Beautiful, Strong, Happy, Graceful

It’s April!

Yesterday was the first day of National Card & Letter Writing Month! I hope you’ve decided to join me in making a special effort to send out some personal mail this month or help an elderly person write a letter if they are unable. I mailed out my request for my grandpa’s WPA personnel file yesterday.

I’m looking forward to receiving that file. I’m planning on sending out some thank-you notes and other more personal mail this week. Keep your mailman busy, people! Tax season is almost over and I’m ready to get back to writing on the blog in addition to participating in card/letter writing. Another thing to look forward to is the warm weather that will bring out all the wild edibles. Last week my sister-in-law and I harvested redbud blossoms and made Redbud Jelly.

So pretty and delicious!

Remember when I talked about August Schneidenbach a couple of months ago? Well, our August Schneidenbach memorial apple tree arrived and we planted it. It is an heirloom variety of apple called ‘Opalescent’. We chose this variety because in the description at Trees of Antiquity it notes that this variety was grown in Michigan in the late 1800’s – just when August would have been growing his apples.

In the midst of all this mess with getting taxes together and planting trees and flowers, etc., I didn’t get my daughter’s birthday blog post written. Today I want to celebrate her. When I found out I was pregnant with her I wanted a girl. That would give us one boy and one girl and we were certain at that time that we only wanted two children. When I was looking at baby names I found a Hebrew name that I loved. As soon as I saw the meaning of the name I knew I’d found her name. Her name is Shaina which means ‘beautiful’. And she is.

Her middle name is a combination of two family names and means “strong, happy, graceful”.

When she was about 5 years old I was a teacher of one of her church groups. They were all such cute little girls. For one of their projects, we took a Saturday and cleaned the church. I was a little grumble-y in my heart because that wasn’t exactly how I wanted to spend one of my two days off that week. Some of the girls, including Shaina, were cleaning the bathroom. I had stepped into the foyer to do something and Shaina came out of the bathroom and said, so genuinely, “Mom, God told me ‘thank you for cleaning the bathroom’. It makes him happy.” To say I was humbled would be putting it mildly. Out of the mouths of babes, right?

I managed to find a photo from that day but couldn’t find one with Shaina in it.

Sweet Hannah. I miss her. I miss all these girls.

Although Shaina and I are alike in some ways, we are very different in others. I’m much more introverted than she is. The advantage for me was that I got to live vicariously through her. When I was little I always wanted to be a cheerleader. She actually got to do that.

I wanted to be in drama but after elementary school, I was not self-confident enough.

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Shaina in The Little Prince.

I did end up (unintentionally) with a role in the amphitheater at Disney where we participated in the play as a family for a few years.

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Shaina also loves to paint. Now THAT I can do! Perhaps not skillfully, but I can do it with her. Three times we’ve been painting together. This one at my church:

This one at Painting with a Twist:

This year, she asked to go back to Painting with a Twist so she and I went for her birthday. This is what we painted:

I’m proud of my daughter. She’s intelligent and strong-willed. She’s raising two handsome boys and, because of her tenacity, she has the job she’s always dreamed of. She’s had some amazing experiences in life and I hope she has many more.

When my kids were little this song was popular:

I hope you dance

Here are the lyrics:

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder

You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger

May you never take one single breath for granted

God forbid love ever leave you empty handed

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean

Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens

Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance

Never settle for the path of least resistance

Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’

Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’

Don’t let some hellbent heart leave you bitter

When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider

Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)

I hope you dance

I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder)

I hope you dance (Where those years have gone?)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean

Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens

Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance


I hope you dance

I still hope all of these things for her.

One of her favorite songs when she was about 7 or 8 was this song:

I Love You Always Forever

While it wasn’t written for a mother and daughter, there is still a message that I want her to hear. So, Shaina- I hope you had a great birthday.

I have one last small gift for you, Shaina. You said you didn’t have any photos of you and DeReK together. I’ll get you some photos, but this one I’m giving to you today. You can download it on your phone and keep it with you.

I hope you understand how much I love you and how proud I am of you. I hope you understand that you were an answer to my prayers- literally. And I hope you know that I will love you always and forever.

Love, Mom

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