Get It Together

Blissful times are ahead as I prepare, with gladness, for that handsome hubby of mine to come on home after a long leave of absence for work.
To help make the reintegration of two busy lives as smooth as possible, I felt like it was time to update some of our organization systems. IMG_6111.JPGThis little write-on, wipe-off frame is used for evening meal planning. I simply doodled the text with a gold paint pen, used white chalk to highlight the letters, and popped it into the frame.
After trying a system in which I wrote every meal and snack on a complicated grid, I’ve realized that, for the two of us, simply having a detailed plan for dinner is plenty of meal planning.
I use a wet erase marker for writing and clean it off with a damp paper towel.

IMG_6125.JPGThis daily/weekly/monthly cleaning schedule sits below it and keeps me on track where cleaning is concerned. Having a visual checklist has always been very motivational to me, and it actually lets me spend less time cleaning by helping me to stay more efficient. I got it from The Art of Simple here and modified it a few years ago to meet our needs.

IMG_6128.PNGI snagged these wire drawers at Target and they help me to stay on top of all the mail and paperwork for work.

IMG_6129.PNGI decided it was time to make our cork board both prettier and more functional. I don’t know about you, but beauty really does inspire me in my day-to-day. This pretty brass clock, a favorite family photo, some fresh flowers, and a special necklace all bring me happiness as I pay bills and make plans.
I keep a personal planner for my schedule, but I’ve decided we’d benefit from a combined family schedule, too. I hope the calendar on the cork board will do just that. I like when I know things like whether Mr. S has to appear in court in the a.m., if there is an upcoming drill weekend or military special school, if we have social/church church commitments, etc.

IMG_6127-0.JPGThe last improvement around here is my favorite! Brother took the time to come over and build me a shelf above or washer/dryer. I cannot even express how nice it has been to have cleaning products off the washer/dryer! I finally have a flat surface for folding. Heaven! How blessed am I?
Hooray for making preparations for precious homecomings.
This heart is overflowing with praise!

Papa’s Letter Home–WWII Victory

My father’s father, our Papa, passed away when I was very young, and I often wish I’d had the chance to truly know him. I enjoy hearing stories about him, and often think of how much Mr. S would enjoy him if they’d been able to meet.

He served in the US Army during WWII. I believe he spend most of his time in Germany as a tank squad leader.

This letter once hung in my grandparents’ home and now hangs proudly in my aunt’s. It was penned by him in (then) Czechoslovakia  on May 7, 1945, the evening before official V-E Day.

I am enthralled by the details of censorship, illness, lack of water, kissing girls on the street, longing for home, Nazi suicide, a drunken SGT, poor hygiene and the joy of victory in this treasured piece of family history. I’ve done my best to transcribe it below as it originally appeared, typos and all, as I can only imagine the way his thoughts, feelings, and exhaustion affected the letter. image photo (3)

Dear family,

This is about the happiest – the most happy of days and nights that I have ever had or seen in my life – and there will only be one happier – that when I can get home. We heard the news over the radio about 4:30 this afternoon – of course we were right up here where we almost knew about it before anyone else – just had to wait for it to be officially released — I will tell you the story of that when I get home as I doubt if censorship would permit it! But to start from the beginning!

