Remnants of love


attic treasures

Please excuse me as I have had yet another epiphany of sorts. I know that I tend to use that word a lot and so actually looked it up because I wanted to make sure that I was using it correctly today and I was. The definition I was looking for was: A moment of sudden revelation or insight. 

I spent the afternoon with my mother in law the other day. She is in a place in her life of wanting to minimize her “stuff” and is getting rid of a ton of  “treasures”  she has accumulated throughout her lifetime. It has come at an opportune time for me because I have just begun to learn about antiques and vintage items through my daughter who has recently introduced milk glass and bone china to me because the next show I am in called, Remnants. So it has been a kind of rushed course in all things vintage, shabby chic and collectible.

In the end, it wasn’t just about picking up boxes. Or about just going through  “stuff” but more about reliving with my mother in law the history behind each piece.

hour glassIt seems as if I am always feeling pinched for time. (In my last post, I talked about how I feel as if time is rushing by.) But this particular afternoon I stopped to really listen to all the stories attached to each thing. Even the remnants of material had stories of what she made from them and where she purchased them (several things in Europe.)  I could envision her as a young wife and mother  choosing these things for her perfect home. And because she invested a lot of time and money in these items I have had to research them all. There was one vintage piece that is worth well over $500.00 that I might have put a $40 price on! So I guess I have to really slow way down and educate myself a lot more than I figured. And have since realized that I may have to take even more time than I figured on and find markets other than a remnants show for some of her more valuable treasures!

Ever since I met her, I could see that she painstakingly cared for everything. Her family, her home, all sooo cared for by her. Though… When I was younger I reluctantly am ashamed to say that I may have judged her a little for having or “needing” all the “finer things.” But as I’ve grown to know her, I have grown to love her and realize that all she has ever wanted is the best, not for herself necessarily but for her loved ones and suddenly on that day, I realized I was blessed enough to be one of them. All of her choices, whether in planning a meal, setting a table or planning a vacation has always been with us in mind. Wanting to create a special memory. And so as we sat through the remnants of her life, I realized that it’s not about the money, or the “stuff” it’s always just been about the love.

 

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A Change Of Plans


I miss my mom. It hits me when I am least expecting it. For a while I wondered why I didn’t cry like I thought I would. I felt numb. But now sometimes I feel the sting from the pain so deeply, I can’t breathe. A few years ago, back when she was still driving and working in her art room or cooking in the kitchen I took it all for granted. She used to make all of the holidays so special. When I knew it was getting too much for them to have it, I tried to take over as graciously as possible. And I willingly did.

My dad used to make a big deal about Christmas. He spoiled us rotten. Because he didn’t have a lot as a kid, there was barely enough room for the Christmas tree with all the gifts he would pile around it. When he died, I tried to take over for my dad.  I think I felt he’d passed the baton to me. But no one could have really filled his shoes. though I went in debt trying!

My mom died the month before Thanksgiving last year. And as usual, I tried to make everything as normal as possible and the celebration went on as usual. Christmas too… But for some reason Easter was hard this year. The numbness was wearing off. And I was feeling especially sad.  I wanted to crawl in a box and come out when it was over. Maybe it was because though my mom taught me about Jesus all of my life, she led me in the salvation prayer on Easter morning when I was seven. So I would always remember when I chose to follow Him. So we have always shared a kind of special bond on Easter.

hand over mouth

I’d planned to do Easter this year. And was in the midst of planning when some  circumstances beyond my control messed up all of the plans. Which actually caused more drama than I was prepared to handle. So, I decided that this year I was going to take my own advice and realize “how many things don’t require my comment.” And to reserve judgement.  It is actually kind of freeing to not allow negativity to infiltrate an entire day which is what I used to do.

