Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Where I'm From

*edited to add: I am not the originator of the "Where I'm From" essays - I have just read many other posts by women who also were not aware of its' origin! Deb has kindly directed us to an actual template (which I wish I had used!) - if you would like to follow the link and write your own! It is a wonderful exercise for the memory!

I am from young love, childhood sweethearts, who were married at eighteen.

I am from “She’s supposed to be a boy!” followed by overwhelming love. From four brothers and three sisters, and neverending friendships.

I am from the hottest month of the year in Chicago; green skies, tornadoes. From humid nights, damp nightgowns, restless sleep.

I am from a mama who thought I was beautiful, and yet wanted to make me wear a sign as a toddler saying, "Please don't tell me I'm cute!" I am from being adorable, and knowing it.

I am from green shag carpet, from a four-story yellow house and a secret passage, a stairway leading from the fourth story to the second-story kitchen pantry. From sharing a giant room with my two brothers, and a gap in the ceiling visited by an owl.

I am from Fisher Price little people, the original Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony, and dress-up clothes.

I am from devouring Jane Eyre at the age of nine, and following it with Great Expectations.

I am from Shaklee vitamins, lentil burgers, and tofu. From head coverings in worship, and dancing with abandon in the back of the sanctuary.

I am from John Denver and Manheim Steamroller LP’s, lying on my tummy and closing my eyes as the music swirls around me.

I am from ballet, twirling and whirling, from trophies and classical music. From my Papa’s violin playing, overwhelmed by emotion as his fingers fly over the strings.

I am from riding my bike without my hands, and crashing on the curb; from bruised shins, skinny legs bumping the back of the wagon as my little brother rides.

I am from moving to a new state, nearer my grandparents, with mountain roads that terrify me.

I am from Win and Virginia, Ralph and Gail. From German, Czech, Mexican and Irish. From World War II soldiers and the women they left behind.

I am from “Don’t order a salad bar! Chili’ll put some meat on your bones!” courtesy of Grandpa K. From soft hugs in Grandma K.'s arms. From handmade dresses by Grandma S., and sweat interlaced with her quilting as I sit near enough to make us one. From Grandpa S. and his ear nibbles.

I am from painful shyness, and lowered eyes; from pulling out of hugs, wondering if my breath smells, or there is food in my braces.

I am from being “the best babysitter ever”, delighting in playing with children not my own, but cherishing them just the same. I am from a bank account full of money, and yet still the desire to buy my clothes second-hand.

I am from putting my baby sister to sleep every night with a bottle and a cuddle.

I am from weeping with joy at the age of sixteen, when Mama tells me she is pregnant again.

I am from leaving home when I am eighteen, and locking the deadbolt on my lonely apartment, wishing for my Papa.

I am from being hounded, until I return to the fold.

I am from dreams of a loving, faithful husband, a houseful of children, and a home of my own.

I am from…where I am going.

23 fellow travelers shared:

Anonymous said...

I love this.

Ahhh, shaklee vitamins!!!

deb said...

Elise, I have ALWAYS enjoyed every "Where I'm From" I've read - just something about the way it's all phrased. I love yours, too.

Andrea said...

Loved, loved, LOVED this. I have been putting my own "I am from.." on hold. You've inspired me to do mine.
What a rich life you've had.

Kendra said...

Beautiful post, Elise. You've composed an amazing picture of your childhood.
Now, if I can only get my daughter to read Jane Eyre by the time she's nine, perhaps she'll write as well as you do!

EEEEmommy said...

You are magnificent!
AND you look amazingly like my little sister, and my mom! We MUST BE related!

Me said...

From head coverings in worship, and dancing with abandon in the back of the sanctuary.

I am from being hounded, until I return to the fold.

I love the image of God as a Hound. His persistence and love are that great...I've always loved that poem and am glad others appreciate it.

Mrs. S said...

Beautiful depiction of your childhood ...I could "see" you growing up before my eyes. I'm so glad you were hounded. What wonderful memories you have, Elise. Also, hope your family is feeling better, and that you escaped getting sick.

TaunaLen said...

I didn't realize, until I read your comments, that the "Where I'm from" concept didn't originate with you. Yours is the first I've read, and as always, your post was beautiful and comforting. I hope I run across more "Where I'm from" posts, soon, and now, my blog ideas folder has a new entry. Also, every time I read a reference to the Hound of Heaven, my heart pushes against my chest like it's trying to escape. I love the poem, and want the Hound of Heaven to follow all of my wandering loved ones until they are home.


Firefly said...

I think I might do this soon on my blog. It seems, though, that we are from many of the same places. I wonder why we never met before you started blogging? ;)

deb said...

This is a comment for TaunaLen ~

in case you'd like to read the original template and source for the "Where I'm From" writings, it's here:

Here's the link for my "Where I'm From" I wrote last year:

There are other bloggers around who have sponsored "Where I'm From" contests. I wish I could locate their links, but you might be able to find some by searching. One was Loni over at Joy in the Morning blog, but I couldn't locate a link on her site.

Here's another version I did find:

by S.Hunt said...

I really enjoyed this read. It has inspired me to think of my own past and where I am from.

Thanks for the inspiration.


Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

These are so fun to read. I wrote one awhile back. Maybe I should search my archives......

You're beautiful as always Elise!

Grafted Branch said...

This was beautiful. Your parents must be so proud. Your children blessed. And everyone who reads this -- so moved and inspired.

Maxine said...

I've never heard of these before, Elise, but this was a pleasure to read. It seems as though you've had a blessed childhood which you'll pass on to your children. I'm glad you are all healthy again.

Beka said...

What a beautiful snapshot of your blessed life. Praise God that you were "hounded" and carried back to the fold. I've never read or heard of "Where I'm From" before but now I want to try it some time.

May God continue to lavish you with blessings, Elise!

Wendy said...

I loved reading this! What a great picture and a blessed life you have had.

Steve, Dana and Maria said...

Oh, thank you so much! I want to try this too. Maybe next week sometime!

Kate said...

What a neat post! I loved it. It's great to reflect on our lives and see how God has complete control over everything. Thank you for, yet, another reminder of how faithful and merciful He is!

TaunaLen said...

Thanks for the note. I did find Deb's comment yesterday, and the original poem and the form are great. I am not only working on my own "Where I'm From" piece, I am hoping to get my mother, and my kids to each do one as well.


bluemountainmama said...

wonderful "where i'm from"! i think everyone needs to write reflect on where they came from. i did one as my first's the first link under my "links" section. i also found the template through fred's site.

Kevin said...

How interesting to meditate on our beginnings - as important as our endings. The endless seam from Adam to the New Jerusalem, from perfection in the garden to the New Earth as the Perfect Garden, with Heaven and Earth merged as one. That is the pattern in the thread-connection of "I am from." To see you all there together, and be there ourselves, with the restoration of all things according to God's original blueprint . . . Thanks, my t.d.

Lois said...

Elise....Ahh that is you as I remember...and the yellow house with the multiple stairways, and like a maze waiting to be explored. The yellow house where love lived and opened arms welcomed so many. Where we would walk across town to, and find our best friends ever. We prayed, sang, and laughed. The place where your parents dressed up in their original wedding clothes and delighted us all on their 10th anniversary. The yellow house still stands on the hill just a few miles away from here. We miss you all very much & were so blessed to spend a day with you last summer. We look forward to another time soon!! Love Tom & Lois

Laura said...

Wow-Shaklee vitamins! My midwife recommends those!

And love Jane Eyre, as well.
Beautiful post as always!

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