Our trip from Germany to here was rough — it rained and I had been sick for two days and am just getting over it. A case of the [flu] combined with stiff joints from the damp weather. The last time I wrote was just before we arrived back into the field and from there we came here. There were 8 of us trying to sleep in the half-truck, we got lost and it took us 24 hours to finally get here. I was miserable – “O” ‘s to eat, nothing to drink and so crowded. But it was worth it. Mother, and all of you, I will never forget the wonderful morale I get when we saw the sheer happy faces of these liberated people. Believe me, they were almost crazy with happiness. They mobbed us – had all their flags, their native costumes on, the old women and men with tears running down their cheeks – they hardly knew how to act. As we passed down the highways, they ran out to meet us – with flowers, shrubbery and all sorts of gifts. We stood on the railings of our truck and shook hands with as many as we could. MP’s and Military Czech police couldn’t keep them back. Then as we entered Pilsen – it was even worse. Our vehicle was lead vehicle and the news had spread that we were coming – mile upon mile it was the same, masses of screaming out of their mind people. We had to drive slow – when we would stop, the girls would kiss us (we didn’t object) – they would climb right up on the vehicle and actually smother you! We would pick up the ones we liked and motion to them – there was a real cute blon[d]e – and a brown haired girl that looked like Bonni G – – they were okay. The people who couldn’t crowd the streets were hanging from windows throwing flowers – we were covered. Our faces were dirty, I hadn’t shaven for four days and looked terrible — but that didn’t matter then. My headache left and I felt fine except for my stomach which is still giving me trouble. Everyone was wild – even us GI’s. They followed us to the billet area – a large gymnasim [sic] and mobbed us with paper for our signature. They did everything – carried our bed roll, cots, etc inside, brot [sic] us hot water, coffee- cognac, wine, anything – one lady kissed me and said, “Son, this is your home” – especially the old people seemed so glad. All day long they stand out-side the fence wall waiting for a glimpse of us or someone to come by to talk to them. We had to have the town mayor order them from the premises as they were too much in the way – and there are nazis’s still here – so we have to still be careful! And to today when news of peace came – they thronged outside – I went over and told a small group [that] the “war finis” which is German or french for finish. Mother, they didn’t know how to act – the[y] wept- got down on their knees and prayed, and hugged andkissed [sic] each other – and the American Flag is flying from the top most building in the city. These people seem very well off, they far out-pass the German and French we saw – dress pretty nice and look pretty much okay. A few can speak English or at least a few words – naturally, they can all speak German by new!

And how did we take the peace ! We almost went nuts too – someone pounded on the piano, we got up on the desks, pounded the track horns, turned on all the radios, blew trumpets- and just acted like a bunch of girls at a basketball tournament or something of that sort! Our first thoughts were of those going home. Every one thinks that it won’t be too long – but I personally think that it will. We have only been here three months now – and altho [sic] I sorta hope that we won’t be in the occupation troops – but I think we will stay here. T S Mnd says that all troops going to the OBI will get 21 days furloughs before they leave the states again – but I would just as soon stay here for a year then [sic] to go over there for six months. For several reason[s] the trip, the training – – – and at least now we know that we won’t be “killed or something else in action” – and that is really good conselation [sic] ! I hope that there is an army of occupation here in this country – a bunch of Czech soldiers also returned today – the streets are packed with US and Czech soldiers – the vehicles have women, flowers, GI’s in them – the people have baked cakes and brought out their best wine – – it looks like I will have a terrific time on guard tonight. I am going to sleep in the morning until ten o’clock when I go on guard again!

As for the Germans – there isn’t much left of them – we thought that the people were mobbed – so were the Germans – – they gave up with out a fight, I haven’t even fired a buillet – and they lined the roads and all the by-ways waiting to be picked up. It seemed strange but with the men were German girls who had gone fanatic over Nazi ways and they were shown no special attentions. Some of them were very young – others were old, their clothing was torn and they really looked down and under. None of them smiled but you could tell that they were glad One place in Pilsen we had to hold up the convoy for some to pass as we went through they werepacked [sic] as far up the street as we could see – nothing but blue uniforms. All seemed to have a cane or or a leg, or an arm shot off and limping. The Czech patriots helped alot [sic], they soon had rouded up all that were left in town, the German general committed suicide I guess just before the town fell. It seems nice-no more black-out, no more nothing. I wonder how the people at home are celebrating- I can see Times Square and Boradway [sic] in NYC tonight – of course at home it’s only three o’clock in the afternoon, while here it after nine o’clock in the evening.

With this phase of the war over – it brings up the post war future. I still hope to go to school. The army is going to have this I and E program that will offer some subjects and use soldiers as teachers – – I would like to get something like that – it certainly would be a good basis to startfrom [sic] when I do get out. The end of the war makes you feel like you are so much closer to a discharge – and that is what we all really pray for almost every night. All of us from up in that neck of the woods got together tonight and discussed how wonderful it would be to getto [sic] Fort Snelling at once and getour [sic] discharges – and that trolley ride out of camp – andknow [sic] that it was goodbye for good, then Pat and Omer and I catch the next train or bus and in 8 hourse — be home for good! That will be the happiest day, no doubt about it!

