do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43
Since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted an antique vanity- with a big fancy mirror, and those little drawers to put all your make up and pretty things in. Unfortunately we don’t have a good place for me to put one, so I have re-purposed an old sewing table as a vanity.
Several years ago, my Granny was getting rid of things and my mom asked if I wanted Granny’s old sewing table. I thought it would be neat to have, so I brought it home one day. It sat in our guest room downstairs for a while, and then I decided to bring it upstairs and put it in my room. Now it has become my make-shift vanity.
I keep my make-up bag on top, and I have a stand up mirror that I keep on top of the desk. And there are all sorts of little treasures in the side drawers…
I wonder how many times my Granny sat at this same table to sew on a button, or fix a hem? Even though Granny has been gone for almost 2 years now, I think about her every day. And every time one of my girls needs something hemmed- or a button repaired- I go straight to this sewing table! I think to myself- “Granny to the rescue”!
This past Good Friday would have been Granny’s 89th birthday. It’s hard to believe she’s been gone that long! I had a white dress to hem for Easter, so naturally I went to Granny’s old sewing table for some help. Yep- Granny to the rescue, again!
Sure enough, there was a sturdy pair of sewing scissors in the middle drawer… and snow white thread with a spool that must have been 50 years old! And plenty of different sized sewing needles- good for every type of fabric.
What a blessing it was for me to sit at this old table of Granny’s on her birthday, and to spend some of the day remembering her- making use of all the little treasures that are in this sewing table. One of the things I loved most about Granny was that she was a good listener. Sometimes when I sit there to sew, or to put on my make-up- I imagine that I’m talking to her…telling her all kinds of tales about raising my girls…and I imagine her listening intently, smiling back at me.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens…
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak- Ecclesiastes 3
I think back on the days when the girls were little and I lament over how little sleep I had, and how very much I felt pulled between working part time while I stayed at home with them. I remember the momma guilt I had when I hurried them to “get in the car because Mommy was going to be late again”… I remember how I rushed from here to there trying to fit everything in…I also remember thinking I wasn’t doing a good enough job at everything I was trying to do.
Sometimes I wonder what they remember about their “little girl” days…
Yesterday I was blessed beyond measure. The girls found an old camera and showed me the memory card. They wanted me to upload all the pictures onto my computer and look at them together.
Most of them were when the girls were around 2 and 5- right in the thick of my “running around” days when I taught aerobic classes at the gym and I was also teaching music lessons.
And the smiles I saw on the girls’ faces brought tears to my eyes. Pictures- lots of them that they took themselves- perfectly documented giggly faces covered in juice, their favorite toys scattered all around the house….there were even short videos of them watching their favorite tv shows and singing the theme songs.
As we scrolled through the pictures, I started to delete the blurry ones- and my oldest kept saying NO! Every single one made her remember something special. I couldn’t believe all the little details she remembered about those years. Every toy and dollhouse, every outfit and accessory she wore.
And all I could see was the joy in their eyes.
Maybe I was a little too hard on myself all those years ago- because yesterday, as we looked back on those pictures, I didn’t think about anything other than how precious my girls are and how very much I loved my babies! Looking at those pictures made me really missed those days.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
like crayons and markers
I watched as she drew
outlined and shadowed
but before she was through-
she’d say look this way-
and with special care
she’d dab a little here
and she’d dab a little there-
transforming me into
a queen for a day
how I loved it when
came to play!
Today I was thinking about my Grandmother and remembering all the times she used to travel to visit us. We didn’t see her often- maybe a couple of times a year, but she was a true southern belle and I loved her dearly! She passed away just a few years after I got married. As I was putting on my moisturizer this morning, I remembered something special she used to do with us…
One of the things I loved most when Grandmother came to visit is when she would put her make-up on in the morning. She would sit on the couch and lay out all of her makeup on the coffee table. And if my sister and I were sitting with her, she would include us in her beauty ritual. We would carefully watch her apply her blue eye-shadow, and then it was our turn!
