Saturday, June 28, 2014
Recently my husband John did a funeral for a family at our Church. That is not remarkable in itself, but what struck me was a very sweet tradition this family's mother started with her first child. They shared that tradition at the Celebration of Life. This lady wrote letters to each of her children after they were grown, and gave them her memories of their lives as they grew up. She reiterated their journey from the moment she first held them to when they were adults. This journey of their lives was beautifully recorded, and became priceless memories.
That made me stop and think about my Mom, and what she might have written to me. Since I didn't get to stay with her, I will have to rely on what my siblings have since told me about her, and how she may have seen my life unfold had I been allowed to stay with her.
"My dearest daughter. Thanksgiving is a time to remember our blessings. God certainly gave us one when you decided to come on Thanksgiving Day! You are joining seven brothers and sisters, and of course Grandma. I want you to know, I love babies, and I loved you from the moment I knew you were there. We do not have much to offer you, and the Lutheran Deaconess at Immanuel said it would be best for you to be given away. Now that I have seen your face, held you and fed you, how can I do that. You have an older brother who just got married, and he said he would help. Your Grandma said you were a sweet little girl, and we all decided to keep you and make it work. The Welfare people have been here, and Mrs. Cleveland said it is silly to think of keeping you when we have nothing to offer you. We can offer you love, and brothers and sisters who would help take care of you. She said, No! She told me that if I insisted on keeping you, Welfare would then take all your brothers and sisters away. I don't know what to do. You are so little, and you won't remember me, but how can I give away a baby? I have had you close to me for 10 days, but today they want me to sign papers. Even if I don't sign they are taking you to their orphanage. My heart is breaking, and I will never forget you. Please don't hate me. You have pretty blonde hair, brown eyes, and a tiny little nose. I am memorizing your little face now, so I will never forget it. Be a good girl, and maybe someday, God will let me see you again. Please know I will pray for you every day for the rest of my life. I love you, you are a part of me forever!"
My brothers and sisters didn't remember me in 2000, when God did indeed bring us all together. They did immediately share stories, and love, and acceptance, as though I had never been separated from them. I learned my Mom had a personal relationship with Jesus, and she stepped into His presence in 1987. Her wish for God to let her see me again will be honored, when God calls me home, and I step into her arms once again!
Friday, June 27, 2014
Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Boot Scootin' Country Girl: I admit it, I am a country girl at heart. I love log cabins, country roads, biscuits and gravy, and horses. Growing up, I was a city girl ev...
I admit it, I am a country girl at heart. I love log cabins, country roads, biscuits and gravy, and horses. Growing up, I was a city girl even though my cousins all lived on farms. Then I met and married John, and entered the wonderful world of country music. I had never listened to it before, but that was my loss. We went to a lot of dances when we met, and most of the music was classic country. All the greats Waylen and Willie, and the boys, Tanya Tucker, George Jones, and Dolly. I had cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat, and fell in love with the music.
At that time once a year we looked forward to The Douglas County Fair. For five days, we could enjoy all things country. Before they citified it and moved it to Omaha, we spent every night we could in Waterloo, Nebraska. We walked around and looked at the exhibits, met friends we only saw here, ate at the Church stand, and watched well known Country artists. We saw Goerge Jones, Tammy Wynette, and many more. After each concert they met their fans, signed autographs, and talked to us. They were all from modest beginnings, and never got too important for their fans. They loved God, their families, and their country, and they loved to make music.
We also met the Music Director for Omaha's main country station at that time. He and his wife had a side business of booking country music talent around Nebraska. John went to work for them for awhile, and we went to hear groups so John could get them booked Into various places in Omaha, and around Nebraska. We met so many people, and got to hear and see new talent. One of the most memorable was Conway Twitty's daughter Kathy. Our love of Country kept growing.
We also met a quirky little country gal, named Coleen. She was a DJ at her father's Country station in Omaha, WOW. She worked the late evening, early morning slot, and many times we called her while she was working, just to chat. She owned a horse, and invited us out to the place where he was boarded, so every weekend we spent riding at Rick's and being part of a fun place. We took the kids out riding a couple of times, but the middle son was the only one who shared our love of Country music. We later learned that when we thought he was sleeping, he too was calling Coleen, just to chat. He went to college, and majored in radio, and has been a DJ ever since in North Dakota, and Nebraska.
We still listen to Classic Country Radio, and our CDs. We used to display all the autographed pictures we had collected, but there comes a time when you pack them away, and just hang on to the memories. I still wear my boots, and we have added watching Bull Riding to our country style.Listening to Classic Country, of all the great ones who are slowly leaving us, and remembering those earlier years, still make me a boot scootin' Country girl!
Friday, June 6, 2014
Imagination is a wonderful friend. Circumstances made me an only child, and you have to rely on yourself for entertainment. I had friends, but you can't be with them 24/7, especially when you are five, or even eight or nine. I spent a lot of time imagining. I would spend hours dreaming about being famous, being a veterinarian, owning a horse ranch, and being a Mom to many children. I was able to get into pretend so well, that I really lived those lives when I was alone.
I remember on Sundays, we always drove to Wayne, Nebraska to see my grandparents. We left after lunch, visited for the afternoon, then drove home after dark. The dark backseat of the car was my world. Here I could be all that I could not be in real life. I could hear the shows on the radio, and see all the lights on the dash, but the back seat was where I was an artist, a dancer, a doctor, a famous author. Listening to Jack Benney, The Shadow, and Amos and Andy, I was transported to worlds outside myself. I was very shy, and very insecure, so this world of my making was my happy place!