I would have gone through with the day but it was actually nice to just go with the flow and let someone else plan something and to go out with my dad and my husband and his parents and be able to go home and cry if I wanted to and not have a huge mess to clean up (which is usually on me to do.) So instead of ruining everything and being mad at the wrong people, I just changed my plans in my head to not let the circumstances that had nothing to do with me, rob me of the joy that has been kind of a pattern on Easters since my childhood. My daughter commented once, how every Easter seems to be ruined by “something” and I thought about it and it was as if a force not of God would come in and try to sabotage all of my adult Easters.

So this year I stopped the pattern. I took back the control and realized that it is always a choice. To decide to make the best of things or not. It is as simple as that. And you know what? It is freeing to stop the crazy making family dynamics or whatever is happening and say enough!  And while we’re at it. Everybody better plan something for Mother’s Day because I won’t be doing it this year. The gaping hole would just be too much. But like my sweet niece said….my mom (her grandma)  is with her in a lot of things she does. All the memories of her faith and encouraging talks will live on in all of us and the best thing that we can do is to keep her  faith alive through our babies. But in the meantime I am not ruining Easter over a silly “change of plans.”

May Our Children REALLY SEE Our Hearts


In life, we have mountain top highs and valley lows. We have anticipation of joyful events yet to come, planned and unplanned. And we have pain that hits so hard we feel sucker punched. We are blindsided by how much it hurts. In my lifetime I have had friends come and go. The going is sad for me. In most cases, it has been a move out of the area that takes those friendships away from my everyday life, and things get busy and you lose touch but remain friends. And yet others have totally been removed from this life through death, which as you get older seems to be a bit more frequent. And then there are the ones you choose to no longer have in your life for important reasons of your own. Though, I think that if I’ve ever made that choice, it was with very good reason because the more I experience how quickly we can be snatched from this life, the more I value the people I love. And the more willing I am to try to work things out. I am a talker. I like to talk things out. I like to gather information. I’ve been called a story-teller, (Heck I’m a writer.) I can tell and retell the same story a hundred times. (My poor husband has heard them all twice.) When I was younger, I imagined my life. I’d fall in love and have kids and be a writer. All so simple. In my head, I had it all planned out. But life is not like that. Crap happens and you are constantly in clean up mode.

baby in hands

We imagine our children, We hold our bellies and pray that we won’t mess up too much. We want to give them the world. We want their lives to be better than our own. I wrote a song when my son was two or three… the lyrics were…

Little boy in my arms,

 tiny and new~

Sleepy eyed

and unaware

 of what the world holds for you~

Lump of clay in my hands,

 still yet untouched~

Oh Lord, please guide me closely,

I love him so much!

Eyes so wide look at me…

 What do they see?

Do they see you Lord,

 looking back through me?

Such a gift

You gave to me!

Yet, I always knew…

That the day

would some day come Lord

When I’d give this precious child

 back to You!

In my heart, I strive to do what is right. I am a hard worker. I love my Lord, I love my family, I love my husband and I love my children and now grandchildren. I am a good and loyal friend, and if you happen to be mine, I will be there for you to the end. My daughter “GETS” me. She is my Jiminy Cricket, my sounding board. I love her but I really like her too. I love the friends she chooses and that she lives life with a love of it that is inspiring. She is my best friend.

If we ever have a misunderstanding, it is resolved that day, usually that hour! But funny, we enjoy each other more and more without those rare misunderstandings of her youth. I think we both have kind of grown up together and just appreciate each other too much to have them. But I do appreciate my parental boundaries and try to respect them, as they make their own journey. I love my son. I love his children. And I love both the girls that gave me grandchildren.

Though, I feel that my son and I totally misunderstand each other at every turn. I feel that he blames me for a divorce that he has no inkling of what really happened and probably never will because I will never talk poorly about the father of my children. He knows the basic reason we split up and I feel that is enough. I feel that he has his own issues with me that I don’t understand most of the time, but I’d like to.