She’d lean over and swipe the blue shadows on our lids. And then she’d dab a little bit of mascara on our lashes, and then we’d pick a shade of lipstick. A little puff of nude powder dusted on our faces, and we were all dolled up! I remember thinking- oh just wait till my friends see me like this!
And then I’d go outside to see our friends who lived next door, and I’d wait for them to notice something different about me. Inside, I felt like a beauty queen, but the funny thing was that to them- I didn’t look any different!
It is amazing how a little extra attention from someone you love can transform your own thoughts about yourself.
I am so thankful for those memories-
and for how special and loved my Grandmother always made me feel!
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair or gold jewelry or fine clothes, but from the inner disposition of your heart, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.
1 Peter 3:4
The greatest present given to me
was not found beneath a tree
a much more precious gift, you see-
one that brought back memories
In Granny’s garage, to my delight
nestled atop a fridge that night
I found an old, old antique light
and it was precious to my sight!
This was our first Christmas without Granny. My aunt lives in Granny’s house, but it will forever be “Granny’s house” to me. Even though she isn’t there, memories of her are everywhere.
We had Christmas dinner at “Granny’s house”, and I couldn’t help but wonder- were we going to talk about Granny at all? I figured everyone else was thinking about her and missing her, too. One of my aunts gave my mom a beautifully framed picture of Granny. When I saw it, it was as if Granny was sitting in that same recliner in the next room.
One of my aunts asked my sister and I if we wanted to go into the garage to look through some of Granny’s things that they were getting rid of. We walked out into the garage, and sifted through a few boxes of odds and ends. I saw a couple of oil lamps in one box, which reminded me of my favorite lamp that used to rest on the dresser in the back bedroom. This is where my sister and I slept when we spent the nights at Granny and Papa’s house.
As a kid, I was afraid of the dark. One of my earliest memories is of me being in a crib. I can picture myself looking through the crib slats, watching the lights go out and then watching the door to my room close. I would cry because I was afraid of the dark. I can remember always being afraid of the dark- especially when I slept in a different place.
But not at Granny’s house!
On those special overnight trips to Granny’s, I couldn’t wait to see that special lamp light up the room when I went to sleep! It had a beautiful gold hued glass globe around the top, and the black base had cut-outs of stars, which glowed when it was turned on.
That lamp made me look forward to sleeping over at Granny’s house. It shined light in the darkness and somehow made my Granny’s house seem magical!
As I remembered that old lamp, I looked across the garage to where the old fridge sat. There it was, clear as day- resting right on top. I didn’t even know that lamp still existed! I asked my aunt if I could have it, and after she checked to see if it was ok- she said it was fine for me to have it.
I couldn’t wait to get the lamp home and clean it up! I washed the hurricane glass and the globe, and then found a bulb to put inside. The off/on switch was broken, but as soon as I plugged it in, it came right on!
And just like flipping that “on” switch, then came back all the memories of being a kid at Granny’s house. Granny may be gone, but her light shines on…
You, Lord, are my lamp;
the Lord turns my darkness into light. 2 Samuel 22:29
stitch by stitch
it was frozen in time
I watched it grow
and dreamed it was mine
soft and warm
like an autumn sky
an afghan brings memories
of days gone by
My mom recently and asked me if there was anything in particular that I would like to have that belonged to my Granny. Oddly enough, something immediately came to my mind- an afghan. Not just any afghan- it was one my mom had made for my Pawpaw nearly 30 years ago.
So I said to my mom- “Do you remember that old afghan you made for Pawpaw? I would love to have it if it’s still at the house!” She remembered it right away, and said she’d try to find it that weekend.
As a kid, I remember sitting beside my mom on the couch each night as she crocheted it. I wanted that blanket! It was soo soft, and I remember thinking about how much my mom must love her daddy to spend all that time making it for him! I believe she gave it to him for Christmas that year.
And every time we went to visit Granny and Pawpaw, I saw that blanket folded neatly on top of his recliner. I secretly wanted to sit in his chair so I could spread it across my lap and pretend it was mine!
Year after year, Every time I saw the afghan, the memories of those special evenings I spent sitting beside my mom, watching her crochet… those memories would come right back to me.
