Archive for the ‘Topics to Scrap’ Category
Throughout your school years, you’re going to hear a lot of people ask you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
If you respond, “a doctor,” or “a lawyer,” you’re likely to be met with responses like, “That would be excellent!” and follow-up comments about how much money you could make if you chose such a profession.
And while the intentions behind such a question and these responses will generally be good, I want you to know right up front that if you answer something like, “an artist,” “a theater actor,” “a writer,” or another profession that will not necessarily bring you such financial freedom as a doctor or lawyer might, I will be standing behind you, rooting you on – and super proud of you.
What’s more, if you choose to be a stay-at-home mom, a stay-at-home dad, a missionary or some other unpaid role, I will be super proud of you just the same.
You see, it’s not about money. The truth is, finding happiness in life is never really about money. Finding happiness in your life will come when you realize that no matter what you’re doing with your time, with your life, you’re doing it because it’s what God intended for you to do.
How will you know that you’re doing the right thing? You’ll have a passion for it. You’ll love doing it. Some days, depending on what you decide to do, you might do it for your own personal benefit, and you might even catch yourself saying, “I would do this work even if I weren’t getting paid for it.” If you’re a full-time parent, you’ll want to do nothing more than stay at home to raise your kids. You will know in your heart that that is what you were meant to do.
You have a lot of years ahead of you, and it will be much more important for you to be happy than it will be for you to be well-off financially. If you do something you enjoy and for which you have a passion, you’ll enjoy getting up in the morning. You’ll have the energy to get through your day. And you’ll be able to be present, mentally and physically, for your family when the day is done.
On the flip side, if you choose to do something just because of its financial reward, one day you might very well wake up and realize you dread going to work. It will take every ounce of your being to get through the day. You’ll lose confidence in yourself. And you’ll be miserable when the day is done. Your relationship with your spouse and your kids will suffer. And life will go downhill from there.
So, Gabe and Ella (and any future children, if God blesses us so), please know that I encourage you to follow your hearts and your true desires when choosing what to do with your lives. Don’t worry that what you choose to do will disappoint me or your father. It won’t. I promise. And never use the word “just” when describing what you do (“I’m ‘just’ a stay-at-home mom,” or “I’m ‘just’ a starving artist,” for example). Because if you’re doing something you love to do, you will do it with all of your heart, and you will be successful – and happy. And ultimately, that is what we want for you.
I love you.
Journaling for a scrapbook page to be created some day in the future
This is a smile I love to see.
I wish we could see it more often.
It’s not that you are an unhappy child or that you are frequently grumpy.
You are not.
It’s just that fewer things in life seem to bring this kind of joy out of you the older you get. At 10 (almost 11) years old, you’re past the bubbly baby, talkative toddler and passionate preschooler ages. You’re no longer in elementary school, when school seemed (at least to a student) to be more about social skills than studying. (That photo above? That was taken in May 2012, during your last week of elementary school, fourth grade, on field day.)
Suddenly, you’re in fifth grade – in our town, a middle-schooler – and the stresses of everyday life are becoming all too real.
Middle school is a hard time for everyone, I think. Some girls are starting to notice boys. Some boys are starting to notice girls. Kids are becoming more judgmental of one another. Cliques begin. Gossip becomes frequent. Feelings become real.
In the last year, we’ve moved, and our new neighborhood isn’t chock full of boys who are knocking on the door asking you to play – as they were at our old house. You don’t play outside as easily or as often as you used to, and we aren’t good about inviting friends over to hang out with you.
The friends with whom you once bounced from sport to sport (baseball in spring and summer, soccer in fall, basketball in winter) are more frequently picking a single sport on which to focus. This means you no longer see them outside of school several times a week, all year long. They’re working on sport-specific skills all year, growing stronger and more competitive, meaning you’re no longer always one of the best players on the team. (And that’s more than OK; it’s good for you, in fact. But it’s definitely a change from what you’ve known so far in life.)
This year, you’re in a new school building, with new teachers who have widely varying expectations of you. You’ve been thrust into the middle of what our school system has dubbed “the pilot program,” the all-out, no-holds-barred implementation of mass customized learning, a brand-new way of learning, of teaching students, of spending your allotted math time at school, of focusing, of studying, of being accountable for your own work pace, of setting your own homework schedule.
That’s a lot of change. And it’s a lot to ask of a 10-year-old, especially one with a gentle heart and sensitive spirit, like you. We know that. We understand that. And we expect it to affect your energy level, your motivation – your smile.
But, Gabe, you’re doing great.
You’re well behaved.
You’re rolling with the punches.
You’re making new friends.