Recently, I have talked to more moms than I can count who are not talking to one or more of their children for different reasons. A lot has to do with money. It hurts more than losing a friend, when we can’t make our kids understand our hearts. And yet, I won’t be silent anymore to just “keep the peace” Why should they be allowed to say anything they want to us, but if we are too honest, we are basically “hung up” on? Or “cut off.”  It astounds me how entitled our children are today. Not just regarding finances, but our personal business. I wouldn’t open up my adult children’s mail any more than I’d expect them to read my bank statement. I am tired of hearing the horrible things that adult children feel perfectly justified saying to their parents. But cut them off if they have a response. If this sounds like you, repeat after me….

I will not be held hostage.

I will continue to voice my opinions.

I will not walk on eggshells.

Nor will I butt into their affairs.

 Is it too much to ask for the same courtesy? We all want the best for our children and their lives. It is not a competition. It is just wanting the very best. I pray for us all. May our children see our hearts. May they GET where we are coming from and not guess. And may all of our relationships be restored. AMEN And if you are a kid who happens to be reading this…  it is not an accident that you are reading this right now. Go call your mom!  🙂

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”  (3 John 1:4)

Pedestal Sitters


I am a work in progress. Though, I wish that I could say that I have” arrived” for once and for all! Sometimes I have to admit that I have asked myself, when will it be my turn to be a “pedestal sitter”? How I wish that I could be the mentor rather than always the one being mentored. But I guess we all have our places and someone has to be the  example for the works in progress to give hope to the ones still in progress. At times I have wondered if any of us really ever get there. I mean the ones who are examples, the ones who get to be the pedestal sitters. The ones we think have arrived. What are their struggles? If we really could see them the way their family sees them, would they fall off of the pedestals we put them on? What if we lived with our mentors? Our Pastors and politicians, our bosses and teachers, are they who they really seem to be? Well, the fact is, no one is perfect. Even if they tend to want to keep up appearances, facts are facts and pedestals usually always fall. And in turn the pedestal sitters are just as fragile as Humpty Dumpty.

I remember as a kid, my dad was a high profile businessman. Even when we would go to his company picnics, he seemed to command an unspoken kind of awe, whether professionally or at play, in the office or on the softball field. He was respected in ways I did not understand or appreciate as a child.

 I just saw the dad who would sit in his easy chair and drip something on his tee shirt as he ate and laugh at the “Mr. Murray” that I got to see and realize that even at a young age, I was privy to another side of my dad.

There are ghosts in my life. There I said it. I wrote and rewrote that sentence and there is no other way to say it. Some are more prevalent than others. But they are there. Like an old movie being rewound. Like a character from my past, walking around with me, whispering in my ear. No one else can see him but he is there. Always saying things that I imagine he would say. Is he my voice of reason or judgement? Is she my little child still inside of me clamoring to be set free? Perhaps he is my dad.

How I would love to have my wise old dad show up, when I needed his wisdom the most. And yet sometimes I forget that God IS there, like my dad in a way, always there, always, oh my, that is a thought I love and fear all at the same time. HE knows my every hair. Okay, that’s kind of comforting. But my every thought? That’s downright disturbing! I mean, I stub a toe or pinch a finger and a million words my mother would be horrified to know that I know, pop into my head. Not that I say out loud but they do come to mind more than I would like to admit at times when I am not at my best. And yes, my mother still remarks if she disapproves of me and I still feel a bit like a pre-teen. Do we ever stop being the child when our parents are around? No matter how old I am, I still have the urge to wait for my mom to look the other way before I salt my food.

God never turns His head. He is always there. Though I have treated Him like a vapor and placed Him in an abstract place in my heart and forget He is always watching. No lock will keep Him away and yet He doesn’t force his way in, he waits to be invited. He is the only ONE worthy of a pedestal and yet walks with the servants and finds me worthy at my worst, without a pedestal or a life free from sin. He finds me where I am and gives me a place far better than any pedestal a place of grace to rest and be restored.

For I will be merciful and gracious toward their sins and I will remember their deeds of unrighteousness no more.
Hebrews 8: 12

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7: 14

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalm 51: 10-12