The Mouse That Roared, The Little Girl in Louisville, part 4

31 10 2008

In dealing with Anna’s aversion to clothing tags we also discovered another talent—the ear-spitting scream.  A friend related a story to us about baby-sitting Anna.

We looked after Anna and Samuel one evening while you two grown-ups had some time together, and I was afraid that she would be miserable with us.  But she was just a little sweetheart and talked and talked to me while my husband and Samuel investigated bugs, etc.  I thought we had really bonded, and she would probably adopt me as her new grandmother—until I tried to brush her teeth.  I put the toothbrush in her mouth, and she began the most ear-splitting scream I had ever heard.  I thought I had shoved the toothbrush down her throat or at least knocked out a couple of teeth!  But when I removed the toothbrush and toothpaste, the lovely little angelic smile instantly reappeared.  I remember staring at that precious face and wondering how that dreadful sound came from it.

The children’s minister at our church tells this story of Anna at church.

On one Wednesday evening Anna was not happy and she threw a temper tantrum. A very loud temper tantrum. So loud that people in the hallway asked “Who is that?” I answered “Anna Borger.” Each person then said “Oh Anna must not be feeling well. She never acts like that!” I remembered thinking either Anna is coming down with a fever or she has discovered the power of her voice! As it turned out, she wasn’t ill. She was just experiencing the normal three year old realization that when you don’t get your way there is a chance you can get your way if you are loud enough! The good thing is that Anna did learn the power of her voice. The amazing power of a voice committed to the Lord.



Socks, Shoes, and Other Nuisances, Little Girl in Louisville, part 3

29 10 2008

One of Anna’s most irritating characteristics began when she was a toddler.  She was a child that some might call “tag-challenged.”  All of the tags in her clothes needed to be cut off before she could wear them.  But not only tags; we needed to sit with tiny shears and carefully cut away all remnants of the tag, the threads holding the tag, and any hem remaining from where the tag was.  It was like trying to dress the princess from The Princess and the Pea.  She could find the tiniest irregularity in her clothes and then order them off and repaired.

This aversion to tags extended to her footwear.  Before she would wear socks, the hem on the inside of the toe had to be cut off and the sock carefully arranged around her toes so that no bunches of cloth remained.  Her socked foot then had to be placed inside her shoe without any displacement of the sock.  It became quite a project.

Sometimes the project became too much and we allowed her to go barefoot.  I suppose that might be seen as good preparation for going to Indonesia, but it made for some difficult yet comical scenes before we left.  At our six-week orientation before leaving the US for Indonesia, Anna as usual refused to wear shoes and socks.  The problem was that we were in Richmond, VA in one of the coldest winters on record.  The daytime temperatures were usually freezing and frequently dropped to single digits.  There were many mornings we had to carry Anna to breakfast.  She wore a winter coat, long pants, and two little blue feet sticking out the bottom.

Anna’s Red Shoes: The Little Girl in Louisville, Part 2

28 10 2008

When Anna was a baby we did not have very much money, and we depended often on the goodwill of others to give us clothes for our children.  We had the good fortune to have some relatives and close friends who had older children and who had very good taste in clothes.  So we always had nice clothes for our children.  We tried to pass on the clothing to others when our children outgrew them and today there are Indonesian children running around Salatiga and Semarang who are the beneficiaries of the generosity of our family and friends.  In fact, as Samuel got bigger, his clothes got passed on to some adults, too.

On one occasion in Louisville when the children were young there was a lot of clothing that had been given by someone at our church.  Mixed in the clothing were some costume items.  Anna found a pair of red, sparkly shoes that fit her perfectly.  She brought them home and Anna’s red shoes became the only ones she would wear for some time until she outgrew them.  I remember hearing from her Sunday School teacher the first week that Anna came to church with her red shoes on.  She was so proud of her new shoes and wanted everyone to see them.  Soon everyone knew Anna as the girl with the red shoes.  An artist friend of ours at church later wrote and illustrated a book about each of our children and Anna’s book was called Anna and Her Red Shoes.

The red shoes marked the beginning of Anna’s life-long fascination with wearing costumes and playing “dress-up”.  As she grew older the dress-up always tended towards playing the elegant woman.  Sometimes she would be a queen or a princess, but the overarching theme was that of sophistication, poise, and elegance.

