Little Things Mean a Lot

From the Archives, February 2012. One of my all-time favorite posts! A good reminder of how important the little things are in a marriage! Still true six years later.

QuiltI’ve always loved quilts. I’m amazed at how a quilter can take separate pieces of material and turn them into one beautiful creation.

The definition of a quilt is simple – a bed coverlet of two layers of cloth filled with padding held in place by ties or stitched designs.

I’ve found from experience that the more stitches or ties that are binding the pieces together – the longer the quilt lasts.

Several years ago I sewed a quilt for Matt’s bed. It looked nice at first – but since I made it very quickly, the few ties that I put in to hold it together soon broke in the strain of use.

I have another quilt that my Grandma made for me during my college years. She carefully tied it every few inches making a tight and warm covering that has stood the test of time and is still being used today.

One quilt lasted and one didn’t.

Marriage is like a quilt.

It begins as two separate lives that are bound together by a vow.

Then the process of “quilting” begins.

A good quilter knows that many small stitches hold better than a few big ones. The same is true of marriage. It’s the little things in daily life that will make a marriage strong.

Little things that say “I love you and you are important to me.”

Things like – getting up early to make your husband breakfast and packing his lunch before he leaves for work.

And getting the special “thank you – I appreciate this” look while he holds your hand and blesses  that breakfast.

It’s when your husband puts a CD in and immediately goes to your favorite song, or when he gives you all the M & M’s from his trail mix, or takes the dish towel from you and sends you to the couch to rest.

It’s letting your husband eat the last piece of apple pie, or choose what to watch on TV, or sleep undisturbed in the recliner on a Sunday afternoon.

It’s a kiss when they leave and a kiss when they return.

It’s a phone call at lunch break, a back rub, a shared joke.

It’s taking time to really listen.

It’s putting their needs ahead of your own.

It’s those little things.

Stitch by stitch. Everyday. Binding your hearts together.

“Little Things Mean A Lot”
Kitty Kallen

Blow me a kiss from across the room
Say I look nice when I’m not
Touch my hair as you pass my chair
Little things mean a lot

Give me your arm as we cross the street
Call me at six on the dot
A line a day when you’re far away
Little things mean a lot

Don’t have to buy me diamonds and pearls
Champagne, sables or such
I never cared much for diamonds and pearls
’cause honestly, honey, they just cost money

Give me your hand when I’ve lost the way
Give me a shoulder to cry on
Whether the day is bright or gray
Give me your heart to rely on

Send me the warmth of a secret smile
To show me you haven’t forgot
For always and ever, now and forever
Little things mean a lot

Showering the Bride

When you are part of a large, fun-loving quirky extended family full of inside jokes and crazy traditions, you feel kind of sorry for the young gals who choose to marry one of our boys.

Since we want to make them feel welcome and a part of the family right away,  we throw them a one-of-a-kind bridal shower full of family traditions and craziness!

So when Jackie said yes to my nephew Stephen, we gathered the clan and dug out our infamous, homemade and unique Bridal Shower game.

We throw a dice and share memories, or Nana-Shirleyism’s, or embarrassing pictures of Stephen, whatever the space tells us to do.

And since the object is to introduce the new bride to the family, we had to have a space telling us to “Dress-up”! We dig out the dress-up clothes (just like the grand kids have for years at Nana’s house) and we all find something fun to wear.

And I do mean ALL.

Dressing up is a tradition that started in my Grandma’s spare room before I was born.

It is something we take seriously.

Very seriously.

Something else we take very seriously is food.

Everyone cheers when we get land on the “Eat” space!

Then we swoop down upon the table of goodies wearing out lovely dress up attire and fill our plates with deliciousness!

And I do mean fill our plate.

Such pretty food just begs to be eaten!

There is also a space for the bride-to-be to open a gift.

And even some of those are unique and full of funny stories.

Like this vintage cheer leading outfit that has been a gag gift within the family for 30 years or more. This sweet gal was such a good sport!

It was such a honor to bless her with gifts and laughter and traditions!

Welcome to the family, Jackie! You fit right in!

 

Not As Planned

Would you believe it’s taken me over a week to fully enter this New Year?!

