When my children were growing up I loved to read stories to them. We would gather together in the girls bedroom of a night . . . my pups all washed and fresh and in their jimjams, all ready for bed and I would read to them . . . they each had their favourites . . .
With Amanda, it was the Little Grey Rabbit books. She loved all of them and I was so pleased when a few months back I discovered a compendium of them and was able to buy it and mail it to her so that she could one day read these same little stories to Maryn.
Our Anthony loved the Dr Seuss tales . . . his dad had sent him a big thick book of them. It was filled with stories of Sneetches on the Beaches, and Mrs. McCave . . . and a variety of other Dr Seuss whimsies. His favourite one was . . . The Pants With Nobody in Them. I think it both thrilled and frightened him all at the same time!
Eileen just loved me to read to her. She was happy with any book . . . just so long as I was reading. She was like that as a child . . . never demanding, always happy, no matter what, with whatever she was given. Sometimes it's nice to be that way . . . I think . . .
Doug just adored a particular book about a little boy named Oliver who had a teddy bear. He slept with his bear each night and oftimes in the morning he would notice that his bear would have muddy and sticky paws. One night he decided to just pretend to fall asleep and then see what happened. The bear got up, jumped out the window . . . and went down into the woods, where he met a lot of other teddy bears and they danced and feasted on fresh Sticky Buns. And so one night Oliver disguised himself as a teddy bear and joined in on the fun. I have searched and searched for the book . . . but alas . . . have forgotten the title and cannot find it. I would so love to find it and send it to Doug. Mayhap one day I'll get lucky . . .
Bruce . . . his favourite book was a little Monster one, called Just Me and My Dad. Being seven years younger than the others he kind of missed out on the group bedtime stories . . . by the time he came into our lives, the others had outgrown this pleasure (*Sniff*Sniff*), so most evenings it would be only he and I sitting on the bed, reading all about the Bernstein Bears and the little Monster. Good times . . .
I had my favourites too . . . One of which was called "The Giving Tree," a story about a little boy and a tree that loved the little boy.
When he was young, the boy would swing from the tree's branches and climb all over here, eat her apples . . . sleep in her shade . . . The tree loved those years.
As the boy grew, however, he spent less and less time with the tree. "Come on, let's play!" invited the tree . . . but the boy, now a young man, was only interested in money. "Take my apples and sell them" said the tree . . . and so the young man did and the tree was happy.
The boy did not return for a long time, but the tree smiled when he passed one day. "Come on, let's play!" But the man was older and tired of his world. He wanted to get away from it all. "Cut me down. Take my large trunk and make yourself a boat. Then you can sail away." said the tree. The man did, and the tree was happy.
Many seasons passed . . . summers and winters, windy days and lonely nights . . . and the tree waited. Finally, the old man returned, too old and tired to play, to pursue riches, or to sail the seas. "I have a pretty good stump left, my friend. Why don't you just sit down here and rest?" said the tree. The man did, and the tree was happy.
Oh how I loved to read this book . . . both as a child and then as a young mum . . . but it's funny . . . now that I am old I get a different feeling from the book. As a child and a young mum, I rejoiced in the love that the tree had for the little boy, and how it supported him during all the stages of his life . . .
Now as a much older woman, and I can reflect back on my life . . . it makes me a tiny bit sad . . . maybe even ashamed, as I think about all the Giving Trees I have had in my life . . . about all the apples shared, and the sacrifice . . . and just how very much like the boy I have been, at times . . . taking and never giving back.
How very many Giving Trees I have had in my life, and still have . . . Giving Trees that have been there and released a part of themselves to me during each stage of my growth, so that I might learn the things I needed to know, to stretch beyond what I was, to achieve my dreams, and to find happiness and joy . . .
My eyes shed a tear at the thought of all I have been given . . . and then, in the next breath, I am filled with gratitude, for all of this selfless love shared. I bow my head and thank the Lord for each and every one . . .
It is good to be able to pause and reflect on all that is good in your life . . . and to give thanks where thanks is due. Gratitude is a blessing in and of itself. It is a fountain of joy which never stops giving.
“God knows that some of the greatest souls who have ever lived are those who will never appear in the chronicles of history. They are the blessed, humble souls who emulate the Savior’s example and spend the days of their lives doing good.”
~President Dieter F Uchtdorf
Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Steak, Mushroom and Blue Cheese Salad.