The Memory Legacy

We have moved several times and with each move have come boxes and more boxes. Surveying the scene still before me after a couple of years of unpacking and sorting, there is still much work to be done. There are books waiting for bookshelves, an odd assortment of furniture, boxes of papers that need to be gone through as well as toys that the kids have outgrown but I’m not ready to let go of … yet.

Some of you would hardly be able to contain your excitement. You’d rub your hands together, grab trash bags and with great enthusiasm, toss out every stack and box regardless of what it contained. Ah, but the problem is that you don’t see what I see.

Almost everything in our humble home has little monetary value; only sentimental significance. Inside the front door is a used filing cabinet which holds most of over twenty years’ worth of my writing; the cabinet, a recent gift and the first one to store only my writing pieces. My husband uses a desk his parents gave us when the kids were very young and we stayed with them for a few months; a gift even more precious since his dad’s death. Head into the dining room and have a seat at the table, the set, a gift from church friends when they purchased a new one. Hanging by the side door are a couple of my Granny’s tattered aprons; simple reminders of my grandparents’ farm. Inside the kitchen cabinets are gold colored glasses that came in oatmeal boxes when I was a child. Upstairs and downstairs are furniture pieces from friends, old and new. And then there’s the lamp that Mom purchased with green stamps; priceless after she passed away.

Last year, I wrote the following poem after sorting through box after box and the memories they contained.

 

The Memory Legacy

It’s a house of legacy, you see.

Inside these four walls are contained,

years of memories slowly attained.

You see mismatched furniture and projects galore,

I see special gifts from those who walked through our hearts’ doors.

I will not pretend that I don’t occasionally desire,

new matching furniture or fashionable attire.

But here, within these walls,

hand-me-downs reign,

as my heart remembers each story they contain.

Residing in many different towns,

these belongings have traveled some ground.

The walls are adorned with maps and charts,

family pictures and pieces of unmatched art.

You see a pile,

a heap to be conquered.

I see the memories,

to be savored;

not forgotten.

By Delores Brouillette Adams

 

Words like sentimentality and reminisce apply to my state of mind when it comes to these items. I don’t worship them; they are not idols. But each serves as a memorial, helping me remember a person, a season of life, or a place that represents something precious to our family. So, scoff if you will and laugh if you must. But as I walk through each room, I am constantly reminded of loved ones and what the Lord hath done. Absolutely priceless.

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God. (Psalms 20:7 NKJV)

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Tips, Tidbits, and Morsels from the Slippery Hallways of Experience

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on many of life’s lessons that I have learned through the years.

I could pretend that I somehow missed the memo on preparing for adulthood when I was a teen.  But truthfully, I had my nose in a book, an instrument to my lips, spent years training my voice, and often had a pen in my hand.  Mom tried to prepare me for the life skills a young woman would need as did my Home Economics teachers.  Musical and written creativity came so naturally; threading that sewing machine needle and cooking simply did not.

Growing up, my sister and I split the chores equitably to our liking; she did the cooking and I did the cleaning.  As a newlywed, my first attempt at making Mom’s vegetable soup was a disaster.  (Using plain water instead of tomato juice as the broth base was not a good idea.)  Before the convenience of the internet, I phoned my twin sister to ask her how to cook real macaroni and cheese; not the “from a box” kind that I usually made. She told me to add milk.  (Just in case you’ve ever wondered, canned evaporated milk and milk from a jug do very different things to a pan of baked macaroni and cheese.)  Oh, how I wish I had listened to my mother!

I venture to say that there may be others who have found themselves in the same boat; feeling unprepared and/or overwhelmed by their many roles in life.  Hence, from time to time on my Tips and Tidbits page, I will be sharing little “helps” and easy recipes that have made my life a little easier.  I can assure you there have been lots of lessons learned by trial and error, research, other’s wisdom, and yes, much laughter and quite a few tears.

