Monday, December 31, 2012

Justly Story Ch.4: The Poisoning of Ivy

The Poisoning of Ivy
by Kristen S. Sandoz

By now I am sure you are wondering just what became of the babe that took Pearl’s place. It is easy to find ourselves drifting toward bitterness when speaking of this little one. After all, she had no right to take Pearl’s place, and we will come to love Pearl so very much. However, it is imperative that we remember that Ivy, as she was named by the King and Queen, did not have a choice in the matter. In a way her new station was forced upon her as it was with Pearl and we cannot harbor hate for an innocent person. I warn you now to guard your heart from that bitterness no matter what happens to this wee one.

With that said, I am sorry to pronounce that Ivy was truly the daughter of a Thief and Lying Beggar. As she grew her natural disposition was always slightly nasty, prone to lies, selfish and self-serving, keen on casting blame, and never satisfied. These behaviors continually perplexed the King and Queen. At first when she was still in her 3rd and 4th years of age they hoped it was a stage or phase that all children grew through at this time of life. Then as she moved into the 5th, 6th, and 7th years and it became evident that these behaviors were not passing trends the King and Queen were beside themselves with confusion. What an odd child. Beautiful, but odd. Secretly the Queen wondered how it was possible that this fair skinned and dark haired imp could come from her own body, but this secret she never uttered to anyone. No matter what the King and Queen tried, Ivy’s disposition stubbornly pointed in the wrong direction. The King often referred to her as his compass that refused to point north. Eventually the King and Queen felt utterly defeated in their parenting endeavors and left Ivy to herself. But even this was not comforting to the royal couple.

To the King and Queen’s credit I must add that they loved Ivy. They loved her dearly. She was, as far as they knew, their only child, for the Queen never did give birth to another baby after Pearl. After all, she had nurtured and nursed Ivy all the way through childhood with the adoring, doting, and hopeful eyes of a mother. To the royal couple, Ivy was their greatest blessing, and, despite her uncomplimentary disposition, they chose to love her no matter what. Now that is the sign of a real King and Queen! 

One of Ivy’s worst qualities was her insatiable wants. This spilled over into all areas of her life but the clearest example of this thief-like characteristic was seen on her 9th birthday. One night a month or so before the birthday celebration she exclaimed to her Queen Mother, “I want a pony! For my birthday Daddy must get me a pony. It is what I want.” Despite the fact that this was plain rude (as the Queen had not yet asked her what she wanted for her birthday), she said it as if she was entitled to a pony and that her parents must comply. 

“Well, dear, I will talk with your father about the pony,” was the Queen’s response. 

“Yes, you tell him about my pony.”

The next week when the Queen was reading Ivy her bedtime story the pseudo-princess declared to her mother, “I want two ponies mother! For my birthday I must have two ponies!”

“Don’t you think one pony is enough for any girl, darling?” replied the Queen.  

“Not for me mother. I must have two. Don’t you see? I am a princess. I need two,” answered Ivy.  

“I will talk with your father,” was the Queen’s diverting reply.

For the next week every night before bed Ivy would insist on two ponies for her birthday until her mother said, “Hush dear. You will get your ponies. Now please stop pestering me about them.” 

This was the wrong thing for the Queen Mother to say for it only gave Ivy what she wanted. This was bad because as soon as she got what she wanted her desire changed and the very next night at bedtime she declared to her mother, “I want ten ponies for my birthday mother. Daddy must get me ten ponies! I will not be happy with anything less than ten. Be sure to tell Daddy.”  

Sighing, the Queen replied, “I will tell your father what you wish.” The Queen was quite worn out by Ivy’s persistence and felt she could really say nothing else to her daughter. But for the next week she heard nothing but ten ponies this and ten ponies that, until finally it was the week before Ivy’s birthday.

“Mother, I want to see my ten ponies tonight. I need to see them. Please take me to the stable to see my ponies.”

“No dear, you can not see your ten ponies tonight,” answered the Queen.

“But I must see them. I need to make sure they are all there,” Ivy said with some anxiety.

The anxiousness of her daughter concerned the Queen, and in an effort to placate her she said, “Do not worry yourself so my darling. Your father goes to the stable every night and checks on your ten ponies himself. You can rest assured they are all there.”

This was all Ivy needed to hear to change her heart. No longer were ten ponies enough--she wanted more. The next night she asked for 50 ponies. “Where are we to get 50 ponies from my dear? Your birthday is only five days away. You must be satisfied with the ten ponies your father has procured for you.”

