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The Books that Grew Me

Oh, my word ladies, I’ve been journaling. I absolutely love to journal but somewhere along the way, from being a child to being a mother, I lost the art journaling, of slowing down, of mindfulness. Sure, I write… but for a cause, for a purpose, for a career … but for myself? That’s decreased over time.

It’s even more rare that I pick up a prompted journal. You know the journals that tell you what to write? I have enough people telling me what to do, who needs that?

But I have this journal, “A Mother’s Legacy- Your Life Story in Your Own Words.” At the top corner of the book it states, “A Loving Gift for Your Children.”

Ladies, I do not fear dying, but I do I want my children to remember me as a loving gift to them.

At the prompting of a friend, I have been journaling to them for quite some time. To you new mommas, do it! To you older mommas, do it still!

Those early years of journaling were a bit more scattered and infrequent, but there is still laughter amidst the pages, heartache and pain, memories and treasures. But my favorite part? Their identities begin to shine and sharpen through each page. I can see them growing up into themselves and it is pure joy!

But let me tell you how I got here to this prompted journal (that I never pick up) and what that journal ignited in me today.

Gardening

The front yard of my house ain’t much- a little corner of the earth really (and it was ugly from its start). I’ve worked on it for the last couple of years (hesitantly, because what are the odds that I am staying here? In this city? In this house?). Is it worth the dig and potential bloom? This year I spent a whopping forty dollars at my local Exchange. I put new flowers in old cracked pots, moved my backyard chairs into the front yard (I call it a backyard, it’s a 5 X 7 slab really, there’s nothing to it, not even a fence line). Anyway, I moved those backyard chairs into the front yard, added a good book and a cup of my favorite coffee…and voila-peace!

 

It sounds silly I know …but as I sit here with my coffee and laptop, looking at my handsome children sitting in their chairs, doing their favorite things, hot cocoas in hand, I am reminded that there really is something to this pause. This sacred space in my little corner of the earth.

There’s something to digging and developing whatever part of the earth you’re in.

I know it’s trivial to plant roots in a place where someone else will reap the harvest, or worse, likely not care for it at all, but it’s hard for me to call a place home if I live like I am always passing through.

Prompted Journaling

So, I sit, prompted journal and pen in hand. The book begs the question, “What are some of the most memorable books you read as a child”?  What made them memorable”? And like lightening sparking and ricocheting off the page, I begin to see this tapestry of my life, book by book.

My Favorite Childhood Books and What They Instilled

  • “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr Seuss- taught me to be silly but brave.
  • “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein- taught me to be unique and to think outside the box. 
  • “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein- taught me compassion and kindness; to give more, take less.
  • “Superfudge” by Judy Blume- taught me everyone has an annoying sibling and to just lighten up about it. And that one day…I may actually really love that person.
  • “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White- taught me to love everyone in spite of differences and to fight to protect life.
  • “Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell – taught me to be strong and majestic, to run wild and free.
  • The Anne Series “Anne of Green Gables” and “Anne of Avonlea” (specifically) by Lucy Maude Montgomery- taught me chivalry is not dead but boys can be a little mean (especially when they love you). And that simple living really isn’t simple at all. Also, we all have ‘Matthews’ that we will inevitably lose. And we all know small orphans and that they have the potential to become beautiful men and women we all deeply need.
  • Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe taught me the beauty of a well-formed and well-articulated word and that words don’t have to come in perfect, precise sentences but should engage deep emotion.
  • And my mother….ya, ya, I know she isn’t a book but we do all tell a story. She taught me how to read them all! How to pick up a book and sit comfortably in a place of peace, in a little corner of the earth set out just for me. She taught me how to pick up a pen and put it to a page to create life or death through the power of words (which in my youth were likely hurting more than helping).

These books, these pages … they formed an identity in me that I may not have developed if I’d never flipped their pages. So dear mommas, teach them, ahem…read to them, well. Write to them well and as the well-articulated band, Need to Breathe so eloquently states it, “Beg the Book to Turn the Page…”, because we all have a little bit of identity wrapped up into what we instill in these fragile little minds.

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