Lasting Memories

My husband loves Christmas. He can’t wait until the tree is up and the decorations out. He bought the tree while I was in the hospital but had it delivered after I came home. It is now up and decorated. (which he did) I am good but still some tired.

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I managed to get enough energy to do some of the other decorations and things look pretty nice. We have pared down some over the years and don’t over do.

If we strictly followed our church’s thought we would not put up decorations until Christmas Eve and keep them up for the 12 days of Christmas ending on Epiphany. When I was a child my father and I would walk into the woods and cut a tree on Christmas Eve. That was such an exciting time for me. Just spending time with my father doing something special was enough. I remember it with such fond memories.

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I hope we were able to give those kind of memories to our own children. These are things that can’t be duplicated. Expensive gifts are nothing compared to time spent with parents. It is so wonderful when we spend time with our own children playing, what I call, “remember when….the time the dog opened most of the presents under the tree during the night??” Those are the things that last.

Spend on memories not things. The memories last.

Living in Panama

I ran across this quote recently and it brought up some memories.

I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.   

L. M. Montgomery

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This looks like our house. It is a duplex.

For a while we lived in Panama. It was June there all year round. The only changes were the difference between the we season and the dry season. There was very little difference in temperature. We lived in military housing that was built many years ago of concrete. The buildings were raised up on concrete posts so that the main floor was on the second floor. I am assuming they did this to get it away from the many creatures that lived there. There was a maid’s room on the ground floor. ( didn’t have a full time maid) and underneath the house is where we hung our clothes to dry. (I’m sure no one remembers doing that) During the rainy season the clothes didn’t dry for days so that is when we first bought a dryer.

The houses had louvered windows and screens. Most of the people who lived there put plastic over the windows, heavy draperies and installed window air conditioners. That worked pretty well. The only problem was that since the wall were concrete you couldn’t hang pictures except with stick-on picture hangers. (not the good ones we have today) The power went out frequently and if it was out for long the walls began to sweat and all the pictures fell off the walls.

I will write some more about this adventure later but I do want to say that I grew tired of wearing the same clothes all year around. I am afraid I like at least some semblance of season change.

Anamnesis — Remembrance

Today was All Saints Sunday. Brought forward from the actual day which was November 1st. All Saints is a day of remembrance in the church.

Remembrance..a word that brings forth things gone. I have long felt that those who have gone on before us are still with us. Not as ghosts or some kind of spirit but as memories. I feel that as we think about those in the past we connect with them and they still live in us. We are a part of all that has gone before. Some old Biblical translations used the word anamnesis. Later it was changed to remembrance but I think the earlier word is closer to the original meaning.

an·am·ne·sis
noun
the remembering of things from a supposed previous existence (often used with reference to Platonic philosophy).

remembering

I still feel the presence of my mother, father and other family members. Their love and caring continue on. As do the lives of those who are in my past and whose lives brought mine about.

Memories and emotions

Where families are involved life can treacherous. Sometimes the most innocent remark can be twisted into a major conflict. I suspect this is because there is history and much emotion involved. Often the negative reaction has nothing to do with what is going on at the moment. It is rooted somewhere in the past where the emotions are stuck.

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I have never forgotten that our emotions are tied to so many things. A piece of music from our past can have us experiencing the emotions we felt at the time. These past connections can emerge at the worst moments and skew our perception of the current experience.

Many of us have been taken straight back to our past feelings by a song, a scent, a person, or a scene. We don’t realize what is happening and our responses are not appropriate to the moment. This is doubly true for those we spent a lot of time with growing up. We are creations of our environment as well as our genes.

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It takes real strength to look inside and connect with the past so that we can disconnect ourselves from it. Most of us don’t want to relive the negative things that formed out emotional responses. It make take talking with a counselor to root out those emotions and at least understand them. Hopefully doing so will allow us to reconnect with those we have turned away from. Maybe not. Some we may not want to but there can be some that can heal connections that will change our hearts.

Burned books

Recently a college near us ran into some controversy. A novelist came to read a selection from her recent book and students protested and burned copies of the book.

book-burning

The book is:

The novel, Make Your Home Among Strangers, is by Jennine Capó Crucet, ​an English professor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, who came to the Statesboro, Ga., campus last Wednesday to read “Imagine Me Here, or How I Became a Professor,” an essay included in the novel, according to a statement from Crucet.

