the tree!
While Santa Claus, laughing, stood up in the top,
As if getting ready more presents to drop.
And as the fond father the picture surveyed,
He thought for his trouble he had amply been paid,
And he said to himself, as he brushed off a tear,
‘I’m happier tonight than I’ve been for a year;
I’ve enjoyed more pure pleasure than ever before;
What care I if bank stock falls ten per cent more!
Hereafter I’ll make it a rule, I believe,
To have Santa Claus visit us each Christmas Eve.”
So thinking, he gently extinguished the light,
And, tripping down stairs, retired for the night.

As soon as the beams of the bright morning sun
Put the darkness to flight, and the stars one by one,
Four little blue eyes out of sleep opened wide,
And at the same moment the presents espied;
Then out of their beds they sprang with a bound,
And the very gifts prayed for were all of them found.
They laughed and they cried, in their innocent glee,
And shouted for Papa to come quick and see
What presents old Santa Claus brought in the night
(just the things that they wanted,) and left before light:
“And now,” added Annie, in a voice soft and low,
“You’ll believe there’s a ‘Santa Claus’, papa, I know”-
While dear little Willie climbed up on his knee,
Determined no secret between them should be,
And told in soft whispers how Annie had said
That their dear, blessed mama, so long ago dead,
Used to kneel down by the side of her chair,
And that God up in heaven had answered her prayer.
“Den we dot up and prayed dust well as we tould,
And Dod answered our prayers: now wasn’t He dood?”
“I should say that He was, if He sent you all these,
And knew just what presents my children would please.
(Well, well, let him think so, the dear little elf,
‘Twould be cruel to tell him I did it myself.”)

Blind father! Who caused your stern heart to relent,
And the hasty words spoken so soon to repent?
‘Twas the Lord Jesus who bade you steal softly upstairs,
And made you His agent to answer their prayers.

– Sophia P. Snow

I learned later that she’d spent every night after I went to bed, memorizing the poem in order to be able to recite it to me at will.  When people hear about my childhood and some of the cultural things I still don’t understand and say, “What kind of mother did you have?” I think of things like this and say to myself, “This kind of mother.  The best I could have hoped for.”

Chad went online to find a link to the poem somewhere and found this video of a man reading it.  We thought you might enjoy it.  You can also purchase the poem from Amazon either as a single book or in the collection of poems we recommend, The Best Loved Poems of the American People by Hazel Felleman

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