Save the Journals or Burn Them…?

 

Although New Year’s Day is often a day to toss out the “old”, the January 1st purging of my home office was not planned. I just happened to smell a fire brewing outside and discovered my husband burning some Christmas wrap and nonsense snail mail.

I was sitting in my office and looked around at what I could hand over for the “burn pile” as we call it in my house. I decided to quickly scan the files in my cabinet, pulling out 11 months of Kohls charge bills, water bills, etc. for my husband to throw into the fire. Then my eyes caught sight of several prayer/life happenings journals. I opened a few and perused the dates, ages of the kids and what I had written. Some of the writings were not pleasant.

Very fervent prayer requests – all received a hard “no” – at least up until now. I was so detailed…so “Mom”…so clearly overwhelmed and crying out to God to help with this whole parenting thing. Much of the writing was also in gratitude, but many frustrations were there in ink.

I wondered why I thought of these journals as such treasures. I have many. One of my habits over the years was to start a new journal whenever I needed a fresh start, and that wasn’t always on January 1st. For several years, I thought about my children discovering my journals someday and enjoying the pages filled with their Mom’s thoughts. On January 1st? I really didn’t think some of my writings needed to be read. I also questioned whether or not they would care about my thoughts and prayers at the time.

I didn’t want my kids to someday look at my prayers that didn’t get answered as I had prayed them and resent God. They had to walk a faith journey of their own.

I had recently asked my kids if they cared if I saved a slew of thank you cards I had received over the years. I had actually tossed an entire carton of thank you cards about three years ago and wondered if my kids would have someday enjoyed reading about all the thoughtful  things their Mom did (wink wink). Would such writings help them know me more? I threw them away and Tuesday, I was looking at another small pile that had collected in my desk drawer. I decided to hand them over to the burn pile.

As I continued to question whether or not to turn a few journals into ash, I contemplated two things I observed recently.

1 – I painted my dining room a couple of months ago. Prior to painting, I had to empty my credenza full of china and glassware. I set up a long folding table in the front foyer and put all the credenza contents on it. That table sat there for days and every time I walked by it, I couldn’t help but think of all the estate sales and garage sales I had seen where tables just like this one supported a lifetime of someone’s collectibles, now for sale without regard to sentiment. When I finished the paint job, I got rid of several things. Guess what? I don’t miss any of them. I kept what was truly worth keeping.

2 – If you read my post, Determined to Enjoy the Breathtaking Beauty of Nature, Despite the Profound Pain of Life, you probably noticed that I lost my beloved friend two years ago. I am very close to her daughter who recently got engaged and is moving into a new home. Although we had previously gone through my friend’s belongings, we were together again last week, purging even more “stuff” so she could lighten the moving load.

After good counseling and two and a half years of additional time to heal, her daughter was ready to let go of more belongings. I asked her about a few things in particular…if she was “sure”. She answered, “Yes. I just can’t hang on to everything.”

As I held my journals in the office, I thought of my friend’s daughter who kept scrapbooks but certainly not every written thing her mother wrote. The truth is, she is busy now. A new career. A groom-to-be. New home. Overseas travel. Already planning her first child as soon as possible after the wedding. Even though she will no doubt become much more sentimental about her Mom’s writings once she becomes a Mom herself, every single thing won’t be read.

In addition to journals, I have endless pages (surprisingly organized) of typed happenings specific to each child that I have created over the years. Funny stories of when they were two years old, cute things they said or sentimental talks we shared, birthday party happenings…pages of “life” that I have in piles for each of them. I’m confident they will enjoy those stories someday when they have children of their own.

Pushing off my decision whether or not to burn the journals, I pulled out the folders of orthodontic work (and the costs) that I was saving. The folder of my older daughter’s senior trip to Europe (and the costs!). The folder of 10 years of ice hockey…ice time, equipment, hotel rooms, team fees…Field hockey, lacrosse, soccer. I decided my kids wouldn’t care about what we paid or the hours of planning and investment, so into the burn pile they went.

I still struggled whether or not to save the journals. I actually came across one I had written years ago and marked “not to be read until you have children of your own”! Hahaha.

Ultimately, I decided to burn a few. I still have plenty left that I will take time to decide on but those first few I tossed…? I feel okay about it. I don’t think I’ll regret letting go of the few I read through.Writer’s write. If I’m not at the computer, I’m in a journal or, the blessing and curse: I’m writing in my head….always words and articles and chapters forming…just like most of you reading this right now.

