Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Ten years ago I sat in a movie theater waiting for the midnight showing of one of the Lord of The Rings movies (not sure which one ... which ever one came out 10 years ago today). We had just finished worship team practice - practicing for a Christmas Eve service - and we all foolishly decided that sleep was a non-issue so, hey, let's go to the movies instead!

Except the sound guy. He was more responsible than the rest of us ... and he had to be at work at 6am.  So, really, who could blame him.

So we went to the movies and sat together, our sweet little make-shift family, waiting for midnight to roll around - they couldn't start it till it was OFFICIALLY the next day - so we could embark on our $12 naps watch the flick. And as we waited my phone rang.  I received the customary dirty looks from strangers and the shameless jesting from friends as I ran excitedly out to the hall to take the call ... cause it was the sound guy.

Now, if I were selfless and all, I would have run out worried that maybe he had broken down somewhere and needed me to come to his rescue (as he had come to mine a few times before). But no, I was selfish and I bolted outta that room simply because I had been waiting a LONG time for that dude to finally ask me out.  And somehow I just knew, that was why he was calling.

And I was right.

(enter image of me doing the happy dance in the empty hall ways of a movie theater ... empty except for the grumpy dude in the "tuxedo" and santa hat who was cleaning the empty room across the hall and was not appreciative of my squeals - since they caused him to jump and spill his dust pan full of popcorn ... sorry grumpy dude)

So, yeah, he finally asked me out ... that responsible sound guy ... and I was THRILLED!

The next evening (ten years ago tonight) he arrived at my door asking what I would like to do. We talked about a nice dinner at an elegant restaurant and maybe a show afterward. We discussed a long walk in the moonlight. We may have even tossed around the idea of a picnic under the stars.

And then we went to Del taco, gulped down deluxe chili-cheddar fries, and went Christmas shopping.

And I knew then that he was the one.

And, as I stood in a line at Target with this sound guy, on our first date, our cart full of the entire Christmas village that I had always wanted to buy for my mom but could never afford and watched him prepare to pay for the gift she would receive "from both of us", I decided that I loved him.

And six days later I watched her open that gift, sitting next to the man who had become, officially, my fiance.

Yep ... six days.

I told you I knew.

And ten years later I can tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was right.

He IS the one.

And, oh how I love him.

And I would do 10 years ten more times with him.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Did Time Fly For Her Too?

Every year, like so many of you, about the time that Christmas rolls around I look back in wonder at a year that has flew by. And I ask, like so many of you, how it could have gone so quickly.

Children were born, cut teeth, turned two ... then three, started school, made the honor roll, got the lead in the school play and, eventually, graduated, got married and started families of their own.

And we were left to look back and wonder how it all happened so fast.

I wonder if is was like that for Mary.
That night, as she held her newborn son - in a barn of all places - did she, like so many of us, look forward to each passing milestone and promise to cherish each and every moment?

And, like in our lives, did the normal every day start to creep in? Did the sleepless nights of life with a brand new baby turn into the craziness of toddler proofing the home? Did she one day look at her son and realize that he just was not a baby anymore?

I wonder what it was like watching her son grow up, knowing that He was also the Son of God.

I mean, she KNEW who he was - the angel had made that clear - so she HAD to know what was in store.

Were the passing moments stored and cherished or did she turn around one day and find a man where her boy had once stood?

I cannot imagine how it felt to see him getting older, stronger, wiser ... all the while knowing that each breath he took brought him closer to the road He was destined to walk...

... and the cross He was determined to bear.

She knew when He was born that His death was imminent.

That it was predetermined.

That it HAD to be.

So, when she held her son that night...

As she watched him learn to walk ...

While she taught him how to talk ...

As she raised HER son ...

Did she cherish each moment knowing that she was holding, watching, teaching and raising God?

Or, did time fly for Mary too?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Home For Christmas

(our 2012 Christmas card)

Cards have been sent and (a few) presents have been bought.  I can hardly believe we have just over 2 weeks left til the big day!  WOW!

This year we did things a little differently and, instead of traditional cards with a letter tucked in the envelope, we mailed out postcards!!  And on the back we included a link to a Christmas letter. 

(just in case you're interested, click HERE to see the letter)

We quickly ran out of postcards - I could only order them in lots of 100 - so we have had to order some picture cards to make up the difference. Makes me kinda sad cause I LOVE the post cards!!!

