“Precious memories, how they linger, How they ever flood my soul…” (A beautiful song.)
Yesterday, while “downsizing,” I was reminded of a dear friend named George Bowden. Both of us were residents at the Escapees RV Club facility called “CARE” (Continuing Assistance Retired Escapees). Originally we were volunteers and later chose to make it “our forever home.” George was “an intellectual,” a “deep thinker.” (So much to be said; a paragraph of information could be shared.) Suddenly, unexpectedly, George was gone. I have the sheaf of papers we received when we attended his Memorial Service (April 2017). This touched my soul:
What is a photograph
but a footprint of a moment?
Not the moment itself,
but a dim, partial voice left behind,
mute and motionless,
pointing silently toward the past,
only hinting at the richness
of the living narratives of human experience.
Flipping through the pages of the scrapbooks of my life,
I see the old photographs–
those faded footprints–and I remember.
Ghosts of friends and family,
captured in moments of time,
come to life again.
My joy, my desire, my sorrow and dreams, my love,
my stories are once more given bright, fiery substance
by the sheer force of memory.
When I am gone and you open this book
and look upon these pictures from my life
without my memories,
what will these silent sentinels reveal?
They will be gone, yet you will still see me,
captured in a series of moments
across dog-eared pages for you to remember
as you continue to shape your own journey,
as you leave behind your own footprints.
Two hours (more or less) were spent on the downsizing project. Items went into the trash but the praise-worthy accomplishment was packing this box. Smile because this is a box of rocks!! Yes, eighteen pounds of rocks and will be expensive to mail to the Brethren Heritage Center. ~~ My immigrant ancestor, Michael Frantz (1687-1748) was an early preacher in the group later identified as “German Baptist Brethren.” This box contains rocks, and shingles, from the barn where Michael Frantz preached a sermon documented in Brethren’s history. I’ve been assured these relics will be well-received by the Brethren Heritage Center. ~~ I encourage the reader to click this link, It’s a small world after all, and read more details.
Yesterday, I spent a lot of time in the enormous H.E.B. store. “A lot of time” because I was selective regarding items placed in my cart. The fruit and vegetable section is enormous—with fruit and vegetables displayed high and wide. My “persistent thought”: How much goes into the garbage? “Ripe” food; more food than customers. My purchase totaled $206.60—and no meat, liquor, soft drinks, bread, cookies… My sympathy to families paying for items piled high in their carts. Hard to wrap my mind around… but maybe upwards of a thousand dollars for their groceries? “Families” shop more often than an old woman, hunkered down, who leaves home once a month. ~~~ I bought groceries but (at 10:00 o’clock) “I’m hungry.” (I’m cautious about what I eat and [glad to report] I have less gut pain.)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ National Grandparents Day, Sunday, September 12th. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ This Grandmother was happy “climbing trees” and failed to get this message published prior to midnight. OMG, how time flies!! I could launch into a long narrative about my children and grandchildren—but I’ll save that for another day because it’s long past my bedtime.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had …” Romans 15:5 (NIV)
We often hear on the news and social media the stories people share of the hard things they are going through. I have to admit that sometimes I want to roll my eyes at what people say is “hard.”
But recently, God reminded me of an experience I had when my family was stationed in Fort Polk, Louisiana. My husband was part of the invasion into Iraq, and we didn’t know when he would return home. We didn’t know if he would return home.
I was in a leadership position for a women’s ministry that serves military spouses. One morning, I was in the front yard with our daughters when my phone rang. When I answered, a soft voice on the other end said, “Hi, Tracy. You don’t know me. My name is Susan. I don’t know who else to call, but I need prayer.”
I responded, “Yes, of course, any time! How can I pray for you?”
She said, “We just moved here, and I know many husbands are deployed to Iraq. My husband just left for two weeks’ Temporary Duty to the Pentagon. I have a 2-year-old and a newborn, and I’m really nervous.”
Immediately, I thought, Her husband is gone for only two weeks — he’s still in the U.S. — and no one is shooting at him. Really?! I haven’t even talked to my husband in almost three months!
Fortunately, the Holy Spirit got a hold of my mouth before I could say anything insensitive or unkind. Then the Holy Spirit got a hold of my heart. What this woman was experiencing was hard! Two weeks by herself in a new place with a 2-year-old and a newborn — that’s certainly hard.
What’s considered “hard” in our lives isn’t up for comparison.
It’s not up to me to decide what’s hard. I just need to love others through their hard.
Just as Romans 15:5 says, we are to have the same “attitude of mind” toward others that Christ has toward us — one of grace, love and understanding. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had …” (Romans 15:5)
So how can I have an attitude like Jesus toward other people? The key is to ask God. We can depend on God to provide; He is faithful.
No matter what we’re all going through, our current situations may very well be hard — they’re just hard in different ways. The situation I deem easy — our college-aged daughter coming home from school during the pandemic to live with us temporarily — is hard for the single mother who now has her children home with no childcare and can’t go to work. That’s hard … but we can’t dwell on the hard. We can’t allow all our focus to be on the hard. But we can love and encourage one another through the hard … and, in fact, that’s exactly what we’re called to do.
Heavenly Father, please open my eyes to the challenges others around me are experiencing. Give me a Christ-like attitude toward them and a desire to love them well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Lorraine here with a personal footnote: I have a next-door neighbor with twin daughters, age two. Consider how “hard” it must be for her in her trailer home. Fortunately, they have a large yard but this extreme heat forces us to spend time in our air-conditioned rooms. I have neighbors up and down the street who seldom leave their trailer or motorhome. They have needs and I feel helpless to help. I know they think of me but, likewise, they feel helpless to help. In this upside-down world, we need to pray for God’s intervention…
The discomfort doesn’t go away–and I have an aversion to medical doctors. For half my lifetime, I practiced holistic health. This past year (due to the Coronavirus), I’ve neglected my health!! (Lack of exercise and absence of nutritional meals.) My strongest pain reliever was Aleve but I suspect it was contributing to intestinal pain. My “natural remedy” revolves around my passion for (1) Ancestry, (2) my fondness for my blog (journal), and (3) my love of clipart. Climbing the family tree is as challenging as a Rubik Cube, and jigsaw puzzles. It is so engrossing, I compare it to having a tiger by the tail. I’ve earned a gold medal for devotion to my sport, and hard work. ~~ I don’t want to put the vaccine into my body (I don’t take flu shots either). The stronger Coronavirus Delta-variant may catch up with me and I’ll be dead before the end of the year. I’m going out “happy” because of my mental gymnastics—and I’m leaving information that will be accessed for generations.