Make Your Home Among Strangers was selected among a list of recommended readings for freshmen as part of Georgia Southern’s first-year experience program. It is the story of a first-generation American born to Cuban immigrant parents who is accepted into an elite university and is rejected by her family as well as the white students at the college.

Students were offended  by some of her statements about white privilege and staged the protest. The school responded with statements.

Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing John Lester wrote in an email. Book burning does not align with Georgia Southern’s values, Lester told USA Today. But the university does uphold students’ rights to assert their freedom of expression, he said.

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I cannot disagree with the students right to protest. However, I was a young child about 5 years old at the end of WWII. I am sure I didn’t remember much then but as I grew older and understood Hitler’s policies I was appalled by the burning of books. The episode at the school triggered memories of burning books and banning books. This, for me, is a reminder of where things are headed when we are told what we can and cannot read.

These students were not around when books were burned to remove freedoms. They don’t have experience of thoughts being limited and controlled. I know that was not their intention but I am always anxious when I hear about books being burned.

 

Two worlds

The Two Worlds

 

Gonefront porch

Summer nights

Gentle breeze

Smelling grass

New mown

 

Seeking cool

Savoring twilight

Resting outside

Quiet after day

 

Life is sweet

Neighbors close

Porch swings rocking

Voices mingling

 

Time for friends

Chatting simply

No distractions

Evening settling

 

Time past

Slower, calmer

In tune

With the earth

 

Here

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Today’s time

Faster, hurried

Evening coming

Unnoticed

 

Media blaring

Phones beeping

Family each

In confined space

 

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Conversation?

On line

Can’t see

Faces

 

No listening

Mind cluttered

Little calm

New world

 

Choose!

Memories–always there

Memories

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Memories
Things remembered
Never lost

Childhood
Days seemed forever
Time moved slowly

Teens
Endless life
Untouchable, invulnerable

Marriage
Love, passion, caring
Too quickly passing

Children
Growing, changing, becoming
Then suddenly….gone

Now marriage
Secure, comfortable
Loving, aging

Growing older
Vulnerable health
Fast passing

Memories
Always present
Always, always

New patterns

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Sand Mandala

This is something I wrote years ago when a dear friend moved away to be near her Aunt. Sadly, she died and her aunt lived on.

My friend
Your journey begins
A new life

Exploring your place
among
your beginnings

a time to see yourself
in your childhood
memories

and measure
what
you have become

sand-mandala-royal-photographymy friend
the for me
brings sorrow

a turning loose
of patterns
I loved

Learning how
To reaffirm
The friendship we have woven

Now must become
New patterns, new threads
New fabric

Not losing
The old
But adding new

Journeying on
To see with
New eyes

The whole pattern
Will emerge
In all its beauty

It’s the little things

Why-I-do-What-I-do-to-Spread-the-Joy-of-Creating-with-your-HandsLately I have an increased love of baking. It has resulted in extra bread at home and the problem is making sure that we don’t eat all of it. I am giving a good bit away and plan to keep doing that. There is something therapeutic about kneading dough. You can beat out all of your frustrations. Then there is the smell you get in the whole house when it is done.

Creating something that works out is a real boost. Just to be able to say to yourself “well done.” There are so many things in life that we can never see the results or have someone tell you it was a good job.

There are a few things that I like to do because they provide instant gratification. One is mowing the lawn. There is something about seeing the neat rows where the lawnmower has been that give me a lift. The smell of new mown grass reminds me of my childhood. My father mowed in the summer evenings when the days were long. As a child I was put to bed early but the open windows in my room brought in the smell of the mown grass. It brought a sense of peace and comfort to me.

happiness-quote-its-the-little-things-in-life-2065I also like making a bed. Just looking at the neat covers when done gives me satisfaction. I can leave the room knowing that it is completed. It doesn’t matter that usually no one else sees it. It is done for me.

Some things that give us pleasure are simple and it is so easy to skip them. Just taking the few minutes to make something look better can boost our mood for the day.

Find the small things that increase your joy. Don’t skip them out of laziness. They can make a huge difference in your whole day.