Embroidery floss and a Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cookbook – those were the only disappointing gifts my mom ever gave me. She was determined to fashion me as the perfect homemaker, but I was a messy child who just wanted to have fun. I begged yearly for a Lite Brite, but Mom asserted that I would litter the house with tiny lights, clogging her vacuum and rendering my toy neither light nor bright. So, every Christmas and birthday I could reliably expect more colorful floss along with stamped pillowcases on which I could practice those all-important Regency era skills.
My family and me, 1971
My dad was a Lutheran pastor – eloquent, kind, and faithful. Determined to be an exemplary pastor’s wife, my mom was immaculate and frugal. They both instilled in me a love of books and encouraged me to visit our local library and to place regular orders from the Scholastic Book Catalog during my school years. My parents also gave me a potent wanderlust. When I was two years old, they purchased a second-hand Apache pop-up camper. It was nothing more than two plywood bed platforms draped in canvas, but we used it to see most of the United States – my parents all the while encouraging me not to stop at either coast but to look beyond to the other people and other places that God created.
Two of my favorite classic books and a bit of embroidery floss from my considerable stash
The best gifts from my mom and dad – curiosity and a love of travel, language, and books – more than compensated for a few lackluster presents under the Christmas tree. This blog will be about those gifts and how they continue to influence my life as a good enough mother, decent wife, often inept homemaker, and rabid reader and traveler. I’m a Christian, too, so sometimes I’ll relate how that informs the other parts of me, but I won’t shoehorn Jesus into a post about, say, the Eiffel Tower or Jane Eyre.
Finally, I’ll talk some about my book, I Don’t Want to Have the Prayer: A Messy Pastor’s Kid Does Her Memory Work. It sprang from years of parsonage life, my peculiar German heritage, and my strong and loving parents. Bottom line: it’s about a messy little girl turned messy adult who is loved by a Savior Who makes her clean.
I hope you’ll join me as I talk about books that have left an imprint on my heart and places that stir my soul.
I love your stories! So engaging.