It’s taken me that long to recover from December – which did not go as planned.

 

I had a crazy allergic reaction that started Thanksgiving weekend, and by the time I lost my voice 2 weeks in, we started to suspect that I might be allergic to our Christmas tree.

So mid-December. my wonderful husband and son banished me to the basement for a few hours while they un-decorated the tree, took it outside, cleaned all the ornaments and lights, manhandled the artificial tree from the attic, put it up, threw the ornaments and lights on it, and vacuumed everything.

My heroes.

 

If you have ever lost your voice you know how exhausting it is.

I spent a lot of time in the recliner.

I did almost all of my Christmas shopping from that chair.

(God bless Amazon and the UPS drivers.)

I watched every single new Hallmark Christmas Movie. And some old ones.

I listened to hours of Christmas music.

And I discovered that my kids and husband are rock stars.

They dipped, baked, mashed, rolled, wrapped, and vacuumed my entire to-do list.

Everything. Even the things I had given up on.

They each took a part of our big Christmas Eve meal and made it happen. It literally showed up in front of me on the table they had beautifully decorated.

It was a humbling and beautiful gift to realize that after years of making Christmas for them, they could now make Christmas for me.

Yep. December was quite a month.

My voice is finally back, and my energy is returning.

And even though December did not go as I planned, I can see God’s hand in it all.

 

Faithful and kind.

My prayer journal is full of so many answered prayers.

 

And I am thankful.

I can say like Samuel –

 “Thus far has the Lord helped us.” (1 Samuel 7: 12)

Thus far.

I’ve been letting that truth soak deep inside the last few days.

But I think I’m ready now.

Let’s see what God has in store for 2018!

 

 

 

 

 

I guess it’s no wonder I’m slowly moving into 2018.

 

 

 

A Star in the Sky

My husband made me cry last week.

More than once.

They were good tears, though.

Happy “oh-my-goodness-I-can’t-believe-you-did-that!” tears.

For years I’ve admired Christmas stars on top of grain elevators and church steeples. There is just something in their beautiful simplicity that speaks to me.

 

 

So he made me one.

A big one.

And put lights on it.

And somehow managed to climb a ladder in the cold with it on his back to hang it on the light pole by himself.

Now – every night at 5:00 – my star starts shining.

And my heart sings.

I’m pretty sure that’s what love looks like.

 

 

 

 

 

Still Makes My Heart Happy! Age to Age

450px-trio_of_handsI thought of this post as we walked the four blocks to the nursing home yesterday to once again perform our Christmas program for the residents.

I saw the connections happen again this year – just like last year and the year before that and the year before that. 

And my heart was happy.

From December 17th, 2015

Age to Age 

Directing our church’s Christmas program is one of the highlights of my Christmas season.

And one of my favorite parts of directing is taking the program on the road to our local nursing home.

Every year I give the kids the same talk.

“I don’t care if you mess up a song or forget a line. I just want you to smile and have fun. If you have fun on stage, your audience will enjoy it. And when we are done, I want each of you to go around the room, take the hand of each and every resident and say Merry Christmas.”

This year was no different.

My older kids knew the drill, but I had some younger kids who had never done a program. They looked at me like I had suddenly sprouted reindeer antlers. Touch old people? Weird.

After church, we had a potluck, put on costumes, packed up props and walked the kids the four blocks to the nursing home where the staff had the residents ready and waiting.

When we had finished presenting the program – which was adorable in it’s imperfections – I prompted the kids to start their “Merry Christmas’ing”.

As my older kids started the rounds, the younger followed.

Small hands, sticky from the potluck dinner, reached out and touched older hands – hands that had seen hard work, loved babies, clapped in joy, and wiped away tears.

Work worn hands that are now so smooth the skin is almost translucent.

I heard the sweet “Merry Twistmas” and saw young eyes full of imp and mischief looking into eyes that had seen much of life.

I saw the hand squeeze. The tentative smiles.

And it happened.

A connection was made.

And then another.

And another.

Those kids started to see beyond the wheelchairs and wrinkles and discovered real people.

Those residents looked into sweet young faces and remembered.

Both the young and the old were blessed.

And there was joy in my heart.