On our last Christmas together we came to the United States and spent the holiday with my family in California.  One day Timberley and Anna got together with my mother and planned a tea party.  They all found hats and scarves and sat on the back porch drinking tea and eating snacks.  The men were not allowed to attend so we went and did other things together, but I can just picture Anna, Timberley, and my mother sitting on the back porch, in very cold weather, drinking their tea and chatting all the while in a very distinct British accent.  This was Anna in her world.  One of the most beautiful pictures we have of Anna was taken that day.  She wore a big feather boa she borrowed from my mother and a ridiculous orange hat.  And she is absolutely stunning beneath it all.

The Little Girl in Louisville, part 1

27 10 2008

We knew pretty early on that Anna was a different child than Samuel.  We never did figure out if it was the difference between first and second children or the difference between boys and girls.  I am sure all of these factors combinde together to create the personality of each person.  But whatever the various factors it is God who works them all together to make each person unique.

Samuel and Anna were certainly different from one another.  While Samuel was headstrong, Anna was compliant.  While Samuel was excitable, Anna was calm.  While Samuel was loud, Anna was quiet.  But they were not only different; they were complementary.  When Samuel led, Anna would follow.  If he wanted to play a game, Anna was ready.

At times it perhaps went to an unhealthy point.  There were times that Anna would sit down to play with some blocks or a puzzle.  She would find her spot.  She got all of her things out of a toy box and had them all in order ready to go.  Then Samuel might come by and say, “Hey Anna, can I play with those blocks?”  Wordlessly, Anna would hand everything over to Samuel, smiling all the while.  She seemed content that she could so easily make him happy.

Anna adored her big brother.  We have a video of the kids playing ring-around-the-rosie in our kitchen.  They must have been about four and two years old at the the time.  Sam was definitely the leader as he led the song, looked into the camera, and at the final “we all fall down” would pull Anna down to the floor with him.  Anna would never say a word until the end when she would stand up and say, “Do it again.”  And Sam would faithfully get up and do it again.  All the while Anna would just smile her big open-mouthed smile and stare into her brother’s face.  They played the game over and over again and Anna’s gaze never left her brother.  As Anna grew older she displayed a capacity for a deep, compassionate love.  Looking back we can see that love shown even when she was a toddler.

Songs to Cry By, Part 1

25 10 2008

As we continue to remember Anna, tears become our constant companion.  What we have found over the past several months is that tears have a multiplicity of meaning.  They express joy, sorrow, pain, happiness, hope, despair.  And the messy thing about these emotions is that they sometimes come all at once.  There are certain songs that we listen to that are guaranteed to bring us to tears. 

I want to share these songs with you, not with the thought that you will share the same emotions as we, but that you might hear some familiar songs in a new light.  Perhaps you will know someone who is grieving and you can pass them along.  At the very least, you will have the opportunity to listen to some good music.

The first two are by Chris Rice.   Deep Enough to Dream gives me a glimpse into what Anna is doing now.  The line that sends me over the edge, if I am not there already, is “Deep enough to reach out and touch the face of the One who made me.”  Here is a video of the song.  I am not crazy about the pictures in the video.  I much prefer the video I already created wth my imagination.  But I had trouble uploading that one to the internet.  So we will have to take what we can get.

The second song, also by Chris Rice, is called Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus).  An old friend of mine that I had not seen in years sang this song at Anna’s memorial service in California.  I did not know it well at the time, but I sure do now.  The last verse speaks for itself.

The Bible as Word of God, part 3

22 10 2008

On another occasion we were vacationing with some friends. As we neared bed time I told my friend about our bedtime routine and that his family was free to join us, but it was not necessary if they chose not to.  They decided to join and they brought their four children with them.  We read from the book of Hosea and their two oldest children sat with wide-eyes as I read.  We closed with prayer and sent the children on their way.  Later that evening, I was told that their children were disapoointed because they thought we would all take turns reading.  I said that if they joined us again the next night that we would all have a chance to read.  The next night came and we divided our chapter up into enough pieces for everyone to read.  We went around the room with everyone taking part.  Some read well and some not so well, but everyone participated.  When we finished reading the questions started coming.  All of the children wanted to know about some part that they did not understand.  We had a great discussion about the word of God and all the children went away satisfied.  Afterwards, my friend, the children’s mother, came to me and said, “I never would have thought my children would sit still to listen to the Bible being read.  And when they began asking questions and talking about it, I was completely shocked.”


“I wonder if maybe we don’t give our kids enough credit,” I replied. “I think maybe they take in more that we think they can.”

Anna’s Book

19 10 2008

I have added links on the top of this page so you can read Anna’s book or take a look at the drawings she made for the book.  Enjoy.