I made up stories in my head. It never occurred to me at age 10 or 11 that I could write them down. I spent hours making up lives for my dolls, and especially my paper dolls. They had adventures, they had romance ( as much as I knew about romance), they had danger, but they were always happy. Most of all, they lived the way I wished I could. I felt like my life was so ordinary, so uninteresting, that this was the ideal. It could be whatever my imagination wanted it to be. I very much wanted at that time to be a dress designer. I spent hours designing clothes for paper dolls. I could lose myself for hours, in a studio in New York City, or California, designing clothes that everyone would die to have. Yes, Imagination is a great thing!
The ultimate imagined life involved my past. Now at 10, how much past could I have? Not much, but I had recently found out I was adopted. That opened up a whole new world. I had no details, but I did know my family was in Omaha, and there were brothers and sisters. I spent time in my dark backseat between Wayne, and Sioux City, Iowa, thinking about that life. I imagined they were looking for me, I imagined what I would say to them. I imagined what they looked like, and how I got separated from them. I imagined walking down the street, and finding them. What a joyful time it would be. They would love me, and we would live happily ever after. As a side note, God did arrange that 47 years later. I no longer had to imagine what my family was like, or how we would meet, or if it was joyful. It was, and my family are wonderful. I have lots of nieces, nephews, and greats, and great-greats! There were seven siblings plus me! Oh and the stories, and imagination, did lead eventually to teaching children, and then to being a published writer and author. Isn't it great that God knew exactly what He would do for me over and beyond what He let me imagine!
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Carolyn McBreen Gibbs Blog: Girly Girls And Tea Parties!: I wasn't always a girly girl. My earliest memories of playing with my friends was in Colorado. Our house sat on a gravel road, had a hug...
I wasn't always a girly girl. My earliest memories of playing with my friends was in Colorado. Our house sat on a gravel road, had a huge lot, front and back, and a lane of cherry trees. It became the popular place to play, not because I was so delightful, but because of space and cherries. You see our favorite game back then was cowboys. We had a lot of space to run, and hide out, and we had good guys (white hats, and bad guys (black hats). We had Bank robberies, and stagecoaches with our wagons, and we had cap guns, and vests, and boots. As a bully girl of five, it was my house, my rules, my way! I honestly would not have wanted to be my friend.
Luckily as I got older and we moved to Sioux city, I stopped being a bully, and had good friends I enjoyed. My play time switched to dressing up in Mother's old clothes, having favorite dolls, and endless tea parties. I spent hours dressing my dolls, combing their hair, and yes, I occasionally cut their hair. I read Nancy Drew mysteries, and it was the best of two worlds. It is possible to be girly, and still self sufficient, and adventurous. As a teen, I loved clothes, jewelry, shoes, and pink. On the other hand, I loved learning about cars. My Daddy always worked on his own cars. My favorite times were to sit on the driveway and watch, but the best was when I crawled under the car with him and he explained what he was doing. Under the hood was a world of engines, and things to make a car run. As I hung over the front to see under the hood, Daddy told me what everything was, and how it worked.
I still love cars, especially old ones, and especially ones with loud mufflers! I was not very good, but I have shot guns, learned how to shoot with a bow and arrows, and I have sat in a duck blind. So I guess I am still a mixture of girly girl and tomboy! Most of the time I am still all girl, and still love pink, tea parties, and ballet. Several years ago, my husband John and I were blessed to go to California to meet two of my sisters for the first time. I found my birth family and had met my siblings except for the ones in California. It coincided with my sister Carol's 50th Anniversary. Since my husband is a pastor they wanted to meet us, but also have him renew their wedding vows. While we were there, our great niece who lived accross the street from my sister, planned the ultimate Tea Party for my sisters and me.
She figured we never got to do that together growing up.
Talk about a girly girl rush of pure joy! Several days before, she had her son, dressed as a Dickens character, hand deliver the invitations. They were scrolls with script,rolled up and ties with fancy ribbon, and a tea nag attached. The day of the party, we followed a path of Rose petals up her sidewalk. Her home is filled with antiques, and Victorian accents. She had rearrange it, so we had the round table by the window, a sideboard loaded with good things to eat, and small white lights and candles everywhere. The table was set with lace, delicate tea cups, and our names framed in small gold frames. We got to dress up with hats, boas, shawls, and gloves. We were waited on, and were treated to scones, chicken salad, and little tea cakes. It was a delight for any little girl, or any older girl. We shared our lives, pictures, and were in our own world for hours. At the end we each received a Victorian doll, our tea cup, and our hats. It was the best tea party ever, and a special bonding with my sisters.
It doesn't matter if I prefer girly to tomboy. What matters most is that God gave me the ability to enjoy a little of each. God made me exactly the way He wanted, and I am grateful that I can enjoy getting my hands dirty, drink tea out of a china cup, enjoy a car race, or go to the Ballet. I like having a foot in each world, and being able to adapt to the moment. I don't fish, but I enjoy sitting in the places fish are caught. God has blessed me with a girly girl heart, a tomboy attitude, and many tea party moments that make me glad to be exactly who I am!