After I watched to be sure every personal page was ashes and wouldn’t fly by air into the neighbor’s lawn, I walked back to the house. Guess what I wanted to do? Write about how I decided to burn some writing! And so this post was created.

If you have thoughts regarding the saving (or not) of your personal writings, I’m interested!

Happy Thursday!

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Our Blog Writing Reflects Our Many Characteristics

My youngest called from college, distressed about boy #1 talking to boy #2 on her behalf. She did not approve. She believes that any young man worth dating in the future would need to personally get to know her – through her.

The conversation progressed into fully analyzing the words boy #1 used to describe her to boy #2. She disagreed with one of the adjectives.

My daughter’s voice elevated. “Am I like that? What does that even mean?” She thought it may have a negative connotation which in her case, would be impossible. No, I’m not just wearing Mom-goggles. That child was the easy teenager…her siblings view her as annoyingly good.

I tried to make a joke because gosh, it was all positive and she was just being a 20-yr. old. But, she wasn’t having it. After all, she really does like boy #2 and was highly concerned about the chosen adjective. Ultimately, after discussing the various meanings of said word, my daughter concluded, “I am many things…I live life to the fullest and I laugh a lot. I think quite a few different adjectives would be used to describe every individual girl.” True. But most girls would have giggled. My girl gave me an analysis!

That got me thinking about words, sentences and adjectives…

Later that evening, I was reading through blog posts from several of you incredible writers. I was suddenly noticing the array of candor, personality and diversity of posts…within the same blog. While most blogs have one strong theme, individual posts reflect several different moods, tones, frustrations, interests and joys. My own blog included. The content evolves over time. In a word, the diverse writings echo our lives.

Poets who insert periodic posts about family happenings.
Photographers who sometimes tell short stories.
Blogs devoted to depression but also include occasional bright happenings.
Inspirational quote sites that sporadically contain fiction excerpts.

Although often our own worst critic, as writers we have something of value to offer. We care about “words” and spend considerable time trying to determine the best ones to convey our meaning. Ultimately, we do the best we can with the time we have to post something thoughtful or thought-provoking or entertaining or just plain ‘ol pretty to look at. No matter what we write, it often encompasses many different adjectives which ultimately convey the many different aspects of our lives.

About This Mama Duck…

Well, first, the “duck” title is a metaphor for being the leader of my nest (a home on a few acres of land that is in need of updating but with three ducks in college, we’re keeping the outdated kitchen!). The duck metaphor also represents the protector of the babies even if they are now 20, 21 and 21 respectively (did you see this back in April?). Ok, she’s technically a goose but wow, that’s a mad Mama! Apparently, this high school golfer walked too close to her nest! (Click image for goose story.)This Mama Duck is the food-hunter…The food-preparer…(click cone image)And all things home, family and faith. Oh yeah, I’m also an adjunct professor who is looking for a new career now that the baby duck moved to college last month (sniff sniff). This blog was started back in 2013. I took a hiatus from early 2017 until now. Much of the writing over the years was Mama-stuff that was sometimes serious but usually humorous or lighter-hearted. Life got a little harder in the last couple years and so did my heart, so I stopped posting. I didn’t think readers would be interested in the cynical, often depressing writings that were building up in my hard drive (the computer, not my heart…that is softening).

But, I will… maybe… eventually…post a few of the more miserable writings lingering around my office. Why? Well, I’ve been paying close attention in recent years to other 40-and-50-something year old Mama ducks and they too feel a bit confused, angry, struggle with the inequality of it all, wondering how it didn’t turn out quite as expected considering the insane amount of work and sacrifice that went into many relationships, jobs and situations. (Click image for earlier article.)That said, this Mama Duck follows Jesus. It’s shameful how ungrateful I can be when I start questioning God about what I don’t have, didn’t get, haven’t achieved, when I’ve been blessed so much. The cycle goes a bit like this: Injustice makes me mad. I tell God about it. I don’t always act Christ-like when I’m in these fits. I question Him. I get miffed (more on that later…don’t send mean comments…I love the Lord 🙂 ). I have gathered a few writings about wrestling with God….trying to reconcile His love and holiness with the depravity of the world (yes, I’m already highly familiar with the common Christian responses to this issue).  Ultimately, after spiraling through my questions, I end up in the same place: He is Him. I am not. He is the parent. I am the child. He is sovereign. It’s not about me. It’s about those He puts in my path, my church, my heart. It’s about Him. I am a student of His Word and have been serious about my faith-walk for over 20 years. (Click image for earlier article.)Some of the more popular past posts can be found under “Popular Posts” in the header above.