Ah well ... it is what it is.  

I LOVE running out to the mailbox this time of year. Usually it means bills and junk mail, but at Christmas it means letters and pictures and WONDERFUL messages. 


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

30DOT - Day 6 (and 4&5)

(surprise, surprise .. I missed a couple days on the old blog!!  Oops!!)

Day 4: Thankful for this girl!!  She makes me laugh like no one else. She has MOVES like no one else!!  And no one ... I mean NO ONE ... no one else would ever help me chase a puking cat through the house to get her down into the basement so she wouldn't puke on the carpet!!!

And, for REAL now. Where would I ever be without THIS FACE?!
Sweet MERCY I love this kid!!!

Day 5: I am thankful for this house!!!  After 3 years of renting (and not the best rentals, lemme tell ya), it is so nice to call someplace ours!  Thank you LORD!!!

Day 6:  Today I am thankful to be in this country!  I am thankful to be free.

Free to speak my mind without fear. Free to pursue my dreams. Free to raise my children the way I (WE) see fit.  Free to worship My Beautiful God!!!!!  And free to...

(FYI, I had to BEG for that sticker!!!)

But I am MOST thankful that, no matter WHO wins this election, My Jesus will still be King!!!

Because our redemption does not lie with the man we put in the white house, 
but in the man we put on the Cross!!!

God Bless America!!!

And, America ... let us Bless God!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

20DOT - Day 3

Today I am thankful for Sophie Lee

This child brings LIFE to this place ... to this world.  

Seriously, no one makes me laugh as hard as this girl.  She is stinkin HILARIOUS!

No one appreciates life like she does - she finds joy and fun in even the most mundane parts of life.

No one has moves like Sophie - even as an infant, baby girl could bust a MOVE!

NO ONE but Sophie would help be chase a puking cat through the house trying to get the dadgum thing down into the basement so the carpets would be safe!!! 

(yes ... this actually happened, in this house, just this morning)

This girl is joy, music, adventure and rhythm ... all in one sweet little body!

Oh, the Blessing she is to me!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

30DOT - Day 2

Today I am thankful for one Miss Hattie Grace Beverly

Eight years ago today ... well, the story starts a little earlier than that ... 

I've told the tale before - HERE, if you want to read it...

But ... eight years ago today, a case worker came to our door with a tiny toe-headed baby girl. And our lived were forever changed.  This poor sweet baby was angry, she was scared and scarred and hurting and broken ... but then God.

God healed her with His love ... He healed us all. 

This road with this girl has had it's twists and turns and pot holes and flat out rollercoaster like drops - many of which took us by COMPLETE surprise!  But our God knew and He led us through ... truth be told, He CARRIED us through.

Hattie my love, you have made your mama a better person. You taught me how to love. You taught me how to be selfless. You taught me how to face adversity with strength and grace. 

I have had adventures with you that I would have NEVER seen coming. Adventures that I would not trade for anything in this big wide world.

I see you face challenges head on and come through them without even blinking and I wonder where you get that tenacity - oh my girl, God has made you strong. He has a plan for you my love. I cannot wait to watch it all unfold.

I know things get hard for you - harder sometimes than it should. I would give anything to take on those hard things for you. I really would. But, my sweet girl, I would never ever, EVER change who you are. 

Because you are sunshine and light, laughter and love, dirt and divine, stubborn and strong, sweet and soft, loving and lovely, charming and charmed. You are strength personified. YOU are YOU ... and that is enough.  SO much more than enough.

Being your mama has Blessed me in more ways than I could ever even begin to explain.

I love you Hattie Grace ... always and forever.

Happy Hattie Day!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30DOT - Day 1

Thirty Days of Thanks!!!

I've heard tell that November is a month in which people attempt to blog each and every day of the month.

I've also heard tell of November being a month in which people share something for which they are thankful for each and every day of the month.

I've also heard tell that some (very lazy) people choose to combine these two activities during the month of November.

(I may or may not have made that last part up ... I ALSO may or may not be said (very lazy) person)

So, here goes:

Day 1 - Today I am thankful for a man who loves me well enough to tell me when it's time to just stop.