You’re learning to focus.
You’re learning to work hard.
You’re coming into your own.
You’re becoming a glimpse of the man you will become.
And I’m really proud of you.
Some of what I want to share includes stories – stories that show your dad and I are not perfect, stories of our family traditions, stories of events in our lives that have developed us into who we are.
Some of what I want to share is advice. Learn to forgive. Follow your dreams. Don’t burn bridges.
And while I believe those stories and those nuggets of advice are important, I want you to focus on one very important thing as we get started with these letters from me to you. That one thing?
I love you.
(Your dad does, too. Never doubt that. But because I’m the one writing this, it’s more natural for me to write down my genuine feelings if I can write using “I” and “me” instead of “your dad and I” and “your dad and me” and “we.” Just know that your dad feels the same way I do.)
It’s almost impossible for me to fully explain to you how much I love you, how deep my love exists within my heart, my soul, my very being.
You two (and any future children, should God bless us so) are the reason I am here.
I know that God’s biggest purpose for my life is to be your mother, to do things mothers do – like
hug you when you’re hurting,
encourage you when you’re struggling,
guide you when you’re choosing,
teach you when you’re misbehaving,
reassure you when you’re doubting,
coach you when you’re competing,
congratulate you when you’re succeeding,
comfort you when you’re crying
– and love you when you feel like no one else does.
It’s an amazing responsibility, really, and I thank God for trusting me with it.
Since the day we knew we were expecting you, I felt the power of love on a level I had never experienced before – even greater than what I feel for your daddy (and that’s an intense love!).
Don’t worry that I said that aloud; I think he would agree with me and say the same.
There’s just something about the children one brings into her heart, home and family that makes her love grow larger, deeper, stronger. It’s a different, more intense kind of love than I have for anyone else on the planet.
So listen carefully. Understand the words I am about to say, and never doubt them. Never.
There is nothing you could ever do, say, think or feel that will ever, ever, cause me to not love you. Nothing.
If you tell me you’ve done something bad, I could get angry.
If you tell me you have said something that is harmful to someone else, I will be blatantly honest and tell you how that reflects back on you.
If you tell me you have dark thoughts, I will be concerned.
If you tell me you feel hatred toward someone, even if it’s me, I’ll be hurt and disappointed.
But I will still love you.
Some day you will do something stupid.
You might wreck my car the day after you get your driver’s license.
You might hurt someone unintentionally – or intentionally.
You might try something you know is wrong.
But I will still love you.
You’re human, and as all humans do, you have a sin nature. God designed you that way. I accepted that you’re not perfect long before you could make whatever mistakes you might make. I already know you’re going to mess up. (Try not to, of course, but don’t beat yourself up or be ashamed to acknowledge it when you do.)
Please, please, please, come to me when things go wrong. Tell me about it. Be honest. Confess. Take responsibility. And don’t be afraid that doing so will cause me to not love you anymore.
I will always love you.
You might wonder how I’ll react when you do something other than make a mistake or do something wrong.
You might fall in love with someone and wonder if I’ll accept him or her with open arms.
You might choose to move to another state – or even another country – and wonder if I will accept that choice.
You might choose to join the military, be a missionary in a dangerous land or follow your heart into dangerous work – and wonder if I will accept that choice.
You can tell me anything. You can be honest. You can be you.
I am here for you, no matter what.
I will encourage you, no matter what.
I will love you, no matter what.
(And for the record, God will always love you, too. But that’s a topic for another day.)
Letters to My Children is a regular series on my blog. To quickly find more installments, click on the links in the right column.
Photo credit: Connie Phillips
Posted February 25, 2013on:
I have this irrational fear that I am going to die in some sort of traumatic accident before I have a chance to tell my children everything I want to tell them.
A pleasant thought, I know.
I have always thought I would make a scrapbook full of all of this kind of “stuff” to tell them, but somehow I haven’t gotten very far with that. I’ve made one layout (why we live in the town we live in) – and it wasn’t even one of my more deep-from-the-heart kinds of subjects that I long to share.
Why have I been dragging my feet?
I’d love to blame it on lack of time or being so busy with all of my friends and family and the unbelievably fun stuff we do every minute of every day that I can’t possibly have time for something like this. But that wouldn’t exactly be true.
After all, I find time to take at least one, if not two, naps every weekend. I find time to read a little bit of a book each day. I find lots of time to wander around Facebook during the week. I even find time to watch an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” every couple of nights, or an episode of “Property Brothers” or some other HGTV goodness on my lunch hour, despite not really liking to watch TV in general. I could easily be using that time for this kind of task. But clearly, I don’t.