More about me and this blog can be found under About Me in the header above.

Thank you for checking out my blog. I look forward to reading your writings and thank you for reading mine!

 

Sunny and Versatile?!!

I have little knowledge or understanding about blog awards, but I’m sending a big Thank You to Bonnie over at Harmonyspearls for nominating my blog for these two awards! sunshine award

versatilebloggerawardThe only thing I know about blog awards is either that people accept them or they post on their site “award free blog”. Since Bonnie is the first person to introduce me to blog awards, I gratefully accept! Thank you very much.

As you requested, here are my responses to your questions and my nominations.

1) What is my favorite food? Snow crab, lobster, broccoli, fresh bread, great salads, chocolate….

2) Who is my favorite actor? Yikes, too many to choose one!

3) What is my favorite television show? The Kelly File, Home & Family…

4) What is my favorite “tear jerker”? I have a tendency to sniff through most sentimental movies. I’m a bit of a softie when it comes to watching movies. I do find Becoming Jane terribly tragic, especially knowing how much Jane Austen loved Tom Lefroy!

5) Tea or Coffee? I only drink both occasionally, but I do love cold Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino’s in the bottle.

6) What is my favorite sport? Ice hockey!

7) What is my lucky number? 11.

8) What is my favorite holiday? Christmas!

9) Twitter or Facebook? I have accounts for both, but I’m not a regular user of either one. I do prefer Twitter and will eventually get on board with using it more!

10) What is my favorite Christmas movie? The Nativity, and pretty much all of the Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel.

Selecting 10 blogs to nominate was very difficult indeed. I love the blogging community and appreciate each one that I follow for its uniqueness. In my heart, everyone deserves an award for offering helpful words of encouragement, God’s blessings, and usually, for simply being brave enough to share their life.

If you decide to accept these two awards, copy and paste the following 4 rules, your nominations, and the above 10 questions on your acceptance post.

As stated by Bonnie, the rules of acceptance for the Sunshine and Versatile awards are:

1) Thank the person nominating you.

2) Place the award badges on your blog page.

3) Answer the ten questions listed above on your page.

4) Pay it forward! Nominate ten deserving bloggers for the same awards.

If you don’t already know of these blogs, you will be blessed, relate, and/or laugh if you visit them:

http://treasuringmoments.com/
http://pocketfulofmotherhood.wordpress.com/
http://kellyjgrace.com/
http://sweetrains.wordpress.com/
http://momof3isnuts.wordpress.com/
http://mamasongs.wordpress.com/
http://atimetoshare.wordpress.com/
http://bethannchiles.com/
http://graceglimmers.wordpress.com/
http://wickedgoodteens.com/

 

The Curiosities of Blogging

I’ve learned so much about blogging in the last year! Two of my favorite things are:

1) Reading posts and comments of other parents. Your stories have made me laugh out loud at my computer and others have made me cry.

2) The online fellowship with other believers in Jesus Christ. I love reading your blogs about real-life and how God sustains you in this crazy world. I live in an excruciatingly liberal state (NY), so your blogs are refreshment. The type of work I have been doing of late is 100% remote from my home office, which also makes your stories and experiences feel like good company!

Thank you for reading, commenting, and thanks for sharing your own life so candidly in your writings. I’ve learned so much from you.

I thank my God every time I remember you. Phil 1:3 NET

One year ago today – my first post:

Exposing Myself

I admire those who write blogs and honestly share their life story as they travel through their journey… perspectives from their past, present, and their hopes for the future.  Blogging often means exposing your true self – even if the “true self” lingers only for that particular day – and exposing ourselves takes courage.  While I’m low on bravery, I’m going for it anyway…. welcome to my blog.

This blog is a hodge-podge of my life happenings.  There is no consistent theme, order or rhythm.  In my fantasy life, it would have all three!  Here are my thoughts and experiences, written just as I am, where I’m at on this journey.