Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Way We Were ~ A Friday Finds

Can you hear the song?  Mmmmmmmmmemories...light the corners of my mind...

This week, celebrating and remembering those who have gone before, was a week filled with finds.  As I wrote here, we drive several hundred miles annually to remember and bestow honor.

What memories did I find?

  • I saw my Grandmother once again braid her knee-length hair behind her back and roll it up into a bun. 
  • I saw my Papaw bring in a bucket of coal for the coal-burning stove in the middle of the living room with the linoleum floor.
  • I smelled my Mamaw's homemade rolls just out of the oven covered with a linen cloth.
  • I watched my Bebaw throw out half of his toast on the backyard for the birds.  "Bird bread," he called it.
  • I heard my mother's authentic laugh as she had got tickled by something really funny.
  • I saw my dad practicing his drive swing leaving divets in our front yard next to the driveway.
and so many more...

I also memorialized great-grandparents and great-great grandparents with whom I have no charms for my least none that I experienced personally...only know of stories.

These are priceless jewels,  They challenge me to make sure that my children and grandchildren have plenty of their own charms for their memory bracelets they will inherit.

Make memories...take still...find the preciousness in the every day.  

Linking up today with Kim Klassen's Friday Finds.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Pause ~ Take Rest

I'm taking a new 52-week class with Kim Klassen, "Be Still."  While it incorporates photography, it also is about cultivating a lifestyle of stillness.  We were encouraged to do a still photo that gave plenty of room to breathe, instead of filling the entire image.

Breathe [breeth]: to pause; to take rest. giving room to breathe.

But this is more than about's about life.

Do you give yourself room to breathe?  Time to be still?  Time to be present with life at the moment?

Ed and I are once again in West Virginia...taking time to decorate my grandparents' and great-grandparents' graves.  A grave not decorated on Memorial Day is just too sad...  This has been a tradition since my parents were living and unable to do so.

My mother modeled this ritual with my Mamaw.  She would gather peonies, irises, and branches from her mock orange tree blossoms, wrap them up in wet newspaper, and annually take my Mamaw to go to her son's grave in Morgantown, West Virginia (my mother's only brother) who died at the age of 23.

West Virginia lends itself to pausing, resting, breathing.  Life seems so much slower here.  How to bottle it up?  How to make room to breathe in the dailyness of life?

Any suggestions?  My greatest encouragement to do this is found in the Psalms ~ "Be still and know that I am God."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Instead of a Rainbow ~ A Friday Finds

We've had storms this week...and rain...some sun...sometimes rain and sun simultaneously...briefly.  That was yesterday.  I was reading the first week from Kim's Be Still 52 practicing stillness when I noticed.  I grabbed my Nikon...knowing what I would find!

But I was wrong...  There was no rainbow.

Turning to the door...I saw what I was to find.  My white lilac bush, so scrawny last year, was bursting with blooms...full blooms.

Some with diamonds...rain diamonds...

And then the sun hid its face back behind the clouds...but then came a different kind of beauty...

And though no rainbow...I could only think of this quote by Anne Frank...

And I am grateful...

Linking up today with Kim Klassen's Friday Finds

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day ~ It is Not About Me

Mother's Day...the first in my life without my mother...who sacrificed so much for me.

As I reflect on motherhood, I ponder how having a child turns the page on the book of one's life to a chapter where nothing is ever the same again.  I see mothers and their children every day in my work at the hospital.  I have had my own experiences with motherhood.  Actually, I believe motherhood begins at the time of conception.  And nothing is guaranteed. And the Bible reminds me that, "you are not your own" and, therefore, from that is not about's about God and His will.

  • God does not promise to you, a mother, that your baby will survive pregnancy or delivery.
  • As a mother, God may require you to give your child more as a gift to an adoptive family.
  • Without ever knowing why, your baby may be born with a disability or chronic disease.
  • There is no guarantee that your baby in his life will not experience trauma or premature death.
  • As a mother, you may face the sorrow of your little one to grow up to be rebellious and in trouble with the law.
  • God does not guarantee that your baby will live happily ever after without struggle.
But He calls us to trust Him and to love those children with whom we have been entrusted.  Sometimes that love has to be tough but always unconditional.  I watched my mother trust God and love me when at times I caused her pain and disappointment.  She was obedient and faithful.

With my children, to this day, I have felt salty tears on my cheeks when my hopes and dreams have been crushed, but my love has been sustained.  

Motherhood has brought me immense joy.  But it has also brought with it loss and suffering.  And I cling to Him in this lifelong responsibility.  And so every day I hold my hands up high, palms up, knowing my children are not mine, but His ~ and laying them at His feet daily is my greatest responsibility.

I am grateful for this honor...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Enough Said for Friday Finds!

Spring is definitely here...and yesterday I spied a favorite whose color is brilliant but whose bloom is all too fleeting.  No words today...just enjoy their show.

Enjoy this fleeting season...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Inquire ~ Learn ~ Reflect: Revisiting May 4

The memorial, which its engraved stone, challenges us to inquire...learn...reflect.

I was only thirteen, on May 3, 1970...coming home from church travelling Route 59 East from Ravenna through Kent, Ohio to get to outr home in Akron.  I remember the tension; it was if the whole town was sitting on a powder keg.  One spark would explode us all...the next day it did.

At thirteen, I was impressionable...infatuated with flower power and hippies, while my parents from the Greatest Generation labeled them communists.

This past Sunday, May 4, we went to give pause up at the Kent State University campus and remember that pivotal point in America's history.  After a series of days of protests by students against President Nixon's invasion into Cambodia, four were killed and nine were wounded.

Allison Krause, William Schroeder, Sandra Scheuer, Jeffrey Miller...and the places these students fell in the parking area are considered hallowed ground with four lit pillars guarding each one.

We did not go to the "ceremony" as I don't find it helpful.. We went later in the afternoon where respectful visitors wanted to either relive that time or to learn about history.

I believe wholeheartedly that those four slain students today would plead for healing to take place...and blame to be set aside.  The site feels like a healing garden...with over 58,000 daffodil bulbs planted for the soldiers of the Viet Nam War who never came home.

You would have had to been living in the 1960's to understand the dynamics. These protests were occurring all over the country at that time. The story is complex.  When told, it is narrated in a linear fashion...with assumed causality.  But, like empirical research, there are confounding variables with correlations, but causality is hard...very determine.

Now a Visitor's Center not only revisits the events of that Spring in 1970...but it also contextualizes it.  If you want to know about the 1960's, I would recommend watching "Berkley in the Sixties" which is available on Netflix.

As for me, I reflect on how grateful to live in freedom, as messy and fragile as democracy is, and that despite all its shortcomings, I live in the greatest country in the whole world...less than 250 years young.