This morning, as I awoke with no voice what-so-ever, in a bedroom full of laundry (some waiting to be put away, some piled high waiting to be cleaned, and some somewhere in the middle - begging for the sniff test to decide upon which pile it shall be tossed), above a kitchen with a dishwasher full of clean dishes and a sink full of dirty, next to a living room full of toys begging to be put away, furniture begging to be dusted and a floor BEGGING to be vacuumed,  this man took one look at me and told me to get the girls off to school and then get back in bed.


Did I mention that my house was ... IS ... a mess?

As in unfit for human occupation mess?


But, he did not care. He looked at his wife and saw someone sick and downright weary and he took pity.

He chose me over clean.

Oh how I love this man of mine.

So thankful...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Already All I need ...

God has been using a song to pierce my heart lately.  As I was listening to it play the other day, and even familiar enough with the lyrics to sing along, I began to REALLY hear the words.  And I found myself in tears with my hands in the air and knees to the ground in worship.  Woah.

And for the last few days this music has become my obsession. I hear it in my head all day long. And I must be singing it aloud because I heard Sophie humming it this morning. **happy face**  But as I have pondered over the words, I have come to a place of realization that has just slammed me in the face and altered the way I pray.

See, God is showing me how many times I say "I need me more Jesus" or "Jesus I need more of You" or "More YOU Lord, more You". But now I am seeing that, truly, if ANYONE is lacking in this relationship, it sure as shootin aint Him!!! So, I guess that means it's me.


The first lines of the song say:

Asking where You are Lord, wondering where You've been
Is like standing in a hurricane, tryin to find the wind

Yeah ... that.

Maybe I need to change my prayer to "I need me more Becky Jo ... Becky Jo in SEARCH of You Jesus. In relentless pursuit of Your will.  More Becky Jo, face down at the foot of Your cross. More Becky Jo LOVING You ... and loving others LIKE you.  More Becky Jo soaking in the Word and living it out. More Becky Jo chasing after Your will, Your heart, Your presence, YOU!  More me seeking to be LESS me and more of YOU.  More You IN me ... less me, more You." 

And, maybe, if that WAS my prayer, maybe the "I need more Jesus" prayer would be more of an "I need more Jesus IN me" and less of an "I need more Jesus FOR me"  prayer.

Because, really, he IS already all I need. But think of how He could use me, what He could do through me ... through ALL of us ... if I (we) were all HE needs me (us) to be.

And, oh yes, I want to be used by Him.

Use me here Lord, USE ME HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Asking where You are Lord, wondering where You've been
Is like standing in a hurricane trying to find the wind
And hoping for Your mercy to meet me where I am 
Is forgetting that your thoughts for me outnumber the sand.

You filled the sun with morning light
You bid the moon to lead the night
You clothe the lilies bright and beautiful.

You're already all I need
Already everything that I could hope for 
You're already all I need
You've already set me, already making me more like you
You're already all I need
Jesus, You're already all I need.

Walking through this life without your freedom in my heart
Is like holding onto shackles, that You have torn apart
So remind me of your promises and all that You have done
In this world I will have trouble, but You have overcome

And every gift that I receive, You determine just for me
But nothing I desire compares to You

You're already all I need
Already everything that I could hope for 
You're already all I need
You've already set me, already making me more like you
You're already all I need
Jesus, You're already all I need.

In your fullness, You're my all in all
And in your healing, I'm forever made whole
And in your freedom, Your love overflows and carries me
You carry me, yes You carry me, You carry me

You're already all I need
Already everything that I could hope for 
You're already all I need
You've already set me, already making me more like you
You're already all I need
Jesus, You're already all I need.
Already all I need

Yes Lord ... YES

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dear Mr. Graham

Yesterday I needed to clean the seat of the car ... 

Long story, but it involved a 40 minute trip to the dentist where a certain 8yr old girl with blonde and pink hair puked in the back seat at minute 36.

A quick turn around, a frantic call to reschedule and a stop to rearrange seating later (had to move Sophie so SHE would not start puking - sensitive gag reflexes rock our world!!) and we were on our way BACK home. 

I got Sophie to school and then listened to Hattie freak out because she not only did not get to go to the dentist but she also had to miss SCHOOL too.  Yeah, she was upset about missing both. Who IS this kid?!?!?!  

