A Worthy Celebration

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Today I attended a beautiful “Celebration of Life” for a sweet lady who now resides in God’s presence.

The carefully chosen songs and words spoken were filled with love and emotion.  More than once I heard phrases like, “never an unkind word” and “found the good in all”.  It occurred to me that it wasn’t hard to understand why she was loved by many.  She obviously made many feel loved.

After the service, her family and friends reminisced over plates laden with fish and all the expected sides.  There were words of comfort spoken, tear stained cheeks, and hugs.  There was laughter as funny memories were shared and there was a feeling of family and familiarity that permeated the gathering.

Looking around, I saw faces of people who have known each other since birth or at the very least shared memories for decades.  As we shared stories and laughter, I was reminded once again that I am thankful for our small town.  Most of the people who were conversing share memories that span at least two generations.  We are like a large family, replete with the fussing and fighting and making up.  We know more about each other’s business than is convenient.  We know family histories, be they good or bad and some recollections are pristine while others are exaggerated.

One thing I have noticed though; when heartache is felt by one here, for the most part, it is felt by all.  When my family has been hit the hardest, I have found sincere words of concern, loving arms to hug and hold, warm dishes delivered to comfort and we have felt the ardent prayers for our peace.

When I was younger, I always flippantly voiced my burning desire to leave this boring, gossiping town and never come back.  As a matter of fact, my parents did decide to move, the summer after my 9th grade year.  Ironically, when the time came, I departed kicking and screaming and vowing that I would never, ever appreciate our new abode.  I spent the entire summer making sure my parents knew they had ruined my life.

As life would have it, a few years and many addresses later, I made my way back.  I understand why people say they hate it and how they get weary of the drama and gossip.  I have been there and I would encourage young ones to spread their wings and fly after their dreams.  However, if you find yourself lonely and broken, you might make your way back home again.  Yes, everyone will know your story (and might even embellish it), but many will be there to embrace and comfort you.

Today, I was inspired by the words that were spoken. We can be a kinder, gentler community that looks for the good in all.  We should never delight in another’s troubles, but in all things show love and mercy.  I’m thankful for the sense of community and am reminded that to be a part of a community you must interact.   We often find ourselves too busy to care for the wounded and the broken, or even to show up to acknowledge an accomplishment.

This dear, sweet lady may be gone, but today’s look back at her actions and interactions in the memorable life she lived have compelled me once again to re-evaluate my priorities and make sure they line up with my Father’s will.  For that, I am truly grateful.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Writerly Reflections

This week the challenge was, “tell us how you fell in love with books and writing”

As for exactly when my love affair with books and writing started, I don’t remember.  My earliest memories have me snuggled up in the lap of whatever adult I could cajole into reading to me.  Thankfully, I was surrounded by them.  I was also the firstborn child and first grandchild, so yes, they were quite willing.

The first thing I remember reading myself were the old “Dick and Jane” primers.  One of my other early favorites was Amelia Bedelia which I loved to hear my granny read because she was very dramatic and made me feel like I knew the characters personally.  Curious George and the man with the yellow hat took me on many adventures and Dr Seuss always made me smile.

When my brother, my sister and I were still quite young, my mother made what, in my opinion, was a glorious decision.  She signed us up to receive Childcraft books!  Oh, the thrill!  They were to arrive monthly and at the end of our subscription, we would own a full set.  We already received Highlights magazine, so the trips to the post office were going to become twice as exciting.

As I grew, it was Charlotte’s Web, all the Judy Blume books, Little Women, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, then Anne of Green Gables, Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.  There was Watership Down, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Gulliver’s Travels and The Outsiders.  Although I wasn’t as enamored with it then as I am now, I read the Bible frequently also.  The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom and The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson were two books that touched my life deeply.

Reading was my favorite pastime and I was often called bookworm by my brother and sister who didn’t share my passion.  My love for the written word inspired me to write as well.  I still have the first story I remember writing; it was a short story about a family during colonial times and I believe it was an assignment for what was then called Social Studies.

I always kept a diary and keep a journal to this day.  As life moved on, I failed to record as much and couldn’t seem to find the time to write, but it was always there, bubbling beneath the surface.  I think we are all born with gifts and callings and it is our role as parents to encourage those gifts.  As individuals, when they begin to resonate within us, we should introduce them to this world and practice them to perfection.

My writing resumed its former importance when my children arrived and I felt compelled to leave a record of things; something they could refer back to and remember me by.  I treasure a book of poetry left to me by my mother.  It shares a part of her that most didn’t know and when I read a selection, it is her voice I still hear.  It brings me comfort, so I feel I can leave something similar for them.

Blogging began for me a little more than a year ago and originally was born out of a desire to become a better writer with the end goal of published inspirational fiction.  As I see how much I have learned and grown in the past year, I am content to continue to stay on the same course until I am ready for bigger things.  Maybe it will only serve as a journal of sorts for my children, but if I can occasionally even touch one person with my writing, by either causing them to think or reflect, or maybe feel better than they did before reading it, I will have accomplished something.  To touch a life, even in a small way, really is a big thing.

Lastly, writing is just something I have to do.  It doesn’t appear to be a choice.  Sometimes it may seem buried in the chaos of this life, but there are days that I must write, or I feel like I will burst.  I truly feel like reading and writing are both absolutes for me; they have been and will be a part of my life forever.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Power of Names

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This week’s challenge was to explore the power of names.  My offering is a silly poem about all of my names and who uses them.  Hope you enjoy! My given name is Lisa which I’ve answered to since birth My mom and dad selected whilst I still enlarged her girth Although they thought it so […]

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflection

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The Weekly Photo Challenge said, THIS WEEK, IN A POST CREATED SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHOW US AN IMAGE THAT SAYS REFLECTION. It could be a person who helps you see things clearly, a place you go to collect your thoughts, or an object that reminds you of your achievements. At the end of the day, […]

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Weekly Writing Challenge: The Golden Years

 I am just now submitting last week’s Weekly Writing Challenge, which said, in summary, “to explore what age means to you”. In a mere one year and seven months, I will be as old as the cassette tape.  How old is that you ask?  Well, that would be a half-century, fifty years old, and a milestone.  […]

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Removing the barnacles

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Originally posted on Long walks and dark chocolate:
This picture was taken from our dock and you can see all of the barnacles on the piling; the longer they are allowed to grow, the greater their adhesion.  We have to remove them from the boats because they will slow us down and cost more fuel.…

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Leave your mark

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As I turned to walk toward home, I saw the long white mark in the sky.  The beautiful blue background made it very noticeable.  A jet had made it’s mark against the backdrop of today’s seemingly endless blue skies.  As I gazed upward, the stripe began to grow a little hazy, it’s lines less defined.  It […]

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes

This week the challenge at the Daily Post said; In this week’s writing challenge, you’ll write a post using three photographs for inspiration.  I choose three photographs by Sue Nash whose blog is Heavenly Raindrops. I pulled my car into the parking lot and checked once more to make sure I had placed my new beach […]

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes (take two)

Okay, I just had to share one more “Three” photo from the Weekly Challenge when I ran across this one.  This is my one and only grandchild, enjoying cake on her 2nd birthday.  She had to have the three Disney princesses on the plate.  She loves cake and didn’t appear to even notice that I […]

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes

This week for the photo challenge at said, “IN A NEW POST PUBLISHED SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE “THREE.” I took this while in Texas visiting my youngest daughter.  We had just enjoyed lunch and tea at the Ambrosia Tea Room in Salado.  We were enjoying a nice walk together in the crisp November air.  […]

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