Tit 2:3-5  the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

The Refining Fires of Busyness

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I am so sorry for the unplanned hiatus these past couple of months.  Sometimes the seesaw of life (relationships, roles, unplanned events, and tasks) tips unevenly to one side or the other and seems to stay there awhile.  During busy seasons and faced with a decision on where to focus my energies, I often set creative endeavors aside.

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No, don’t adjust your monitor.  These photos are indeed out of focus and a little distracting.  A couple of years ago, the pace of daily life shifted to warp speed.  There’s barely time to live in each moment; much less process it.  As I click away, my mind continually processing scenes faster than the camera, my husband often shakes his head.  (I have even requested that no blurry photos be deleted.  Someday, I just might use those!)  Sometimes I snap a shot as some writing idea races through my mind.  More often than not, I am simply trying to capture the scenes of life flying past.

The busier the schedule gets, the quieter I become. But that quietness on the outside doesn’t always mean stillness on the inside.  Internally, there is often a flurry of activity as changes come fast and furious and I find myself in a continual balancing act.  There are times that I am quite certain the flexibility joint has bent as far as it possibly can.  But God always shows me that, yes, it can bend some more … if I am willing. He uses these hectic seasons to help me prioritize between the essential and non-essential.

Today, He may use me to bring comfort through a smile or a hug; to listen and cry with a grieving friend over a devastating loss.  Tomorrow, my role may be that of a secretary, chauffeur, dishwasher, or grocery shopper.  Next week, it could be as homework checker, teacher, or all around errand runner; to name only a few.  And on most days, the roles collide and blend together.  Regardless of the task, I am called to be available; even in the words of my posts.

Yes, there is joy at warp speed … again, if I am willing.  Instead of focusing on what isn’t getting done or what’s up ahead, God reminds me of the importance of the tasks He sets before me.  He would have me live fully in His moment; not mine.   It’s not the speed of life that’s the issue; the problem surfaces when I take my eyes off of God, even for a second.

I pray that one day, even in the busiest of seasons, a peaceful spirit will reign inside as well as out.

Romans 15:32-33 that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.  Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Special Reminder

This piece was written when our children were very young and posted in an e-zine no longer published. Those early stay-at-home mom years were sweet and tender. But, quite honestly, they were also full of hard work and sometimes, utter exhaustion. God always sent whatever was needed at just the right time. Be it a friend offering to help fold laundry, a family member surprising us with a cooked meal, or a kind word of encouragement from a dear sister in Christ. I pray I never forget those precious years nor the angels of mercy sent my way.

SPECIAL REMINDER

It has been one of those days that young mothers have so often. The laundry is piled high and I fear one of the babies may crawl into a pile and disappear. The unwashed dishes are stacked haphazardly. I just know that the little one, trying to help, will soon send dishes crashing to the floor.

I walk from room to room, seeing many household tasks before me. From morning to night, my feet tread the same path. At the end of the day, I often feel as if no progress has been made.

As I open the refrigerator to fill drink cups yet again, my eyes stray to a familiar newspaper clipping amidst the colorful magnets plastered all over the door. The poem’s author is unknown and I’ve read it many times before. But for some reason, today the poignant words strike a chord.

I read of a mother’s tender reflections on hands once too busy to play, now hauntingly still. My eyes fill with tears and I release a heavy sigh. It was exactly what my weary soul needed to hear on this difficult day.

Often my own hands are busy when my children ask me to play. My days are spent cleaning our home and caring for my babies. But in the busyness of daily chores, a very important part often gets left out. I rarely set aside time to just play with my little ones.

It was no accident that poem caught my eye today. God, in His gracious mercy, had answered my earlier request for encouragement.

I realize that as my children get older, they will not want to play games, find hidden treasures, or chase butterflies. Time flies and they will be grown with families of their own someday.

Much too soon, my own arms will ache with loneliness. I will no longer be able to kiss the hurts away, play with their dollies and cars, and read the same stories over and over.

God gently reminded me to cherish this gift; this special day with my children.

2 Corinthians 1:4 … [God] who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. NKJV