2: 8/4/94 You are an exceptionally beautiful baby. People, strangers are constantly coming up to you while we're out shopping and comment on how beautiful you are with your blue eyes, olive skin, and wonderful smile. They all tell me that I should put you in commercials and magazines. That's cool and all that, but I just don't want your looks to be the focus of who you are. You are blessed with beauty and this is nothing more than God's grace. You still need the virtues of honor, integrity, humility to be truly beautiful. These characteristics make even the ugliest person in this world beautiful.
3: Always try to be honest. Lying will only make you miserable. Eventually the truth always comes out, in one way or the other, and when it does, will only serve to destroy your self esteem and show others that you cannot be trusted. Remember this: The lie always hurts more than the truth - because not only do you have to deal with the "wrong" you felt you had to lie about, but you also have to deal with the fact that by lying, you have compromised your personal integrity to yourself and others.
4: Friday, August 29, 1997 We have all had the most wonderful week in Brady. Me, you, Dad and of course, Ginger - just us - and boy was it badly needed. Life had become unbearably hectic and we all needed this trip to relax, refresh, and just have time to be together. You are 3 1/2 and still "mama's sweetest thing". I really can't think of any real profound words of wisdom today. I will simply tell you what I have learned from this vacation - Sometimes I get too caught up in the unimportant things of life.
5: I asked your dad once, "What was the one thing you remember your dad telling you?" Poppy told dad, "Look at the big picture". In other words don't sweat the little stuff. Don't get caught up in the details of life; don't worry about the every day insignificant things that crop up during your day. Instead, look at your life in relationship to the grand scheme of things. Your life should be spent in joy - savoring each moment yet eagerly awaiting the next adventure. So if you want to worry, worry that you aren't taking the time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. I love that saying "Who would ever, at the end of their life say "Gee, I wish I would've spent more time at the office"?
6: January 12, 1995 Mason - today was your 1 year birthday and I just couldn't go to bed without writing you a little something. Words cannot express how much I love you and you'll never know these feelings until you have a child of your own. You are a beautiful boy with a good disposition - VERY active and VERY busy! It's been a wonderful first year. God has blessed me with a healthy baby and I've gotten so much joy in watching you and grow and watching | you learn. Every night before you go to sleep, I feed you a bottle in the rocking chair, and after you're finished, you cuddle into my chest and you fall asleep as I rub and pat your back. The other night it touched the deepest part of me to feel you rubbing and patting MY back - that sweet chubby little arm with it's sweet chubby little hand rubbed and then patted, rubbed and then patted, as if to say "I love you too, Mom, and I want to make you feel good too". I love my sweet boy. May your second year be full of the wonder, joy, and laughter of learning.
7: served me well. When I look back on my childhood, there are several things that come to mind. One, I felt truly loved and had no reason to question that. My parents loved each other passionately, and as a result I did not have to worry or deal with the concerns that come with an unhappy marriage. Two, my dad was strict when it came to teaching us the principles of good manners, respect and humility. Yet, in spite of his firm discipline, I never felt abused or unduly punished. I know it was done with a great love for me. Last, there's my mom, Nannie to you. She showed us the power and strength that comes from an unswerving faith in God and never wavered in her belief. Your childhood will be different in many ways, but my prayer for you today is that the memories you have show you that you are truly loved. | February 28, 1996 "At the end, it means more than religion, to have had a happy childhood. Memory of it serves to hold off pain and fear; it is an unfailing resource...because if one's childhood was happy, one had no reason to fear life, and those who had not feared life could face death with acceptance when they must." Mason - when I read the above statement in the novel I'm presently reading, I was so taken by it - I read it over several times and thought it was so powerful and so true. I write it down for you so that you will know how much your Dad and I love you and pray that you will one day be able to look back on your childhood and use it as "an unfailing resource" of strength and comfort that you will need in your adulthood. I had a very happy childhood and know with a doubt that it has
8: "a place for everything and everything in it's place." Sometimes we have to realize that it just doesnt matter. Most of it is just not that big of a deal. Also watch out that you don't impose this need on others. Some people just don't need organization - it doesn't matter to them, why should it matter to you? | Friday, January 15, 1999 You turned 5 on Tuesday and you're just growing up too fast. I can still hold you, though, and you still let me hug and kiss you. I know one day you'll just be too grown up to let me do that. I see so much of me in you. Things have to be "just right". Your blanket has to be straight, your shoes have to be tied in a certain way, you like things clean and tidy, and in their place. I think that's a good thing, although it does create unnecessary stress at times. There's a positive and negative side to this part of our personality - that need to be organized and have everything lined up in a perfect row. The negative: We can drive ourselves crazy (not to mention other people!) in our quest for
9: The positive: Well, for me, when my house is clean and tidy, it helps me to be able to think more clearly. Otherwise, I feel that I have cobwebs in my brain. It makes us good employees, we show respect for our "stuff" and take care of it. We never waste time looking for something - we always know where it is. | So learn to live and relax in your desire to have everything in proper order. Enjoy it, don't impose your standards on others, and learn to let go sometimes. I'll love you forever, Mom
10: November, 1999 Thanksgiving weekend Brady, Texas I was taught from a very young age how to use my faith and apply it to my everyday life. My earliest memory of this was when I was about 7 years old. I remember a terrifying
11: thunderstorm. Heavy rain that filled up our backyard to look like a lake. Bright lightening and loud, cracking thunder. I was afraid and ran to the comfort of my mother's arms. She was in her bedroom and I remember standing and looking out their bedroom windoes, watching the storm and scared to death. Mom was calming going about her business, making the bed or some such thing and this is what she said - "Claim the promise. Know that God will keep you safe and take care of you. Do not fear for God is with you. The verse is: "Fear not, for I am with thee. Be not dismayed for I am thy God. Yea, I will help thee, yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness". (I believe this verse is in Isaiah) I still remember some 30+ years later (I'm 43 now) the relief I felt claiming that verse. I actually thought about it and realized that I was going to be ok. God has been taking care of me and keeping me safe ever since - always answering my prayers, provided I chose to listen to him.