This place is like a morge [sic] tonight – everyone who isn’t on duty has taken off to town. I perhaps won’t beable [sic] to halt a person at all. The Czech’s wanted to pull our guard for us – – they said they would form a solid ring around the place – but that couldn’t be done – -you know the army!

I trust that you got the hints I threw about being in Nurnberg [sic] (mentioned all the Nurnberger people and Delmer N – the teacher) that is where we had the nice room but for only 2 nights – and I didn’t even get a chance to take a bath!

I’ll bet any amount of money that the other guy who is to be guard with me is drunk someplace and will never show up – he is a character, Sgt Barber – the company barmer [sic] which remins [sic] me that I need a haircut.

Well gang – and Lois (I guess this hasn’t exactly been a letter to just you) this is all for tonight – I got my first package the otherday [sic] – every thing waspefect [sic] – the candy tasted so good on the move out here – and thanks alot. I am using the laces – they are much better and candles are tops! Am waiting for the next one new! Write often and pray that we will all be seeing each other soon. Over here we thank god for Victory [this word, the last, was written by hand]

Love – Arthur10570547_627738606102_5628720563303040116_n

A Loving Surprise

During my second year of teaching, I married the man of my dreams.

I confess that I may have been a little distracted as I daydreamed about the ceremony, my groom, and the thought of driving off together, beginning a new adventure. 🙂 That the Lord had blessed me, of all people, with such a steadfast, lion-hearted man was (and is) beyond comprehension.

Luckily for me, the parents and co-workers around me were more than sympathetic to my Disney-princess-esque ideas of happily ever after, and showed me great love and kindness in the weeks leading up to our wedding.

One day, I happily waltzed into the cafeteria for snack, and an entire bridal shower had been set up for me! There were my favorite flowers, snacks, and gifts galore! I was blown away by the kindness, planning, and love that went into every detail.

One of those gifts has been used time and time again. It is from a student’s mom who simply oozes creativity and thoughtfulness. Here is the message on the back:

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This perfect gift has blessed us more than words can say. It’s been a happy surprise, and a stronghold for tenderness and intentional praise.

Today, I came home after a late day at work, and discovered this sweet message, from my man of action, but of few words:

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A pile of mush? Absolutely! The best message I could imagine receiving from my husband during this season of our lives? For sure. 🙂 I am in agreement that this message will be “an amazing way to start each day” for a good while.

The sweetest part of marriage is that, as smitten as I was before the “I Do,” the love and gratitude only grows.

For us, marriage doesn’t mean togetherness, laying down beside each other at night, or talking every day. But it is a bond beyond words, and we believe the Lord himself sealed the covenant we made to each other. Thankful that neither time nor distance can touch that which is hidden away in Christ.

I pray we continue to draw close during trials as they come, and never pull away.

“So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Matt 19:6

Wildly Undomesticated

Mr. S. doing what he does best with our nephew and niece.
Mr. S. doing what he does best with our nephew and niece.

My husband comes alive outside.

At home, he rests, re-energizes, refreshes and washes. He loves tenderly, laughs heartily, and sleeps soundly.

I love that. I see this as my life-long ministry to him, to create a place of just that in our home. My greatest pleasure in marriage is to see my husband walk in the door, sit down for dinner, or crawl into bed and sigh a happy sigh of relief and contentment.

And lest you think I’m claiming victory over the domestic sphere (ha), let me confess that I’ve made our home a less-than-lovely place many times in my (grumpy, lazy, ugly) sin. Yet we have the luxury of living under abounding grace, and so in spite of our failings, the general pattern of our days at home is one of joy and tenderness.

And though home is good for him, he doesn’t thrive here like I do. The reason is simple. In his heart, my husband is wildly undomesticated.

Continue reading “Wildly Undomesticated”