But Ivy was not happy. She sulked and moped about the castle till she worked herself into a fever and had to be put to bed early two days before her party.

That night her father came to her room to inquire after her.  “What is ailing you so my fair Ivy?” was her father’s question.

“Oh, father, I have dreams of 50 ponies that I can train to prance in a line and turn in circles with lovely riders on their backs. They will be the most spectacular performers the kingdom has ever seen. But ten ponies just won’t do. I need 50. It will only work with 50,” was Ivy’s very solemn and sickly answer.

The King’s heart melted. He could see her reasoning for he was fond of horses, too, and particularly liked to show them off in flamboyant parades. He leaned down to kiss his child and then whispered, "Do not despair, sweet one, your dreams are lovely ones.” He resolved in his heart to get his princess 50 ponies for her birthday.

By the day of her party Ivy was markedly improved. She sat perched on a platform in a dreamy lavender dress next to the King and Queen. From her place she had a grand view of the field of dreams below where her ponies were due to be presented. She waited with utter expectancy. As the music started and her ponies came prancing onto the field she began to look at each and every pony as they filled row after row. She did this as if she were inspecting each pony, making sure it met her standard of approval. The King watched her with great interest, pleased with his daughter’s eye for equine. After the last pony was presented her father stood and asked her to join him on the field for a closer look at her birthday gift. He was beaming with pride until he saw his daughter's face. It was down trodden and filled with complete disappointment.  

“Fair Ivy!” he exclaimed. “What ever is the matter? Did I not get you the 50 ponies your heart desired?”  

“Oh, Father!” she said with utter dejection. “These ponies are fine, but what I really and truly wanted for my birthday was a purple pony. Why couldn’t you have at least gotten me one purple pony?” To which neither the King nor Queen had any reply. They stared at each other completely dumbfounded, once again, by their unusual daughter. Ivy’s eyes filled with tears and she stormed from the party in a swill of lavender, disappointed to the depths of her being. 

Ivy didn’t get what she wanted for her birthday, but the truth of the matter was she would never get what she wanted because she always wanted more than what she had. Ivy was never satisfied. She was never content, and if there is one thing I know for sure it is that the only truly happy people in this world are those people who are content without. Ivy was, in a sense, poisoned by her own insatiable want of more. As she grew older, this one desire drove her forward and propelled her every step. She became Poisoned Ivy. Unfortunately, this is not the last we will hear of the poisoning of Ivy, for as the Witch Hazel has been known to say, “Only an antidote can stop poison before it has completely consumed its victim.”

1…Now my story is done.
2…I love you!
3…Please kiss me.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Justly Story Ch. 3 1/2: The Priest

The Priest
By Kristen S. Sandoz

Our last Justly Story told us about the day of Pearl’s birth, where she was stolen from her royal parents by a Thief and a Lying Beggar. They in turn got tired of her after one day and promptly left her on the doorstep of the church. It would be a discredit to the Priest at this fine establishment if I did not mention his part in this whole story so I will give a short account of it now.

People were always leaving babies at the church. This was quite a disturbing problem for the priest in charge there for he was a young bachelor and had no idea what to do with babies. You can imagine his surprise at finding the bundle on the step. He at first was overjoyed when he saw the basket. “Oh, how lovely!” he said. “Someone has left me a gift!” People were often doing that, too. “I do hope it is a basket of apples. I’m dying for a warm, delicious apple pie!” He whisked the basket up, sure it was full of apples because of its weight, and set it in the front pew. He reached in, expecting to grab a cold, firm apple, and instead felt a warm, soft, wet, sticky mess! “Dear heavens!” exclaimed the priest, to which the Princess inside responded with a very loud hungry wail. Not knowing anything else to do he ran out the front of the church, with basket in one hand and pooh in the other and took it all directly to his neighbor, Hazel, who had not yet been outcast as a witch. “She will know what to do with a crying baby,” he thought. And she did.

So there it is, the story of how Pearl came to be poor and to have Hazel as an Auntie. Hazel kept Pearl as if she were her own. She knew from the beginning that there was something special about this baby she had been given and she took it as her own personal mission to see to it that Pearl had a chance to grow properly into her own calling--a calling which will not come easy for her. And in this way, Pearl, despite being a princess, is much like the rest of us. For, as the Witch Hazel reminds us, “Even a princess must choose to answer the one who calls her.”

