Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Catching Up

And so a new year is underway. The husband, the children and I have returned home from a two week holiday in Utah. It was wonderful. Full of everything that is Christmas: family, friends, food, snow, gifts, time, games, tears, and travel. (Sorry I never told you we were headed to Utah- I just didn't want the neighborhood hooligans wreaking havoc on my home while we were away. You know... because I'm pretty sure they read my blog.)

For me it ended too soon. For the children it ended too soon. And for the husband, who was faced with grown-up tasks (ones that should never, ever have to happen) at the office on Monday- it ended way too soon.

So now let me point out that I incorporated the word for the day in that last paragraph. Let me explain. Growing up, my mom would often tell us, "The word for the day is (insert word)..." in an attempt to educate her little family and expand their vocabulary.

A number of Christmases ago, she presented each of my brothers and sisters and me with a small spiral-bound book entitled Plentiful Platitudes. This little treasure contains uplifting and inspiring quotations and anecdotes from various notable people. The second half of the book is filled with 365 vocabulary words- one for each day of the year- complete with definitions and sample sentences. My loving mother took the time to sit at her computer and type out this entire manual- and search out every quote and word for the day. And we all appreciate it.

And the word for the day, January 6, is:

epistrophe (i-PIS-truh-fee) noun
The repetition of a word or phrase at the end of successive clauses or sentences.
[From Greek epistrophe, from epi- (upon) + strophe (turning).]
the ending of phrases with the same term.
"If women are healthy and educated, their families will flourish. If women are free from violence, their families will flourish. If women have a chance to work... their families will flourish."
And so you will note that I incorporated the word for the day by repeating the phrase ended too soon in the aforementioned paragraph. Go me! Right, Mom?

Anyway, Mom, yes- I still read from Plentiful Platitudes. And it still helps me. And I think I am smarter because you took the time to do this for us. Props.

Perhaps I will be able to recap my Christmas holiday at a later time, but for now, I just want to offer a huge Thank You to my parents, who this year, surpassed any gift they have ever given to us children before. And I can't wait to receive volume 2 for Christmas 2009. My parents gave us each another spiral-bound book. But this time it contains their life histories leading up to the day they met. And a promise of "To Be Continued..." (Mom and Dad, you know we are holding you to that, right?)

It was a gift that brought tears to my eyes as the husband opened it and read the preface. It is gold to me. And I am thankful they took the time to sit and type out their histories in their own words, with their own personalities reflected on paper.

I stayed up late Christmas night devouring it. Many of the stories I have heard before- and I was surprised to discover many stories that were unfamiliar. And when the children awoke the next morning I shared some of my favorite tidbits with them. And the children have loved discovering that their grandparents were once young and shared some of their same interests.
It is a gift that has given me pause to consider the history I am writing daily. I have a chance to determine today what I will write as history in the future. And so, as I recall the goals the husband and I discussed on our journey home from Utah, I realize that

2009 is Mine!
(this is my theme for the year- thought up on the spot.
I think it's pretty good.)

It is mine to do with what I will. Mine to determine the type of mother I will be, the type of friend, the type of daughter, the type of servant, the type of wife.

I want to be a mother who is a success, a friend who is a success, a daughter who is a success, a servant who is a success, a wife who is a success.

I think I just had an epistrophe.


Lynn said...

I just love your blog and you never cease to amaze me with your cleverness !

Happy New Year to you all !

Laurie said...

I think I need an epistrophe like that! Happy new year, here's hoping we can all keep our resolutions!

uniquelynat said...

then if your theme for the year is 2009 is mine. maybe your word should be success.

Me said...

Welcome back to blog-land. You have been missed.

What an amazing gift! There are the things to truly treasure!!

And..I love your theme for 2009!!

wonder woman said...

This post is a success. A smashing one, in my opinion.

I absolutely love your parent's gift to their children. Makes me want to start now when it's a bit fresher in my memory.

I seriously love this entire post.

CaJoh said...

What a cool learning tool. Good luck with your theme— I have confidence you'll be successful at it!

mom and dad said...

your mother is an amazing woman!

Sandi & Curtis said...

I loved the book you spoke of getting from your parents! Mind if I borrow that idea?! Welcome back...we missed you!

Loralee and the gang... said...

I like that...when I was in grade school, I used to read the "word power" page in the Reader's Digest. It is something my dad introduced to me, so it's precious.

cmom said...

We think your visit to Utah came to a close to soon as well. Thanks for being so great!

mom and dad said...

Thanks, Steph. You got it all right except Nat helped with the "Word for the Day" by making it appealing to the eye.
You do a mother well and the success can easily apply to you and all that you do!
laaf mom

Kellie said...

that's so cool that they gave you books of their life stories. I really wanted to ask my husband's grandparents to do that for us, but kind of chickened out, being as they aren't my grandparents.

Elizabeth said...

My grandma and grandpa gave us several "volumes" of their life each Christmas for about 5 years in a row. I remember as a kid thinking- Lame-O, but now I read them often and appreciate their memories written in their hand. It is priceless in my eyes and I try to share their stories and experiences with my children often:)
Treasure your book always!

Michelle said...

I like your theme for the year -- especially because the meaning can evolve as the year progresses. Life is kind of like that!