As I was sitting in church the following Sunday, I saw a text from mom. They looked everywhere for the afghan, and mom went out to the garage to put something in the freezer- and there it was, in perfect condition tucked beside the freezer.
I was able to pick it up later that next week. The afghan was a little stiff, and slightly musty from old age, so I carefully washed and dried it. Now it’s as good as new!
Its not the afghan itself that’s special- it’s the precious memories it brings back to me…of being a little girl, sitting beside my Mommy on the couch…just simply being together.
“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
― L.M. Montgomery,
I linger to remember-
that feeling of old December
when you asked me
for my hand
I didn’t have to consider
if I wanted you forever
I said yes to love-
you were my man
and knew that I would never
have any regrets ever
even in stormy weather
I’d be your fan
I couldn’t wait to be your wife
we talked for hours, we planned our life
and you and I held hands
as we watched the setting sun
when our love
We recently visited my in-law’s house, the place my hubby called home for many years before we got married. I was at that house every single day from the time we started dating until the day we got married. I remember sitting on that bench by the lake nearly 20 years ago near their home and wishing time would just hurry up already! I wanted to be married and have kids and have a house of my own. I remember the desperation I felt at that time. Life just couldn’t go fast enough for me.
Oh how I wish I could go back and chat with my 18 year old self!
I found myself sitting on that same bench this past week, remembering how much I took for granted back then…how I wished my life away. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a pause button for “life”? I wanted more than anything to sit on that bench and remember how it felt to be young again!
It’s hard for me to believe- this Christmas Eve it will be 20 years since my husband asked me to marry him. I remember it like it was yesterday.
And if he asked me again today-
I’d still say “yes” 🙂
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth,
And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth;
Walk in the ways of your heart…
Yesterday I had the joy of sharing one of those “back in my day” stories with my daughters…
While I was looking through some pictures from a trip my husband and I took to Paris-B.C. (before children), I found something from my childhood that I have been looking for for years!
When I was about 10 years old, I wanted a tape recorder for Christmas. I remember the day I got that red tape recorder and a set of blue “k-mart special” blank tapes, and it was the best present ever! My sister and I spent countless hours recording ourselves singing and recording songs off of the radio.
Imagine my delight when I found one of those k-mart tapes last night in the box with my old pictures! It was like Christmas all over again! I patiently waited until the next morning to play it in my mini-van… (yes, we have probably one of the last mini-vans to have a cassette player in it!)
I carefully slid the tape into the tape deck, not even sure if it would still play- but sure enough, I heard the crackly sound of the tape loud and clear. It was like going back in time 28 years… I heard snippets of songs we recorded from the radio while we played in the background… then my sister and I sang our little hearts out. We sang “The Greatest Love of All” in perfect unison, a cappella- and the sound was eerily familiar. It could have easily been my own two girls belting out that tune. My sister and I sounded just like my girls!
When my girls got into the van with me, I had to explain what we were listening to.
“Back in my day, we didn’t have cell phones with video recorders… or cd’s or youtube or iPods… We had to make “mix tapes”. We had to actually *gasp* wait for our favorite song to come on the radio and then time it just right to record it on our cassette tape. Then we had to be really, really quiet so that we couldn’t hear ourselves on the tape.”
They looked at me like I was an alien. They were not impressed.
We continued to listen to the tape, and I had to stifle my laughter as I heard my sister and I telling each other “Shhh!!!”. And then we couldn’t help ourselves… as soon as the chorus to a song we were trying to record came on, we belted it out. The funny part was that we never, ever knew the words to the verses- we just made them up.
And while I was deep in nostalgic thought, listening to my childhood mix-tape, my own girls were bickering and belting out their own favorite tunes in the back of our mini van…
plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!
I think of all
the things I thought
and how I used to feel
Remembering all my
connecting through our stories
and spending time
I’m reliving my own childhood
as I watch these
girls of mine!
I did something out of the ordinary the other day- I gave my daughters my undivided attention. It would be fair to say that most days my attention is split in a thousand different directions- but the rare afternoons I give them ALL of me are ones I never regret.
