9:03 AM

  Blogtember has arrived folks!  The lovely Jenni over at Story of my Life put out a fun blogging challenge to us all to blog every day in September.  So I am going to give it a shot.  I know, I know, crazy. She even let us have the weekend off and Labor day too, so today is the first day!  What a generous gal. 

   Today's prompt asks that you describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are. 

   I come from Kalona, a small town in the heart of the midwest, a.k.a. IOWA.  It's not much, but it's home to most of my memories, and it's charming.  Sure, the sidewalks may roll up at 8:00, but so does everything in Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls, and we all know how much we want to live there. 

   You can't truly know me without knowing my family.  They are a part of me, I am a part of them, and always will be.  We do loud.  We do crazy.  We do "I'm sorry".  We do a whole lot of the things that add up to make me what I am.  I am a Graber.  A story-teller, a thinker, a talker, a try-new-thingser....a Graber.  

   There are 7 of us, 4 boys and 3 girls.  I am the second oldest, same as Randy.  My little family unit is starting out the same, with 2 girls first.  Will we follow suit and have 3 boys next? Only time will tell.:)  Shannon is the oldest, and is a wonderful wife and mom to 5, living out here in Oregon.  Shawn is next after me, and is like my Grandpa Lynn in a LOT of ways, and lives in a trailer by the river shooting guns and eating meat and being the man's man.  Shelby is out here in Oregon right now, serving with Gospel Echoes and living with us.  He plays guitar, never meets a stranger, and is pretty much a Graber to the core too.  Notice a theme here?  Shane is a total heartthrob and is hounded by girls (and guys who want to be his friend) everywhere he goes.  Sheryl has a troop of friends too and plays volleyball and loves movies like the rest of us.  Shaylon is the baby of the family, although he's probably old enough now to hate being called that.  He is maybe the most imaginative of all, and can play by himself for hours on end.  I am eager to see where he goes in life.  

   My dad's parents are Lynn (who I got my middle name after) and Ruth (who I got my spunk after) Graber.  Growing up, we wore a path in the woods from our house to theirs up the hill.  We all knew that there was always a yummy snack to be had at Grandma's, not to mention an epic swing and basement full of dress up clothes.  If you meet my grandparents, you will only be a stranger to them for about 3 seconds.  Actually 3 seconds is a stretch.  Grandpa will launch into a story that you can't help but be completely transfixed by, and Grandma will laugh at a joke and make one herself and win your heart before you know it.  I could tell you many, many stories about them, but we don't have time for that today.

   I am also Maust, my mother's side.   And check out an entire blog post about the lovely Maust family, right over here. 

   Pictured above is mom's dad Clayton, and step-mom Thelma.  My grandma Berniece passed away when I was too small to remember, although I have this vague, foggy memory of sitting on my mother's lap at a funeral, and being confused and a little bit scared as to why there were tears running down my mother's cheeks.  I can't tell you how often I have wished over the years that I could have known my mother's own mama, as I KNOW it would give me a fuller picture of my mom, and what makes her HER, than I will ever have. 

   But my Grandpa chose wisely in Thelma.  She will charm you with her southern drawl, and infectious laugh.  Both of them have such a love for family and make it a priority to spend time with everyone.  They have even been all the way out to Oregon to visit us!  And as far as Grandpa goes...well there is just hardly a person on earth that has made me feel more like I actually have potential.  He makes me feel like I am someone important, and that my dreams matter.

   We are getting together with the Mausts this Christmas in Florida and I. Can't. WAIT to see everyone again! If you're reading this and you're a Maust, you'd better be going.

   I can't even begin to dive into all of the other things that make me "ME".  Pathway, Sunnyside, BMA, IGO, all of my old jobs, stomping grounds, friends, experiences.......there is a wealth of stories that who knows if they will ever be tapped into?  I may have to do blog posts on each and every one of those things someday.  Who knows.  

   But for today I will stick to family.  Because that is probably at the deepest, truest core of what makes me who I am.  

   Last, but certainly NOT least, my Mom and Dad.  I used to think I was so much like my dad, and I still am somewhat, but as the years go by I watch more and more of my mom within me rising to the surface like cream in my coffee.  

   Mom is a doer.  She shows love most by what she does for you, whether it is washing your windows or canning up some beans.  She gets almost giddy if she has a few walls to paint, or remove wallpaper from.  She would rather be working, than almost anything else I can think of. 

   Dad is relational.  He could sit and talk for hours with the mailman.  He could walk into a store full of strangers and find someone in there to laugh with. He's the type of person that you sit beside on a airplane, fully intending to keep to yourself all flight long, and end up making a new friend.  

   I love my parents, for all of their strengths and weaknesses, qualities and flaws.  They model so many things to me and I am grateful for the chance to learn.  They have instilled in me both an appreciation for hard work, and a desire to travel and dream and reach for the stars.  They, along with the Grabers and the Mausts and a little town called Kalona, are a HUGE part of what makes me who I am.

And how I miss them all.

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  1. Hi Shelley! Nice knowing you! You have such a big and warm family that I am so envious of! And I love your writing! Will be looking out for your posts throughout blogtember... (⌒▽⌒)☆

    1. Hi Maggie, so nice to "meet" you! Thanks for your sweet words!

  2. I was so disappointed when I realized that Stars Hollow was not a real place. I so wanted to live there.
    What a beautiful description of your family! I grew up being able to walk to my grandparent's house as well, and I will always cherish those memories!

  3. You make Iowa so divine. My grandma is many states from me so it must be nice to have had her close-by. And yes ma'am fir the GG reference.


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