Finally got her calmed, changed and cuddled on the couch with a good book movie (don't judge me, I had a phone date I could not miss) and headed into the garage to find the cleanser for the car seat. YUCK!

While I was hunting down the cleaner, I bumped a box, knocking it's lid to the ground. I peeked inside to find the corner of a long lost book sticking out.  

Y'all I squealed.


THIS is what I found ...
 And THIS is a treasure to me. 

Not just because Billy Graham is SUCH a man of God. He is. Oh my WORD, he is!  He brings life to the Word in a huge way. He takes the profound and huge and ginormous and puts it so simply and succinctly that anyone can understand.

Even a 19 year old kid like me.

No, this is a treasure because within it's pages is a lasting remnant of the most profound day of my life.

THIS ...
 is the day I was saved.

And if you look REEEEEEEAAAAAAAALLLLL close ...
Yep ... there I am.

(OK, honestly, I have no idea if that is me. Or even if this picture was taken on the night I was actually there, but it is the crusade I attended ... the crusade that changed my life. The crusade that made the cross REAL to me ... a 19 yr old girl sitting in the very top row.)

Thank you Mr Graham ... I (literally) owe my life to you. 

This is the day I was saved.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ummmm ... Who Said That?

This morning I was at Bible Study when I got the call.

The "Hi, this is the school and we need you to come check out your child's injury" call.

I am NOT a fan of that call.  At all.

We had watched the video and were in a VERY good conversation about the week's homework when the phone rang.  Only, it was on silent and I didn't notice it. Till someone nudged me and said "ummm, the school is calling". I grabbed it and ran from the table, so as not to interrupt the conversation.

But in a room full of mamas, the words "the school is calling" interrupts the conversation whether you want it to or not.

So the gentleman on the phone - our school has a male nurse!!! - says "we just wanted to let you know that Sophie was  cut on her finger from a pair of scissors. We need you to come check it out, it's not bad but our policy is to have parents check any cut." I told him I was on my way and hung up the phone. When I turned around several sets of eyes were on me waiting to see what was up. And I made a joke ... I thought.

"Sophie got stabbed by a pair of scissors."

And I slowly got my stuff together and made my way to the door, talking to no less that 7 people on my way out.  Even having fun at the thought of Sophie getting in a tiff at school. One of our pastors said "knowing Sophie she was probably standing up for someone!", which is TOTALLY something Sophie would do.

I finally made it to the school and went into the office to find her reading a book. With a giant white bandage on her finger.

'Cept the bandage wasn't white anymore.

Heart .... meet feet.

She came to me and said "Mama! A... hurt me!"

I unwrapped her finger and noticed that the bleeding had stopped. I first saw a small scrape on one side of her knuckle and felt a wave of relief wash over me.  But then I saw the OTHER side of the finger. And the heart fell again.

Seems the scissors were open and hit just right to get both sides of her finger.

And the OTHER side was a bit more serious.

Still not BAD, but definitely not a scrape.

But the bleeding had stopped. So I asked her to wiggle her fingers so I could make sure it wasn't deep enough to immediately re-open. She did, the bleeding did NOT start up again, so I began to breathe ... again.

And again she said "Mama! A... hurt me!"

And I said "well honey, I am sure he didn't MEAN to hurt you."

She said "He DID mean to mama. He was mean to me and hurt me with scissors!"

I said "Sweetie, I'm sure it was an accident."

And the principal said "well .... not really."

And I was given the recap.  In anger, this boy had raised his scissor armed arm and slammed it down on my baby's hand.

So, yeah, in a way, my baby was stabbed with a pair of scissors.

I took her into the little sick area they have so I could wash off her cut and re-bandage it. And I listened to my scared, hurt little girl say "I don't LIKE A...! He is not my friend anymore! He is mean."

***Now, I need you to know that what happened next was NOT of me. Cause in my head I was about to say "tell mama what this boy looks like! Take mama to him Baby!" But that is not what came out ... What came out of my mouth was all God...***

I looked into her eyes and said "No sweet heart. That is not what I want you to do. I know that he hurt you, but I want you to keep being his friend."

She said "But mama, he is NOT nice!"

And I said "Honey, maybe A... doesn't know HOW to be a friend. Maybe he needs someone to show him what a friend looks like so he can learn. Maybe YOU should be his friend so he will learn to care."