I guess it’s just that it’s kind of hard to share what is so deep within my soul, even though I write for a living and typically don’t struggle much with getting thoughts down on paper.
Well, I’m aiming to change that. I’m going to make time to journal what is important for my kids, even if I don’t take the time to make a pretty little layout for a nicely composed scrapbook that will sit neatly on the shelf in my home for years to come.
And you, dear readers, will be my first audience.
My kids? Well, I hope that they’ll come back to this old blog (or some futuristic manifestation of the content found within it) some day and find it somewhat interesting to learn what their mom thought was so important in life. But if they don’t, well, I don’t want to think about that, really.
So, Gabe and Ella, and any future children (if God chooses to bless us so), enjoy these posts. And if I’ve long departed the earth by the time you read them, know your mama loved you with all of her heart and soul.
Stay tuned, kind readers. We’ll get started soon.
Journaling for a scrapbook page to be made sometime in the future…
Our daughter Ella turns 8 in less than a week. And what a joy-filled, fast-as-lightning eight years it has been!
This little girl has a strong personality, an infectious giggle and a huge heart.
She loves to draw, write love notes to her dad and me, and give hugs and kisses.
She can’t wait to sit in a car without needing a booster seat.
She wears some of the funkiest outfits, mixing bold colors and wild patterns without any care in the world. Greenish-gray camo pants and multi-colored butterfly sweatshirt? Whatever works.
I love that (generally speaking) she doesn’t care what others think about her style.
She has more style than I have ever had.
She is sassy, sweet and stubborn.
Her favorite color is pink, followed by purple. But pink rules, hands down.
She is having an animal-print birthday party. (Picture zebra cake and balloons.)
She loves animals, especially our cat Jack. (Our other cats, Lucy and Cole, and our dog, Maddie, for some reason haven’t quite captured her heart as much as Jack.)
She chose to have several friends spend the night instead of going somewhere for her birthday. Wise choice, my dear.
I worry a little that she is too bossy around her friends. She likes to be in charge and do what she wants to do. That’s a hard personality trait to soften in an 8-year-old. (Oy.)
She wants to be a big sister.
She has a heart for God. I love that about her.
She asks me hard questions about God on a regular basis. (What does God look like? I don’t understand: If God created everything on earth, who created God?)
She wants to go to heaven some day, just for a visit, to visit family members (and our old dog, Molly) who have died, and to see what God looks like, but then come back to earth and live like normal.
When I was crying recently, she wrote me a note saying simply: “God is always with you. I love you. Love, Ella.”
I’ll keep that one forever, I think.
She loves to organize things, but her bedroom is a complete disaster on a daily basis.
She gets that from me. You should see my office. Oy.
She loves to read. And when she reads out loud, she blows me away with her fluency, voice fluctuation and character personality.
I love to listen to her read.
I get to go into her classroom once a week to help her teacher with literacy stations. She loves it when she gets put into my group for the day. I love it too.
She has yet to read a chapter book from start to finish on her own, I think. She loves to start them, and has dozens in her room, but finishing one eludes her so far. I can’t wait for her to find the joy in finishing a book she starts. I think she’ll enjoy reading even more.
Her favorite TV show is “Good Luck, Charlie.” She occasionally likes to watch her old favorite, “Max and Ruby,” as well. But she worries that none of her other friends like that show, so maybe she shouldn’t either. This is her weakness when it comes to peer pressure. Clothing and personal style is her strength. (Who cares what anyone else thinks?) What she likes to watch on TV is her weakness. (None of my other friends like “Max and Ruby.”)
She loves to dance around the house. Loves to be in shorts and a tank top, even in winter, and dance until her heart is content – with or without music playing.
She’s getting a “real” scrapbook (an expensive one, relatively speaking, that will hold lots and lots of pages) for her birthday, a present she picked out. Makes this momma proud. (Also makes me want to get back into scrapbooking, my long-lost hobby!)
She’s waiting in bed for me to come and tuck her in. It’s time to go read with her from One-Minute Devotions for Girls, a book she picked out and that she loves to read each night. Time for my goodnight chat with my girl, sure to be full of questions. Time for my goodnight hug. Sounds like a good reason to sign off. Good night.
Last month, we celebrated our son’s 9th birthday. It’s tradition in our home to let the birthday boy (or girl) pick the activity for the evening, and Gabe picked Rock ‘n’ Rollers, a local roller rink. Lucky for him, it was a week night, and the rink was unusually quiet. In fact, we were the only ones there for part of the time, and the rest of the time there were only two other people sharing the rink with our family.
Gabe had a ball.
He got those skates for his birthday, and he was loving them!
