Tag Archives: memories

FOR HENCEFORTH AND FOREVER

may 29 2015 aIt can’t be helped – as you become an elder in your family -in your circle of friends – in society – there are just some days that…( ok – please excuse the word that I always told my students not use – sigh)…that…for the lack of a more expressive word – suck. I mean that literally as well as figuratively…especially since it falls on the day prior to my birthday.

D-day took on a new meaning for me 10 years ago.  It became one of ‘THOSE” days.  Those kind of days that act like a huge vacuum cleaner…sucking up the joy…sucking up the energy….sucking at the memory of a loved one’s voice…their eyes when they laughed…their arms around you – into a bag hidden deep in the memory vaults.

The kind of day that knifes the central part of us with the same sharp edge as it did when it first carved it’s notch in our life journey.

Days that replay over and over and over…and tomorrow is one of those days for me.

Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of the day my mom danced over the rainbow bridge for her first dance with my dad in heaven.

I don’t like sad days – nor do I deal with them well. Don’t imagine that many of us do. Consequently, I try to do something that will change the “sad” tears into happy tears. So, on the 10th anniversary of my father’s death, January 9th, I married my high school sweetheart. It worked. While I’m still teary-eyed and full of flashbacks, I’m also flashing back to one of the happiest times of my life as well. Obviously, that wasn’t going to work this time around…I don’t think polygamy is legal – yet -anyway.

Mom and I had this on-going thing about hair. I quit dyeing my hair when I was in254942_1682499116937_4399549_n my 30’s, and she was not impressed. (Sidenote:it started turning gray when I was 18 – gee thanks, Dad, for those “gray genes”) She always said, “Who wants to see an old, gray haired lady looking out at you in the mirror?” The old black and white pictures show her hair dark, but I really don’t remember her that way. For most of my formative years, her hair rivaled Lucille Ball’s. It became the beacon I looked for when I performed on stage – the light that ventured into my inner city classrooms with chocolate milk and cookies – the red, sticky, hard strands that brushed my face when she tucked me in at night after our prayers had been said. It was her signature in more ways than I can count.

finalx0019Even when macular took most of her eye sight, she continued to dye her hair and apply her make-up everyday. My refusal to wear make-up was the other thing we spared back and forth over, Most times, even now, I have to have someone show me how to apply make-up when I am in a theatre production. Mom, on the other hand, wore her make-up religously and didn’t feel dressed without it. As her body weakened, I sometimes would help her with her make-up. She would purse her lips just as she had done so many times throughout my childhood. The memories still flash brilliantly across my mind – lying on her bed, watching her get ready for parties – date nights with dad – Legion minstrels – going to work in a drycleaning truck or a village office, she always had her make-up applied perfectly.

So, I decided to take this “sucky” day and reverse the air flow. Blowing life back into those old debates, I decided to dye (a portion…mind you…I can’t let her win the argument) my hair, get a facial and tell a few jokes (which is a whole ‘nother story). So here you go, Mom, my gift back to you as you look down from heaven. A flash of red, a slash of lipstick, a smudge of eyeshadow and some belly laughter. Dance another one with Daddy and know that the seeds you planted live on – “….from generation to generation…for henceforth and forever”.

“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says Yahweh. “My Spirit who is on you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, nor out of the mouth of your seed, nor out of the mouth of your seed’s seed,” says Yahweh, “from henceforth and forever.” Is 59:21

last mom pic

BUT…

I know that a lot of conservative Christians feel that Halloween is not a holiday that needs to be celebrated.  It is pagan in it’s origins.  A time when spirits roam the earth and witches rule the skies.  It celebrates the “darkness” of human life with scary images and horrific  experiences that most of us abhor.  Gravestones.  Boiling pots of magical brew.  Strobe lights that crash the mind.  Eerie music emanating from the night. Webs of deceit that tangle around our body as much as inside our head.  Satanic influences that glorify the ugly sins that happen all too often.

Good reasons one and all.

BUT…

and this is prayerfully submitted…

BUT…

It can also be warm family memories.  Laughter embed with love.  Sweet treats that remind us of special occasions.  Choices exist within choices upon this crazy habitat that Our Father designed just for us.  I’m sure He hoped, like all of us hope for our children, that we would never experience the pain of sin and sorrow.  But…free will allows us to dance around the fires of choice, and all too often we end up getting burnt.  BUT…choice also allows us to decide not to stick our extremities in the fire or dance so close that we burn the things we love.