1…Now my story is done.
2…I love you!
3…Please kiss me.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

If I Were One of Christopher Robin's Stuffed Animals...

If I were one of Christopher Robin's stuffed animals I'm afraid I'd be Rabbit.  He was never my favorite. I liked Pooh, of course, and then Eeyore.  Tigger was fun but a little overwhelming to me.  I was glad he came in small doses.  But I never liked Rabbit.  He was mean, negative, crabby, had no sense of humor, and he yelled a lot.

Yep!  That pretty much describes me as a parent.  And that is why I tell my boys stories, because I am a flawed person and I need some concrete way to bond and grow with my boys.  I need some tangible way to heal wounds that are deep and hidden.  I need to connect with my children in a positive way.  So I tell them stories to heal the wounds that I sometimes inflict as well as the wounds they receive from others.  But probably my biggest motivation in telling them stories is that it is one last ditch effort on my part to end the day on a positive note.  I'm hoping that by telling them a story at bedtime they will go to sleep and remember me not as Rabbit, but as Kanga.  A loving, gentle, gracious, mother.  That's my hope.

Tonight after a long week of shootings, a fire, deaths, failures, and a lot of tears I told my boys a story that left me in awe of myself.  I'll be honest with you.  It felt good!  I need to be reminded, just like they do, that I am not all bad.  I can be redeemed.  Tonight's story did that for me.

It was a simple story.  Another addition to The Justly Stories.  The boys ate it up.  We cried, asked questions, feared, learned, and celebrated all in a matter of 30 minutes.  We had open conversation and I saw the side of my boys that I love.  I saw their kindness, their compassion, and their thirst for justice. 

Even more I saw their need for redemption and grace.  "Mom," Thing 2 said through teary eyes, "You have to stop.  It's too sad.  Someone has to love her."  He says of the girl who has poisoned herself with jealousy, selfishness, and greed.  Yes!  That's it.  Someone has to love her despite her flaws.  We need to know she can be saved.  She can change.  She can  be made good.  This is what I want my boys to believe in and to hope for.  I want them to be the ones to love when no one else will.  This is what I want for myself, too.

THEre is
GOOD in this world!

Tonight was a night of redemption.  For myself, my children, and the world.  I will continue to touch my children's hearts by bonding, healing, growing, and building memories through storytelling. I am so grateful I slept so horribly last night and made up a story to occupy my dark night.  I'm even more grateful I willed myself past my Rabbit persona that I have to done in order to survive the bedtime routine and instead chose Kanga for once.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Favorite Quotes

I found this quote on the tag of my Yogi tea bag the other day.  Of course I loved it!

To learn, read.
To know, write.
To master, teach.

Such true words!

Now, go enjoy a well earned cup of tea.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Our Advent Sock Story Garland

We have started Advent in our house.  This is always a time filled with a lot of excitement.  I have to remind myself that the Things are only acting up because they are excited and not because they are purposefully trying to exhaust me.

I have come to love our Advent season.  We have several key things that make it rich for our family.  It has taken a few years to hammer this out.  We've tried somethings that have failed to jive with us so we just threw them out and have only stuck with the things that work.  Here is a glimps of one of those things.

Our Advent Sock Story Garland

I think originally I saw this in a Martha Stewart magezine but since then I have definately seen it on Pintrest.  I love it!  I love how fun and festive it looks and I love that it's easy and that I made it. I think it works well with our decorations and it is so versitle.

We do not put candy in our garland, although you could, instead we use it to tell the Nativity story. Are you surprized?  A story in socks!  We rotate the contents of the sock each year so it's new and fresh.  This year in each sock we put a piece from the Play Mobile Nativity set.  I set up the manger empty and everyday the scene grows.  Of course the animals arrive first then Mary and Joseph followed by the shepherds, the wise men and finally Jesus on Christmas morning.  We also have St. Nick in there who comes on December 1st, St. Nicholas Day. As the scene grows the Things play with it more and more.  I'd love to add to this process one of these years by putting a matching verse inside each sock to read.

Next year I plan to do the same thing with a Jessy Tree instead of the manger scene.  Someday my husband and I would love to build a LEGO Nativity set.  Unless LEGO decides to do that for us first.   I bought the Play Mobile Nativity set with the Wisemen set on Amazon and the socks at the Dollar Tree and Fred Meyers.  I used jute string and mini clothes pins to hang them up. I think that's it.  Simple and sweet.

Happy Advent!

ps. Oh, thank you Instagram for my photos!