And I looked up to see every person in that office staring at us with mouths wide open.

And, really, I was with them.

Ummmmm ... who SAID that?

That was soooooo not me.

After I got her cleaned up and re-bandaged, I took her back to her classroom, where her teacher all but begged me for forgiveness.  I explained that there was no need. That I had taught pre-school for 14 years and knew all about not being able to get there fast enough. And that I was totally cool with it. Especially when I learned that she had held Sophie's hand high above her head, pinching Sophie's finger tight between her own bare fingers to stop the bleeding.  I do not blame her in the least, I assured her. These things just happen.

And she let me know that A... had been sent home. Because A... had already been to the office once today. A... had hit someone else earlier, as my little nosey nellie baby girl chimed in to inform me!  And, it seems, A... has some anger issues.

And, suddenly, my heart began to ache for A...

And I found myself silently praying for his home life. And his little heart to be softened.  And for A... to find a friend.

A friend like I had just told my little girl she needed to be to the little boy that had just made her bleed.

And I realized that God really can use a broken vessel like a mad as a hornet mama who wanted to say "let's GET him" but opened up her mouth and said, instead, "let's love him."

Because Loving him, might just really be loving HIM.

And I left that school, got in my car, closed my eyes and cried for a little boy I've never even met.

And now I can't get A... off my mind or my heart.  If anyone is out there reading this, please pray for A...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dear Steve ...

Ten years ago we were just beginning to explore our "feelings" for each other. We thought we might want to date but had a few obstacles standing in our way - not the least of which was a shared group of friends that were more like family. I was afraid of making them choose between us when we broke up (because, I was pretty sure you would figure out pretty dern quick how messed up I was and run like the wind) so I refused to date you til I knew it would work. So we were emailing back and forth to get to know each other better.  I found a card for your birthday ... a bear sitting on a fallen tree and it said "just logging on to wish you a happy birthday". Totally innocent to the outside world, but we already had our inside, hidden meaning, jokes. And, I am pretty sure that I knew right then and there that I was hooked.

Ten years and a MILLION inside jokes, hidden meaning phrases and emails behind us and I am more sure than ever ... I am forever and always hooked on you!

You stuck out my "crazy", put up with my whacked out sense of what love was supposed to look like and stuck around to show me that, while it may not be all tied up in a pretty bow, it is most assuredly, the best gift I have ever been given, this side of salvation.

The day we said I do is the day that all my dreams came true. I am still amazed every single day that He saw fit to bring me YOU ...
 ... and that YOU saw fit to choose me and love me the way you do. 

And, oh BABY, do you love me well!!!!

You are my shoulder to lean on in good times and in bad!!
Thank the Lord that we have had enough good times to make the "bad" seem like mere bumps in the road in comparison. And I look back on all we have learned through those times and am SO thankful that you were the one beside me. I would have surely lost all hope were it not for you pointing me, ever more, back to Him.  You are my map when the road is windy, leading me always down the Truest road we know.

You put up with the crazy that three females bring into your life like a champ!!!  Even when we are all off the charts with the moody and emotional, you love us still!!!
 (who knows WHAT Soph was moody about here, gotta love that expression!)

You stand beside me through all me experiments and trials of new and adventurous things ... and, baby, you are really the one that makes me BRAVE enough to try them all too. Photography, physical fitness (AFTER the age of 40 - Bless your sweet, patient soul!!!) and all of it. You stand behind me in love and support. WOW!
And you hold my hand when it gets scary, and pick me up when I fall. Never judging, always loving, you amaze me with your strength.

You make me smile and laugh and sigh with contentment and joy. 
I honestly have no idea how to put into words how truly HAPPY you make me. Yes, I have joy through it all, but the HAPPY - that emotion that is fleeting and unreliable - you provide that too. I just stinkin LIKE being your wife.  I just do. 

I love you forever more, but I am pretty sure I will LIKE you for always too!  Cause you are pretty ding dang fun and cool and wonderful!

Baby, your kisses ... well ... wow ... yeah, my heart still flips and my belly still flutters and I still get weak at the knees. Weather it's a gentle kiss on my cheek or you pull me in for a long, deep, passionate kiss ... yeah.
 Hubba Hubba



You are so wise and loving and true. You are YOU ... and that is enough.
You are my heart's desire and I am BLESSED to walk this road with you!