My older daughter was under the weather and stayed home from school, and much to my delight- she is so loving and pleasant when she is sick. She spent most of the day laying in my bed as I cleaned and did laundry. We talked about life and school and all sorts of pre-teen things.
When my youngest one came home from school, I devoted all of my time to her. We began with a piano lesson where she confessed that one day she wanted to play just like me.
“Can I play piano for church someday?” she asked me during our lesson.
Be still my beating heart! There is nothing that would make me prouder than seeing my children give their gifts to the Lord- whatever those gifts may be! And she continued to ask me all sorts of questions about my childhood…
“Momma? Do you remember who your kindergarten teacher was?”
“I sure do! She even had a dress that looked like one Caroline Ingalls would have worn from Little House on the Prairie!” My older daughter, in the next room, couldn’t resist joining our conversation.
“What about your first grade teacher?”
“Yep- I remember being so sad that I cried for the entire first week of school. I wanted to stay home with my mom and was sad to leave my sister. I cried so much that my teacher put an entire box of tissues on my desk!”
We had a good laugh about that one. As I recalled each of my elementary teachers, I also remembered little stories that connected me with my girls, allowing me to remember just how big those “little” things seemed to me at the time.
I remembered being asked to create a still-life drawing by my art teacher in the 5th grade. She wanted to submit my artwork for a chance for me to attend a special art program in our city. With utmost care, I sketched the encyclopedia bookcase in my dining room- carefully drawing the many potted plants my mom had surrounding it. I thought it was the best thing I had ever created. I was so proud of that drawing! I remember handing it into my teacher, sure that I would be picked to be in this elite group of artists… but my dream was crushed. I wasn’t chosen. I didn’t think I would ever draw again after that day.
My youngest daughter loves to draw, and she was especially touched by that story.
“Why don’t you draw anymore?” my daughter asked me inquisitively.
“Well, I really loved music, so I spent most of my free time playing piano instead of drawing.”
I remember the day I found out I didn’t make it into the art program. I was devastated, and felt like I would never be good enough at anything. That feeling was as real to me as I shared the story with my girls as it was 25 years ago. Something I was so proud of was just not good enough.
I thought about how different my life could have been if I been accepted into that art program…it was later that year that I began taking piano lessons…
But perhaps He knew I’d have no time to sing
and no time to play piano
Perhaps I would have never written any poems
or any songs
And in that moment of sharing my memories, He opened my eyes to this- it has taken me 25 years to see the blessing in being a “rejected” art student… because just maybe He knew He had something far better in store for that 10 year old girl!
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
we’ll look at our
our weathered lines
and wonder where
the time has gone
the dreams of our past
and see the gift of our
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
We celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary this past weekend. It was a beautiful day- much like the day we got married. As we got out of our car for our lunch date, I noticed an elderly couple making their way up to the restaurant door. He leaned on his walker and pushed it forward inch by inch. She followed closely behind him- watching to make sure he didn’t stumble. Any other day, I might have sped up my walk to get to the door ahead of them. Not that day.
“One day, that will be us,” I smiled as I told my husband.
Then just yesterday, I was with a friend in a coffee shop, and an elderly man came up to us. He was dressed nicely and had a pleasant way about him. He was looking for a flier, and then began to talk to us. He told us he had been married for 61 years. 61 years!!
I couldn’t believe it- because he didn’t look old enough to have been married that long.
“But, you couldn’t be more than 70,” I said to him in protest. “There’s no way you could have been married that long!”
“Oh yes, I am 90 years old!” He smiled, proud of the years he has experienced in this world.
“You want to know the hardest thing about being 90?” His eyes were glistening as he spoke, and I leaned in close as he talked.
He clenched his fist and brought it up to his ear- as if he was holding a phone receiver.
“There’s no one for me to call anymore. They’re all gone.”
My friend and I listened as he shared his random memories…of the passing of his wife, of friends who have experienced loss and hardship, and all I could think about was how important it is to be connected, to be present, and to take time out of our busy lives to listen.
Life, our memories, and our relationships are precious gifts- and our days here are numbered.
One day, that will be me.