an Eyes of Wonder post

Many of you dear readers were followers of Eyes of Wonder back in the day (for those that don't know what I mean, my mama had a blog for a few years and documented the life of our family). All of us children still have access to the blog (it's private now) and occasionally I go back to re-read her writings. I thought it might be a nice treat for some of the long-time-ago readers to see one of her posts again.

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The priceless gift of love

As I look back over the past 45 years of my life, there is a dreamy haze that wraps itself around much that's transpired throughout the countless moments, into days, into months, and on into years. Family, friends, neighbors, teachers, Christmases, Thanksgivings, birthdays, year after year of school, and jobs, various states, and cities.

As time goes by, the all too fleeting passage of it seems to be illuminated at various points along the way, by people, people that have stood out to me, primarily for one reason--that they loved.

I remember my kindergarten teacher, Miss Heddler, always gentle and kind, playing blocks and house with us, reading us stories on the big round braided rug while we gathered 'round her, basking in the glow of her warm, accepting smile. Painting on easels with big fat brushes and baby food water jars, growing bean plants, and grass seed in styrofoam cups on the long wall of windows and sills. I remember that year of my as though it was yesterday, because Miss Heddler loved us, and being in her class was like being in her home, because she held each one of us close, in her heart.

She was followed by Mrs.Tapovatz and next Miss Owen/and Miss Woodruff, whose faces are somewhat indistinct and fuzzy in my mind, but my eighth year and third grade dawned with yet another life that overflowed with love--Mrs. Teubert's, reaching out to profoundly touch mine. I think I can say with certainty that every single child in my class was in love with her, believing beyond a doubt that they were her favorite. I also believe that I learned and retained more during that year of school than any other. She smiled all the time, scruffed up our hair, and read to us, faithfully, every single day right after lunch, and was at the same time perfectly fine with us laying down our heads and falling fast asleep while she did so. 

At Thanksgiving, we each dressed up as an Indian or a pilgrim, and made a big feast with all the trimming right in our classroom, from the turkey to the butter that we made to slather on our biscuits. For Christmas, we made a mural the size of an entire wall and traced each other's bodies to make life-sized families and carolers, and decorated rooms and furniture out of newsprint and construction paper. We decorated a huge Christmas tree with popcorn and cranberries and paper chains and paper cut-out birds--something I have done each year with me own children, due to the treasure that memory always has ever held for me, since.

She had us get a letter from each of our grandparents that were alive and willing to write one and then devoted part of an afternoon to cookies and milk while she rocked in her reading chair in her warm nurturing way and read them aloud. I remember the sadness that filled our hearts as she hugged each one of us good-bye before leaving on a two week trip to Australia to visit her family (*this must* be why I love those dear Australians, so :o) and how our little eight-year-old hearts rejoiced when a package arrived from Australia with a separate card for each of us--containing a note of love from our beloved friend, who missed us--and for each one, a tablet with either a koala bear or a kangaroo on it (mine was a koala bear) a new pencil and a two-cent piece.

She continued to love me (and I'm sure everyone else) throughout my entire life at grade school and hugged me and spoke life into my being each time our paths crossed in the halls. Once she loved you, she always loved you. And even when I was a teenager, in Jr. High she kindly had me over to her home in the country where she and her husband also had an antique shop, for lunch and a lovely stroll out on their property and along the brook.

And while in my teens there was the ever-present gift of my beloved aunt that has always been like an older sister to me, Cheryl, and my very dear uncle who was like a beloved brother, Leigh, who also both---loved. They valued people and relationships so highly and seemed to always have an endless store of kindness, acceptance, of love. I don't think there was ever a single moment that I didn't feel entirely welcomed in their home and in their hearts. Homemade soups on the stove, celestial seasonings tea, chips, and salsa, playing the guitars and harmonica, singing, talking, talking, talking, late into the night......... always an abundance of love.

There are so many, and I have shared much of the others in things I've written in the past, but it seems that though I live to be one hundred I will ever and always be learning, and yet will still have merely only scratched the surface of the wondrous thing, called love.

I have far more dear friends than I deserve and owe them an enormous debt of gratitude for all that they have taught me, about love. For it seems that this is the very way that I have learned and continue to learn of it--through the very ones by and through whom it has been graciously gifted, to me. God is so kind as to have it work this way.

I shared a ways back on the blog about a very dear friend, a tenderhearted, kind man, probably the most caring, thoughtful, giving, loving friend of my lifetime, outside of my family. Among far too numerous to number other things, he even singlehandedly put a new roof on our home in just a couple of days--my very dear friend, Paul. I have learned so very much of love through the life that he lives and the love that he gives so freely, asking nothing in return.

Another very, very, dear and precious friend, Heather, has struggled with myriad health issues and lives with chronic pain but is ever and always focused on the hearts and needs of others. In the midst of her own struggles and difficulties my sweet friend, Heather, sent a package along with the children (who had gone by to visit her), for me---during a time not too long ago when I was struggling with illness (which paled in comparison to her own situation)--and in the bag was **an entire month's worth** of loving cards with letters of encouragement, and gifts for me to have--one to open each day! I was totally speechless.