You lead this family with grace, strength, love, humility, power and prayer.

Your boys are men who want to be just like their dad.  And are great men because they take after your best traits.

Your girls love to be by your side and in your arms and hand in hand with their handsome prince.  You have set the bar for future men high and shown these girls what love looks like.  May they never be fooled or fall for less.  Your love as a daddy has shown them the love of the Father - may they chase after HIM, the way you chase after their sweet young hearts, and find the Forever Love like no other.  

Oh Honey, you are such a picture of the Truest love by the way you lead and love us all.

I have no idea where our road will lead us through this life.  But I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that having you by my side means the road will ALWAYS be interesting, ALWAYS be protected and ALWAYS lead to Him. 

I am BLESSED to love you and HONORED to call you mine.

I love you baby. I pray that you know that today and always.

And I need you to know that my love for you grows every single day. More than yesterday, less than tomorrow. Ever growing, ever closer, ever true.

Happy Birthday Farmboy, your Buttercup loves you ... always ... as you wish!!!!! 


Friday, September 14, 2012

Buried Treasures

**** NOTICE: This blog post contains pictures of my garage. We had to move quicker than we wanted when we came to this house. And I refuse to allow this junk in my house before it has been gone through and sorted. Therefor, said garage looks somewhat like the images on the opening credits of Sanford & Son (what? Don't know it? Go google it now ... go on, I'll wait ... OK, we good now? M'kay...). Thusly, I BEG of you not to judge. Also note that I am the world's MOST unorganized person, so said garage is highly likely to remain in similar disarray for some time to come. Thank you and good night!****

It's raining here today. 

So, when we opened up the front door to head to the bus stop this morning and found this...

... I knew it was time to take drastic measures.

See, the bus stop is on the side of the house of which the only windows looking out are on the second floor.  The garage, which sticks out further than the front windows, blocks the view of the bus stop as well. You can kinda see it, but only enough to know when the bus is actually there. And, since there are only 4 kids - including mine - that get on the bus at this stop, there really is not a lot of time to play around. 

So, we did the unthinkable.

We opened the garage for public viewing.
 (OK, I lied. Actually, we HAVE been thinking about it ... which is why there is a smidge of room to get through.)

We went into the pit of despair garage to await the big yellow ride to school and I began to peruse the surroundings. 

Here is what we found...

The tricycle - Sophie was THRILLED and spent the time riding it back and forth in the 3.7ft of room allotted for her enjoyment!!  (yeah ... easy to please that one...)

A path way to the outside world created by two ladders strategically placed to hold back the wall o' crap items on either side.

Boxes of tax returns and other important documents that my husband refuses to get rid of. (I will be thankful one day, I know I will, but right now? Dude. I just wanna get to the oxygen awaiting me on the other side!!)

Enough extension cord to trail through and power the entire neighborhood.

My man's power tools that have been buried in multiple garages, sitting unused, for 3.5 sad years. He cannot wait to get to them again!!! I can't wait either, but mostly because that will mean I can park a car in the garage...

The lawn mower - dirty and smelling of fresh cut grass ... I LOVE that smell!!!

The broken snow blower we inherited from the precious owners of the LAST house we bought.
 **note to self - get him to fix this dern thing before the snow flies ... now that we have an actual driveway and sidewalk to clear

And that is when I saw it ...

The treasure box I didn't even know I was looking for.

There was no "X" to mark the spot. Just a wee bit of sunshine, bursting through the clouds, somehow finding it's way to and lighting up that corner of the pit of despair garage.

A box marked "Sentimental".

I remember the day my mommy and I created the box.  I placed a precious few items inside and, dismayed, looked at her and asked if such a box was really necessary for so few items.  And I remember that she took my hand and promised "Honey, someday this box will not be nearly big enough".

Sweet mercy that woman is wise.

Once the bus had come and gone, I grabbed my treasure box and ran inside to see what it held for me.  I placed it gingerly on the table and slowly opened the lid...

Inside I found a treasure indeed ... even if it IS only a treasure in my eyes....