It’s funny, though, because the hit of the night had to be the games. What is it about token games and kids this age? They work so hard to earn a few tickets, most of the time winning a ticket or two at a time.
Ella, however, got lucky. She hit the jackpot on one game and won 250 tickets in one swoop.
I think Gabe was a bit jealous, but we had them split the tickets, so he was happy.
I loved watching the kids pick out their prizes.
For the record, having even 150 tickets each doesn’t yield much in return. (But I didn’t have to tell you that, right?)
But those little toys bring lots of enjoyment.
And if something so small as plastic vampire teeth helps make the day of a 9-year-old birthday boy, it’s worth it.
Why do you scrapbook? Have you asked yourself that lately?
It’s so easy to get caught up in thinking, “I’ll never be caught up with my scrapbooks,” that sometimes it’s also easy to wonder, “so why even try?” I understand. My daughter is 6 years old, and I never finished her first year in her scrapbooks. From ages 2 to 5, my son’s pages are extremely sparse, almost nonexistent. And those are some precious years in a child’s life, for sure. Even when thinking about the present, when my kids are 6 and 9 years old, I can count numerous pages that I want to create, but in reality, only a handful might ever get created. And when I think about the things my friends and extended family do that I would love to document (weddings, graduations, babies, birthdays, even simple relationships), I can easily get down on myself for not “keeping up” or scrapbooking more.
But you know what? It’s OK.
The truth is, I don’t scrapbook for the sake of documenting every single detail of every little thing my kids (or my friends or my family members) do in their lifetimes. That would be nice, sure – and I do scrap those kinds of pages when the feeling strikes – but it’s certainly not realistic. Who has that kind of time? Instead, the primary reason I scrapbook is to document my feelings and capture a brief overview of our lives together. I want my kids to know that their dad and I love them and that we cherish their place in our lives. I want them to know what their personalities are like at different stages in their lives, and I want them to know that no matter who they are, what kind of grades they get or what their gifts and talents are, their family is the most important thing. I also scrapbook to give my kids a deeper understanding of who I am, and I’m hopeful that one day their children and maybe even their grandchildren will enjoy learning a little more about me, even if I’m not physically around to share that with them.
It’s for this reason that I think I am enjoying this book as much as I am. The book (50 Moments: Scrapbook the Pages that Matter Most by Lisa Bearnson) includes a list of 50 meaningful topics for scrapbooking. It’s a handbook of sorts for scrapbooking pages with meaning, pages that will mean the most to one’s children and grandchildren (and even to the scrapper herself!), pages that share an insight into the scrapper – what she loves, what she cherishes, the moments that have defined who she is – in a way that is personal and honest.
The list of topics to scrap includes things like a choice you’ve made that has defined who you are, a secret you have kept about yourself or one you have been a part of keeping, what your work ethic is and why you chose the career you did, what your goals are and how they’ve changed over the years, a wish you have or one that has come true, a time when you took a risk and how it turned out, why you love home and why you love your community, and so much more.
I am reading through this book slowly the first time, trying to take it all in, reading the journaling on the layouts that are given as samples, and enjoying the book as I would any other scrapbook magazine or book. But when I’m finished, I plan to go back and use the book as a checklist of sorts for pages I want to make sure to scrap before my time on this planet is finished. I might even collect all of those layouts in a separate album and, who knows, maybe I’ll print copies of those albums for my kids when they move out of the house some day. (That’s one beauty of digital scrapbooking…simple duplicates!)
I have a feeling this book is going to be one that sits on my nightstand for a long time coming. I’m only a about a third of the way into it, but I can tell it’s going to be one of my favorites of all time.
I hope you take some time to find this book (you can get it here for just $10 today!), read through it and consider scrapbooking some of these moments from your own story. Even if you never share the layouts that come out of it with anyone else, I think it would be a great way to document your feelings and your experiences, maybe even giving you a new glimpse of yourself.
* * * * *
The book’s back cover reads:
Scrapbooking is about sharing who we are with others — our goals, our values, our dreams. But with so many photos to take and so many stories to share, how do you decide where to begin? This book will help you create scrapbook pages that celebrate your life, that paint a picture of who you really are, that pass along family traditions and so much more.
In this book, you’ll discover:
- The 50 most important topics to include in your scrapbook.
- 150 thoughtful prompts and questions for bloggers, journal-keepers, family historians, teachers, writers and more.
- Dozens of inspirational quotes to use on your layouts.
- 150 brand-new scrapbook pages and ideas.
This book is published by Creating Keepsakes/CK Media. And no, they are not paying me to post this! (I wish!)