So much thought and so much time had gone into the making of that precious gift---of love. Among, again, gifts far too numerous to number, she, years ago, a very talented seamstress, she made and gave, the gift of a twin-sized quilt to each one of my children, which they loved too much to not actually use. So they were wrapped around them every night, 'til they, like the Velveteen Rabbit, were loved to near rags. Memories that for them, like me, will never fade.


I have learned so much through these and many other very dear ones (many of you among them) that have taken the time and the effort to bless my life with the gift of love. And what have I learned specifically? I've learned about giving of oneself sincerely and sacrificially.

About always thinking the best and hoping the best for another--even when in your heart you might even have reason to do otherwise.

About taking the *time* to do the kind and caring, thoughtful and nurturing thing, though life is busy and often hard, and it requires great effort at times.

About giving if and when your able, without weighing and measuring, even when someone is unable to give back.

About sharing your heart, openly and freely and making yourself vulnerable, and allowing another to do the same.

About giving people the freedom to be themselves with all their inevitable imperfections and mistakes, immaturities and failures and truly appreciating and loving them for just who they are, just as they are, right where they are---through the eyes and the heart, of love.

Our family had an old Dodge Pick-up truck for a number of years. Well, Big Papa had a long-standing desire to get a truck with an extended cab so he could use it to run his errands on the weekends and be able to take all of his little buddies along with him. Well, the years passed and it seemed that that extended cab truck was always somehow getting bumped down below the *actually happening* line, on the list of things to get.

Well, right around Father's Day of this year, James and Joseph came to me super excited to let me know about the gift that they were planning to give to Big Papa, for Father's Day--- A wonderfully nice, extended cab truck (not their own big white one), that they had worked and worked and saved and paid a pretty penny for. My eyes filled with tears and my first thought was to say, *no way*!

But, I just stood there quietly for a moment, letting it sink in. I realized that there was something priceless in the immense love behind the giving. That the true gift, was, the love--something that had been wrought deep in their hearts that would only multiply and grow, in the giving. I knew that I couldn't say, no, because something would be of priceless value would be lost, if I did.

So, we planned a big pizza party picnic outside (probably a loving gift from my dear friend, Paul) and everyone was jumping up and down in excitement up near the road waiting and watching for Big Papa to come along, making his way home. As he pulled in everyone tried to act as normal as possible--which was pretty hard for them all!

And, the photo above is of Big Papa opening his Father's Day card with a folded up photo of the truck that the boys had taken and printed out on the computer, a love letter, and the keys. Well, needless to say, he was super confused at first, then started to cry and the only words he could say, were...."no.. no... no....". while shaking his head and looking at the boys. Then finally, "thank-you so much but I could never accept that boys." 

To which the boys delightedly (James smiling like the Cheshire cat--which if you've ever met him you know what I mean! :o) responded that there was simply no way they were taking no for an answer, you cannot refuse a gift, and they would be hurt if he didn't take it. The true gift was the love. The love that has grown from each of their conceptions to the present and will continue to grow until one by one each of us dies. The priceless gift, of love.

Well, once again, it's late and I am so tired that I'm not going to take the time to go back over what I've written, until tomorrow. Thanks so much for not minding the mistakes and typos--I appreciate it, and will pray that it makes just enough sense for those that come by to visit in the meantime. Thanks for being so gracious.

Thank you for the kind and loving gift of *your* friendship. If you feel like sharing, and have the time, I'd love to hear about someone/s special that's impacted your life. I'm sure everyone else would, too, if you have the time and you'd like to share.

Also, for anyone that might have the time and be interested, I decided to share a photo that Julia recently took of me, with you guys--It's tucked away on the More than a little bit about me page (very non-threatening, for anyone that might be nervous about taking a look;o). I decided to go ahead and be so bold, as I have treasured getting to see photos of each one of you. Now, don't all dash over there at once, okay ;o)

You guys are the sweetest and the best. Thanks for your hugely beautiful, sweet, and loving notes and emails of encouragement, today--and every day.

Off to bed, and Lord willing, I'll see you, tomorrow.
Lovingly, Jewels

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. I loved Eyes of Wonder. Each post was a a precious gift.

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  2. Miss your mom so much. Her blog helped me get through a horrible divorce.

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  3. I remember this post about the boys buying your dad a truck. It made me cry then and makes me tear up with joyful tears. Your moms' gift of sharing her heart was special. I'm so glad you have her thoughts and words that you all can still be encouraged by. Thanks for sharing them with us once in a while too.

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  4. thank you so very much for sharing another of your Mother's posts. Really miss her and her blog.

    Coleen

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  5. What a very Precious Life she shared with us. Thank you for giving us a taste of the Memories you keep in your heart. xoxo~Carolyne

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  6. What a lovely gift she left for you all...so glad you still can go there to read and "listen" to her! It reminds me of my dear mom and her parents, now long gone. I am writing down what I can remember of them, for my offspring too.

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  7. Thabk you for sharing this old post! I used to read it back in the day, and your mother's writing helped shaped who I am as a mother today. <3

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  8. I loved your mother's blog! She was a wonderful person and very talented writer. I learned so much from your mother's writings. Thank you for reposting this. God bless you and your family.

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