I found the prayer journal I started when we were engaged. It was a gift given to me by the sweet girls that I led in Bible study from the youth group at church.  They were SO excited that I had finally found my Prince Charming that, when I told them we were engaged, three of them jumped up, ran to a  rack of journals in the corner of the coffee shop where we met, grabbed the book that they had already picked out and bought it for me on the spot.
 One of those sweet girls, Angie, has since gone on to Heaven. I cannot explain the love that I have for that child. She was one of my life's greatest treasures. I sit here, even now, in tears for the pain of missing her the way I do. Oh, sweet Jesus, come quickly!

I started the journal on January 1, 2003, thanking Him for the life He was giving me with this amazing man He had brought my way.

The journal held all kinds of goodies collected while planning our wedding.

*The forms used to plan the ceremony and the covenant we made in our pre-marital counseling - which we also used for our wedding vows.

*A letter from our pastor signifying that we understood the sanctity of the vows that we were to take so that we could get a Covenant License rather than a simple marriage license, a letter from my mommy apologizing for taking so long in getting tuxedo measurements to me for my nephew Ty and, of course, his measurements. 

*A photocopied picture of my dress, with the business card of the store where we found it attached, and the book in which Paula and I found the bridesmaid dresses that we liked.
Paula has also since gone on the Heaven ... oh the world lost a sweet, sweet soul that day ... and I lost a best friend.  

Never been more Homesick than now ...

*A battered and torn kleenex box filled with my Grandma Lois's gloves. Gloves that still carry her sweet scent. Gloves that I wore on my wedding day.

*One of those box thingies, disguised as a book, that my Grandma held some of HER treasures in. Inside I found her 2ND place ribbon in Plane Geometry from the Iowa Academic Meet in 1929, a necklace, a book mark and a tiny book about grandmothers that I had given her many moons ago.

*Costume jewelry from both my Grandma Lois and my Grandma Myrtle. 
 (Yes, her name was Myrtle. And I ADORED her. I wanted to name a child after her in a big way. How lucky am I that her middle name was Grace?  Whew ... not sure Hattie Myrtle would have had the same charm...)

(Also, how fun is it that Lois Straight had brooches in her initials ... brooches that I can someday pass down to my sweet Sophie Lee?)

*A toy tin bear ... I remember that he used to hold a book and my grandma used to wind him up and he did something, but I can't remember what.  And now he does nothing but stand there, reminding me of my childhood vacations to Grandma's house. I can almost smell the peanut butter Rice Krispy treats now.

*A journal that my Grandpa Lee kept in 1964 of various work jobs that he did for Public Services in Denver.
And, perhaps, the greatest treasure of all: a letter that my Grandpa wrote to my Grandma - and mailed to her hospital room - the day after she had given birth to my mommy. 

My Dear Lois and Daughter,

Well Lois how are you feeling this morning? I hope fine.

I found Marvin and Nellie O.K.

He slept just fine last night and would not sleep with me. He got up when I did and sure got Nellie up in a hurry.

Nellie said to tell you she was sure happy for you.

Lois you have no idea how happy and light hearted I feel now since it's over and we have a little girl. Just think she'll be just another little Lois.

Marvin gets to talking about Helen Jean and acts like Marvel.

Lots of love, Lee and Marvin

(on the back)
Marvin is sending a letter Valentine to his little sister

*Marvin is my mommy's big brother
*Nellie was, I suppose, who ever was helping my Grandpa with my uncle while Grandma was away.
*Marvel was the daughter of some friends of my grandparents. Not quite sure what he meant when he said Uncle Marvin was acting like her ... hmmmm.
*My Grandma had lost a child between my Uncle Marvin and my Mommy, so she had gone to a hospital in a nearby town to ensure a safe delivery of this child. The envelope was addressed with her name, the hospital name and the town - no address. And the stamp cost 3 cents.  Such a simple time.

And now, as I sit here looking at a VERY full box marked "Sentimental", and think of all the other boxes containing treasures scattered about this house, I realize that my Mommy was right. 

This box was NOT nearly enough to hold it all.

But my heart IS enough. 

And IT? Well, it is full.

Because, you see, treasures are not always buried on far away beaches.

Sometimes they are found buried in over stuffed, embarrassingly cluttered, dark & dirty garages, to be found on rainy days.

But, a treasure is a treasure, no matter where it's found.

And though I do cherish these items, it is in the sentiments and stories and memories behind each one that the TRUE treasures are found and kept.

And today my heart is full of these.