Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tender Hearts

There have been tender hearts lately at our house.  The tender hearts are mostly in the men of our home.  When Ben had his birthday, I took him out for breakfast and when I was telling him all of the things that I loved about him and my hopes for who he would become, out came his tender heart.  Red eyes.  Little tears.

His tender heart came out later when we gave him his gifts.  He loved the little camera we gave him.  He said to me, "Dad, thanks for my camera.  It was my best gift."  Then red eyes, little tears, "Actually, my best gift . . . was you."  I hugged him hard, real hard.

Matthew's tender heart comes out all the time lately: when we were at breakfast together, when he told Gigi thank you for his 6 trip, when I thanked God for him at the dinner table, and many other times.

Caleb's heart is different.  His tender heart is out more when he's happy.  It looks like kissing me, telling me he loves me, and sitting close on the couch.  He longs for control, so it usually doesn't get too far down the tears road.

I just read Molly Piper's post about still missing her dead daughter Felicity four years after she was stillborn.  Tears welled.  I am glad when my tender heart peaks out.  It helps me know I'm still struggling.  When my heart becomes hard and there's no emotion, I know I need to get back in the fight for my soul.  I pray that each of my kid's heart remains tender.  It is a tilled soil that is ready for the gospel of Christ.  God promises to remove our hearts of stone and give us a heart of flesh.  A friend used to ask "When was the last time you cried?"  He used it as a measuring stick for how we were living.  I know tears come easier for some of us than others.  My grandma used to cry over Hallmark commercials.  I'm not sure I ever remember my dad crying.  More than the tears, I hope for the tender heart.  There are things in our world that should hurt us and things that should overcome us with gratitude.  I'm thankful for both and the tender heart that responds to each.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Matt's 6 Trip

My mom has made a special tradition of taking each of her grandkids on a special trip when they turn 6-years-old.  For Matt's 6 Trip, they went to the local water park hotel and then to the Vikings game.  They had a great time and memories were made . . . even if the Vikings lost. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Celebration!

Last night we celebrated Mom's birthday with an amazing dinner out at the Corner Table restaurant in Minneapolis.  It is a small room in a very simple neighborhood, but the food and service were exceptional.  We arrived and Dan our server seated us a table right near the window.  We looked at the very small one page menu and decided to do a tasting menu.  This is where you leave the food up to the whims of the chef.  Each course was delicious, paired wonderfully with a wine taste as well.  We don't get to do fun things like this very often so it was a great treat.  Mom, thanks for getting older and giving us this chance to treat you.  Shube, thanks for coming along.  D&J, thanks for watching the kids.

If you're looking for a place for fresh, local food in Minneapolis, definitely give the Corner Table a try.  Here's a pic of our main course, lamb ragu.  MMMmmmmm.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Girls

I posted about what I have been thinking about the boys and their futures last week.  Last night we were reading our latest read aloud "Caddie Woodlawn" by Carol R. Brink.  It is the story of a pioneer girl in Wisconsin.  She is allowed, mostly by her father, to run and play and romp with her brothers.  Her mother would like her to be more of a "lady."  As she gets a little older she begins to struggle with the tension of who she is and who she wants to be and who others want her to be.

In the passage we read last night, she gets in big trouble with her mother because she and her brothers play a practical joke on their cousin from Boston.  She is sent to her room without any supper.  After everyone else is asleep, her father comes up to her room and sits on her bed.  He puts her warm hand in his cool hand and says to her the following.

It’s a strange thing, but somehow we expect more of girls than of boys. It is the sisters and wives and mothers, you know, Caddie, who keep the world sweet and beautiful. What a rough world it would be if there were only men and boys in it, doing things in their rough way! A woman’s task is to teach them gentleness and courtesy and love and kindness. It’s a big task, too, Caddie—harder than cutting trees or building mills or damming rivers. It takes nerve and courage and patience, but good women have those things. They have them just as much as the men who build bridges and carve roads through the wilderness. A woman’s work is something fine and noble to grow up to, and it is just as important as a man’s. But no man could ever do it so well.  I don’t want  you to be the silly, affected person with fine clothes and manners whom folks sometimes call a lady.  No, that is not what I want for you, my little girl.  I want you to be a woman with a wise and understanding heart, healthy in body and honest in mind.
I love this quote.  The spirit of it is what I want for my girls.  I want them to do the work that God has for them in a strong way like their mother and their grandmothers and their great-grandmothers before them.

Country Living: The Rhino

It's no problem for the Rhino!  In one of his first trips out to the farm Amanda's dad said, "We've got to get the Rhino out here."  So last weekend they went to their place in Michigan and brought it back.  It has since been endless fun for the Gammons family.  We have raced around our property and broken new trails.  Last night Lucy, Ben and Matthew and I spent the evening clearing a few remaining trails.  In my mind you just can't beat and evening that includes a chainsaw, the Rhino, work and my kids. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fun with friends

What do you get when you add nine kids, a picnic, a great playground, water, conversation with friends and a beautiful night?  Good times.

Country Living: Grant Tractor Parade

This weekend we attended the Grant Tractor Parade near our house.  It was so much fun.  Anyone who wanted to be in it could just show up and many did.  Most of them drove antique tractors but there were old cars and even some riding lawn mowers that joined in.  It last about twenty minutes.  The kids got a ton of candy and we all left happy.  My best parade in a long time.  We already are looking forward to next year.