But…

img822Perhaps because I grew up in the fabled era of the 50’s/60’s…perhaps because I grew up in a small town surrounded by neighbors who acted like extended family…perhaps because horror and fear were an abstract instead of a daily reality…Halloween was more filled with Christ than with the evil one. My Halloweens were filled with a mother who created costumes out of scraps img820(gotta love her choice of costume for me when I was five)…dark runs through many neighborhoods filled with faces that I knew as well as I knew my family’s…contests with my best friends for apples, candy and costumes…family businesses that handed out miniatures bags of whatever they made…pictures boxes of memories filled with family love.

“For I am the LORD your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.” 
Isaiah 41:13

There is a story in Jewish tradition that tells about a rabbi who went to eat with a poor man and his wife.  They had nothing to serve the rabbi except some flour.  So the wife went into the woods to find some herbs to enhance the flour that she would serve to the rabbi.  As she picked the herbs and spices that Jehovah-Jireh had designed so long ago, she prayed that they would not only nourish their their rabbi but bless him with all the beauty that was once in the Garden of Eden.  Later in the week, the rabbi’s wife approached the poor woman and begged her for the recipe of the rabbi’s wonderful meal.  The poor woman was stunned.  She explained that she had served him only flour, water and some spices.  The rabbi’s wife was also stunned.  She told the woman that her husband had said it tasted so good that it must of come straight from the Garden of Eden.  At that, the poor woman started to cry.  She remembered her prayer over the herbs that she had gathered that day.  God had heard her prayers and blessed her as much as He had blessed her rabbi.

“Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
— Isaiah 41:14

Halloween can still be the pagan holiday of the past.  Halloween can still offer monsters and scary demons a chance to dance around in all the gory ugliness that this world has to offer. Halloween can still be the pagan holiday that people create over and over again by their everyday choices.  Halloween can still be a time when the evil one rejoices.

img819

BUT…

Like the poor wife, when we pray…….Halloween can also be something made new because Jesus Christ has brought light into the darkness.  It can be another kind of day…another chance for families to gather together and bless the night with LIGHT.  A time when LOVE…that brings the moon out from beyond the clouds…reaches beyond hope…passes beyond understanding…and takes over the darkness that the evil one has spread and warms the chilly air that he has brought with its pagan beginnings.

I, for one, am thankful for Halloween and the wonderful memories I have buried in my heart, and all the new memories I am helping to create in the Grands.  BUT…most of all…I am thankful for Jesus Christ that lightens the darkness of this world with His love and reminds me to keep looking up and praying over everything I do.HALLOWEEN LOVE

 

Sunday’s Reflection

Esse quam videri – to be rather than to seem [to be] – NC state motto adoptede in 1893…the last of the original colonies to come up with a state motto, btw.

NC motto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the things that I have loved about moving has been learning new things about this new state. A lot of time when I am tutoring at the after school program where I work, I “sneak” reading time in my students’ history books. Actually, it serves a couple of purposes as my students observe me learning with them (Vygotski in action),, they get to mentor me, and they accepted my “Yankee” tutelage with bigger smiles on their faces. Can’t tell you how many times they didn’t have history homework but brought their history books just for me to read…not that I got to read it very often. Most times, we were just too busy doing homework. =)

reading“The end of all learning is to know God,
and out of that knowledge to love and imitate Him.”
~ John Milton

One of the things I don’t like about moving is leaving my friends and former students behind in OH. This weekend was an answer to a prayer that I didn’t even know I had since I got to touch base with a special friend and her daughter who just graduated high school. Days like these become rare jewels that decorate our lives with their radiance and sparkling facets when we bring them out to shine in the sunshine of our memory. Sharing time with prayer warriors who have been on their knees with me is beyond compare, and I’m so glad they squeezed me into their wonderful vacation plans.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

New things – old things – they blend together in our lives – weaving in and out to form such a artful tapestry that it is very hard to imagine how the completed work could be any more beautiful. Even the broken threads woven back into the picture add depth and highlights that seemed to have been a part of the design since the beginning. Is that possible or is Our Father so merciful that the broken edges are fused so completely where the new thread no long “seems” whole but “is” whole once more? Esse quam videri.

Bible verses – even mottos – are good things in our lives. They can give us direction just as they can give our state and country a direction The important thing is identifying the motto/the verse and keeping it as a light in front of us. As the tapestry leaves the loom, it is the creation that takes on a life of its own, reflecting its Creator’s creativity, design, love — and that is essentially what Sundays are all about. Relating – resting – relaxing – reflecting –

Tonight, as I walked into my writing room (which I totally am in love with), I found a poem that mom had in her Bible. Like most things, she wrote on the back of it where it came from and the year….1985 – Lakeside. Lakeside Summers – another one of those rare jewels that I bring out to polish with love every now and then, and it seemed to be the perfect ending for this blessed day.

lakeside 2

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His Mercy
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

His Love has no limit, His grace has no measure;
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus                                                                       He giveth and giveth and giveth again.  – Annie Johnson flint