This is from my daughter Asherel's journal. I do recall the mantis book she wrote. I helped her catch a praying mantis, and that whole semester of home-school, she kept a careful diary of the mantis' activities, and did "research" on mantis behavior. It was really fun, and interesting. How many people know that mantids LOVE cooked hamburger? I have the mantis book somewhere. I am still working my way through the shelves and shelves of stuff in my quest to downsize. I will find the mantis book at some point.
However, these two pages are the 'reviews' for her mantis book. I didn't know she wrote these. I was not yet a published author, so I don't know what made her decide she needed reviews for her mantis book. I do love her self-encouraging pep talk. Frankly, I wish I could just make up reviews for my books. My new release, Unlikely Friends, has a grand total of 1 review.
My favorite review of the mantis book is by Pinty Kaseorg: "The best book on mantids I have ever read."
Pinty was Asherel's beloved stuffed horse. She was the best dressed horse in history. Asherel made Pinty all kinds of clothes, and Pinty went everywhere with us for years. When Asherel outgrew Pinty, there was no way I EVER would. Pinty, and some favorite outfits are in the memento drawer which will NEVER be purged from our home. So is my oldest son Ander's 'bema' - the blanket he loved as much as Asherel loved Pinty. So is Matt's books about law that he started reading when he was eleven and first dreamed of becoming a lawyer one day (which he did).
This is Pinty. The petticoat layer is the dress Asherel wore when she came home from the hospital. The top layer is a dress and bead necklace that Asherel made for Pinty. I think I love Pinty at least as much as Asherel did.
And that is why downsizing is so hard. Every stupid thing in the house sparks a precious memory from the past. How can I throw away my wool coat I wore at the farm fifty years ago when I met Joe, my beloved horse? The coat still fits, but do I ever wear it? No. According to all the rules on purging one's home of unnecessary possessions, the coat, and Pinty, and Matt's Law for Dummies, and Anders' bema should be trashed. Not to mention all their Awana Car Rally creations, incredibly artistic endeavors from all three of them.
I should toss them all, in the name of downsizing. But I can't. I just can't.
I tried to pawn Asherel's old Beatles posters on to the AC repairman. He told me he would call his nephew to see if he wanted them, and then he drove away...quickly. I brought the posters to Goodwill. The attendant enthused over them.
"Take them for yourself," I urged him, thinking how desperately I didn't want all my memories to go to someone who wouldn't love them as we had.
"I just might," he said, but he tossed them in a bin.
Matthew 6:21 says: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I have thought a lot about where my treasure is over the past few weeks, as I go through our home room by room sorting possessions into piles for trash, donate, or keep. Really it is not the things themselves that are treasures. It is the memories they evoke.
I remember holding my sweet little girl on my lap, reading to both her and Pinty as she nestled near. I remember Anders snuggling against me, Bema wrapped around him, as we listened to the record he called 'Birds' and I waltzed him to sleep. I remember Matt reading Law For Dummies when he was still in elementary school and telling me he would go to law school when he grew up. I was so proud of his dogged determination and drive.
My treasures are not the things. They are my beloved children and the things remind me of them now that they are gone from our home. The scent of a past I loved but now is fading lingers in the things they once held so dear.
Beloved, God whispers, even they are not your real treasure. Your real treasure is in Me.
Philippians 1: 3-5 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
This is a hard season for mothers. Many of my friends are sending their oldest child off to college for the first time. It is very hard. I didn't think I would survive that trauma, and if I did, I would never smile again. I was wrong. I did survive, and I do smile.
God does indeed work all things together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. The picture He is painting is beautiful, but in the early stages, sometimes it is hard to make out just what He is creating. Some broad strokes don't look like they will ever make the finished work lovely.
My family, our struggles to live the life God desired of us, made memories that I pray ultimately contributed to the masterpiece God envisioned before time began. Those are painted on the canvas of eternity, and can never be lost.
Nonetheless, Pinty, Bema, and the Awana Cars are not up for discussion. They stay with me.