The Beautiful Life of Grandpa Schmidt

His voice boomed across the living room every single time I made my way down the long hallway and into his presence. “Bethany Rose! How are you?” His words were continuously filled with authenticity and genuine interest in that question. He always knew how to make the conversation 100% about me without me ever feeling selfish or that I had forgotten to turn it around to him at some point.

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His summers were spent for twenty five years camping with either me or my younger siblings and cousin. He was always ready for something new. Whether it was boogie boarding in the ocean at the age of eighty or learning to ski at seventy, quite possibly beating me to the end of the mountain first.

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His hands created carpenter masterpieces and he thought into the future with each piece. Even though my son is only two, there can be found in our home a cross that has the name “Jesus” engraved throughout it. This cross is a known piece of art amongst our extended family. One was made for each grandchild and then his first great-grandson. They were or are to be given on each one’s wedding day. He knew that he would not be around when my son got married and so he made his early on and gave it to us.

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His love for his wife and family was paramount to most love I’ve witnessed on earth. There was gentleness and kindness. Patience and strength. A quietness that calmed the room and made people choose their words wisely. For with his age came more wisdom; wisdom that was evident of time communing with God.

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He and his wife prayed as though their lives depended on it, because for them, they did. Notebooks and photos, devotionals and scripture can be found as they prayed over people’s lives. I can see the work of God in my life because of these prayers and know my life is richer for it.

His home was home to many. There was rarely a holiday that it was just our family gathering together. It was common to meet people we did not know for the first time on Thanksgiving or Christmas. His home was a haven and people recognized the solace as soon as they entered.

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His music was his ministry and he played at churches across his section of Pennsylvania. He liked to pick the instruments you don’t hear much: the tuba and accordion. His musical talent has been carried down by most of us. I think in a sense he is the musical patriarch of our family.

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His trains were his way of entertaining and sharing what he loved. It was tradition to head down to his “train room” after we had piled our plates high with food and come out of our food comas. We would all gather on one side of the room as he pushed buttons and turned knobs and made his train display come to life. He would show us new parts of his train village as he proudly displayed his work of art. I remember when he decided that he was too old for it though and I stood in an empty room where his trains used to run. There was an emptiness in that space where I thought something belonged.

And I suppose that’s how we feel today. We are standing in an empty space where you used to be, looking around thinking that you still belong here.

But that’s not the end of this story, is it? I always imagine you looking down on us, smiling and saying softly, “Don’t cry for me. I am where I belong. If only you could see.”

Happy Birthday, Grandpa. We love you always. “Gone but never forgotten.”

xo, bethany rose

Dear Husband (from your Stay-at-Home-Wife)

~This post is in collaboration with PinkBlush, but all opinions are my own.~

Dear Husband (from your Stay-at-Home-Wife),

I write this as you drive ten hours and work thirteen today. I appreciate you and hope you understand the extent of that statement.

I know we made this decision together when we chose for me to stay at home. There was never an argument, only understanding and support from day one. I think it was something we both wanted equally.  I have always been thankful for the fact that we are on the same page more often than not.

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You have never made me feel guilty for bringing in little to no money over the last three years.  It has only ever been me who ever felt upset or saddened as an empty box appeared in our budget line for my portion of the monthly income.  You never blinked an eye and were just grateful that I could be home.

On that note, you have never asked me to start making money even when our budget dropped so low and we knew something needed to change. Instead you went out and found ways to make more money for our little family. I never doubt warmth in our home or full cabinets of food.

You work hard to provide and still come home at the end of the day and play with the kids and help put them to bed. Neither of our days ever really end. Sometimes I feel bad, if I am being honest, when both kids nap at the same time and I just relax. I know this isn’t what happens in the middle of your day. And yet, whenever I’ve admitted this, you just say, “Good for you. You need to rest.”

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I love the way our son’s face lights up when you walk through the door or call us in the middle of the day. Our daughter might not like everyone, but she sure loves you. I know they feel the same warmth and love that I do.

I know I have complained and let phrases slip from my mouth that I would like to take back.  Those are the days you have found me at my worst. Those words are never an indication of ungratefulness for what you do. It is my selfishness talking about my day. I really don’t wish these days away. Perhaps some seasons ( 😉 ) but you really have given me the best gift.

You have given me a life of learning and teaching and service. You’ve unknowingly opened up my life to so many opportunities I never knew existed or dreamed about.

And lastly, when I told you this summer I wanted to start working from home, you made sure it was the right decision and then jumped all in. When I ask you to watch the kids because I have a photo shoot or a writing deadline, you are there.

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My prayer for our children is that our son becomes a father like you and our daughter knows what a true, loving man is because of your example.

So, Husband of this Stay-at-Home-Sometimes-Working-Wife-and-Mom, I love you and thank you.  You are my teammate for life.

Love, Me

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How beautiful is this Black Floral Crochet Trim Bell Sleeve Wrap Top from PinkBlush? I am probably going to wear it out too much this holiday season, but I absolutely don’t care! It’s just the perfect shirt for holiday gatherings, date nights and photo shoots with my husband! ❤

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xo, bethany rose