My battle against guns

Are you pro-gun or anti-gun?  What about for your children?  My father was a hunter and I had many uncles and cousins who were hunters.  I even had one uncle who was a trapper, he was called Trapper John.  Yet, because of a horrific gun incident in the family just a few weeks after our wedding, I was against having guns in our home. Our compromise was a locked gun cabinet.

Our first child, a son, was born two years later.  We decided guns would not be a part of his playthings. As a pre-schooler he turned every elongated object into a gun. Every stick was a gun.  Every straw was a gun.  A baseball bat could serve as a gun.  Even a piece of toast could be bitten at until it was the shape of a gun.  I had lost the battle against guns.

It was either the water guns or the small wooden rifle which broke the barrier.  We used the wooden rifle to talk about gun safety and to hunt imaginary rabbits in the living room.  I am not opposed to lawfully hunting game for food. I greatly appreciate anyone sharing their venison with me.  I have less arthritis pain when I eat wild caught, free- range meat.

air soft

siblings playing with air soft

Water guns became larger and larger holding greater and greater amounts of water.  Undoubtedly someone would eventually grab the hose and the water play escalated into a battle.

For the cooler months Nerf dart guns were harmless and lots of fun.  Googles were required when our sons delved into rubberband guns.  The entire family room would be transformed for these battles.  All three boys and their sister would play outside with the lazer guns.  These games would spread across the yards of several neighbors.   Lazer guns could be played a night, which was an added bonus for our aging children.

As teenagers and young adults they loved playing with air soft guns and paint ball guns.  They still do.   There is an element of competition and excitement involved in this play.  On the plus, side this play also includes running, exercise and fresh air.

Our youngest son, who is 10 years behind his next closest sibling, did not play with guns quite as much as his older siblings.  But he did have every one of the types of guns previously listed.  He also designed, built and sold some pvc guns for shooting marshmallows or Nerf darts.

I do sometimes wonder if we had had 4 girls and 1 son, rather than the reverse of that, if gun play would have been less of an issue.  I don’t know the answer.  Testosterone did reign in our home.

There is a huge difference in a play gun and a real gun.  A real gun is a weapon and a tool. It must be treated with respect and caution. Always assume a real gun is loaded.  Safety lessons should be repeated in any home for all the occupants where there are guns, even those locked in cabinets.

I am not sorry I lost the gun battle.  All my children have a very healthy respect for guns. We all appreciate our U.S. Constitutional Second Amendment rights to bear arms. It is the criminals who are not lawful or respectful of human life.

Do with Dad

What do you do with your daddy? What did he do with you? (I am singing this to my own tune in my head.)  Fishing, camping, hunting, boating, hiking, kickball, badminton, watching TV and homework are things I remember doing as a kid with my dad.

Reflecting upon those camping and fishing trips, I wonder where the joy was for my dad. It seemed like he spent most of our fishing time untangling lines, fixing reels, or taking our fish off the hooks.  However, he kept taking us back to the water.

Once, while we were water skiing on the Mississippi River he decided he really wanted to ski even though he had not planned on getting in the water.  That did not stop him.  He removed his clothing and skied in his underwear.

If, at suppertime, we failed to give Dad a tall glass of ice tea, with ice which bumped your nose as you drank, he claimed we put him in dessert training.  If we cleared away the dishes too quickly after a meal he would accuse us of giving him “the bum’s rush”.  It was his way of teasing us.  But it was my dad who taught my sister and me how to do the dishes.  My mom worked full time on the third shift at M & M Mars candy factory. She always cooked a big meal for supper (a main dish, a potato or noodles, a vegetable or two and a salad) and then went to bed for a few more hours of sleep before going to work.  This is why Dad taught us how to do the dishes and clean up the kitchen.  Eventually he stepped away and we did it all.

I am thankful my dad and mom are still living and I am privileged to spend time with them.  Just watching TV with them is enjoyable, especially if, perchance, the Chicago Bears are playing.

The solitary thing for which I am most thankful regarding my dad and mom is their faith in Jesus Christ.  Their example of faith, love, and integrity are an amazing legacy.  Their faith points many to our Heavenly Father.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, especially mine, my husband and my sons.

(singing again) What do you do with your daddy? What did he do with you?

wedding dad

My dad and I. May 29, 1976.

Patchwork Mosaic

My love for quilts began at a farm house in southern Illinois. It belonged to my aunt and uncle.  My uncle was a farmer and coal miner and so heating his home with a coal burning stove was practical and economical.  Curtains hung in the bedroom doorways to allow the heat to pass through above the curtain rod.  But one was never cold in bed because one was lying under a stack of homemade quilts.  The weight of the quilts not only provided warmth but also a feeling of safety and security.

in buckets

my sister and I at our uncle and aunt’s farmyard

In this same home my aunt often had a quilt in process on a large wooden frame.  I loved watching her quilt by hand as we visited.  I am so thankful for the quilting lessons and the time she gave to me.  If I quilted every day for the rest of my life I could not catch up to her expertise.

I love quilts. I love the artistry and the talent involved in their creation. I have at least one quilt in almost every room of my house.  I have them in all sizes.  They are on the beds, on the walls, as a table runner, a throw pillow, curtains, and an end table doily.  Some I have made and others were given to me.  Some are family heirlooms.  Some were purchased used and others purchased new.  I like to think I am tasteful and not over-bearing with my quilts. I hope my home does not appear to be decorated by a hundred year old lady with a dozen cats and no visitors.

Many children have benefitted from experiences similar to mine at the farm house. The use of a weighted blanket can give safety and security. The gentle heaviness is somehow comforting to all, but especially to children with some special needs such as sensory issues, mood disorders and some Autism issues.    A quick search on You Tube will help you find some tutorial videos such as : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdCn-tDD_W0

t-sirtsThe last two quilts I made were t-shirt quilts for my two youngest children.  They collected and saved favorite shirts from their teen years, which I then made into quilts.  Had my older kids known of such an idea, I am certain they would have requested one also.   My oldest son still has a full size blue jean patch quilt that I made for him more than 30 years ago.  It is on the guest bed in his home.

Originally quilts were made with bits of fabric scraps, worn out clothes, used linens and even feed sack bags. The pieces were arranged into a design or maybe a picture.  The old and used was repurposed or recycled and given new life.  It was how people were “green” centuries before we thought of green, back in the days when people did not waste anything.

Quilts are rather like people.  Size, colors, variety, imperfections and wear vary. But each one is a work of art and valuable.   They have different uses and purposes.  Some are multi-use and others are specific design use. Some are young and others are old.  New is not always better than old.

As parents we have the opportunity to guide and assist our children as they learn, grow, and discover their interests, talents, and preferences.  Each of their lives is a patchwork of their personalities and experiences.  Sometimes the process can be messy and mistakes will be made.  But the result can be a blue ribbon showpiece.  Help them to feel comfortable and secure with who they are.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.”  Psalm 139: 13-14