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Archive for the tag “family”

With Hearts and Hands and Voices!

We all know what to do.  For many children these are among the first words. Mommy taught us when we were barely able to talk:

“Say Please.”

“Please!”

“What do you say?”

Thank You!”

These fundamental sentences are very often accompanied by the directive:  “Share!”

As big, grown up, sophisticated adults, we go about our business not thinking most of the time to employ these fundamentals.  We seem to think that it takes too much time or that it really doesn’t fit with the OMG, WTF, LOL world.  As we move about we leave a trail of dust and resentment and a crumbling civilization in our wake.

I am not here today to play Ms Manners.  I just want to suggest that we engage our hearts, our hands and our voices to do what we know is right.  To ask instead of take, to share instead of grasp, to thank instead of  ignore.  Basic acknowledgement of others as fellow human beings together right here, right now.

When I was a manager of people I distributed paychecks and thanked each person for their work.  The reaction was mildly suspicious surprise.  Guess that everyone wanted to be sure I was sincere.  They kind of waited for a “punchline”.   When they realized that it was real, you should have seen their faces!  Everyone got a sense of pride and smiled.  Sure, just payment for service rendered is a transaction.  Saying “Thank you for your work!” is like putting the cherry on top of the sundae.

As miraculous as our lives are (and I do believe they are miraculous!) we are all here by the grace and care of others.  God, family, friends, community.  Today at dinner–no matter what you’re eating and who you are eating it with–make sure to remember what Mommy taught us.  Love the folks that surround you, help those who need it without being asked, say thank you for the sheer miraculous nature of life.  Put that cherry on top of the sundae, be grateful, live grateful and sing!

Now Thank We All Our God   Martin Rinkart 1586-1649

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

Oh, may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And guard us through all ills in this world, till the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given,
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, Whom earth and Heav’n adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore

Climbing Smooth

“If the mountain was smooth, you couldn’t even climb it!” unknown

I was watching a YouTube video about the hymn Amazing Grace with Wintley Phipps yesterday.  What an inspiring bit of film and song!  But I was struck by the proverb above that Wintley quoted in the beginning of  the clip.  How profound 10 ordinary words can be!

What are the mountains in your life?

Webster says:  “Adversity: (noun) a state, condition, or instance of serious or continued difficulty or adverse fortune (see adverse).                  Synonyms:misfortune, ill, knock, misadventure, mischance, mishap, tragedy Antonyms: fortune, luck, serendipity”

Did you ever try to climb up the slide at the playground?  I have.  Tough.  I remember a group of us kids daring each other to make it to the top.  There were dozens of attempts without touching the sides.  All unsuccessful.  It wasn’t until we used our hands to grip the edges of the slide that anyone made it to the top.  A smooth mountain would be like that.  Think of trying to climb the perfect triangle, we would crash every time.

Real mountains are not smooth.  Craggy, rocky, difficult, dangerous, murderous, majestic, beautiful, lofty and huge are words we use to describe them.  Rock climbers know that it requires the gear, the skill, the perseverance,  and the courage to undertake it all.  The climbers that tackle the big ones–K2, Everest, McKinley all know it takes planning and serious preparation to accomplish the task.  Most will also tell you it takes teamwork.  Your climbing partners and your base camp support folks they all have to be committed to the effort and work together.

K2 in summer.

Image via Wikipedia

Watching the news the other night I felt like the kid in the playground, surrounded by the “Super Committee”  trying in vain to climb the slide.  No one was successful.  No one worked together.  Everyone wanted to blame someone–someone else.  It was discouraging!

My own mountain right now has many sharp obstacles.  Kind of like the picture of K2 in Summer to the right.   After a long career of sitting in an office, I am doing retail sales and my body is revolting big time!  My bank account and my retirement account and my real estate are like team mates that are pulling the ropes that keep us together in all different directions.  How can we reach the summit with problems like these?

That’s when it hit me that the craggy bits and the sharp outcroppings and the difficulties with sore tired muscles and stiff joints are part of what makes reaching the summit the true achievement that it is.  The base camp team is vital–family and friends–cheering you on and making the assent possible.  If the way was smooth, how could you climb?

The other thing that hit me is that if you don’t work together, you can’t work at all when it comes to climbing.  The climbers that reach the summit know they did not get there on their own.  The guy at the peak had to have faith in the team, each one contributing their part and all contributing to the achievement.

So what then is the problem–how do we plan to achieve the summit here?  How can we get the team to work together so we’re not climbing smooth?  What can we do to conquer that adversity mountain that our country confronts?  The mountain that represents all the debt and loss of confidence in government and in ourselves?  How do we gain the courage to climb despite the partisan fear and destructive mistrust and being pulled in every direction by special interests?

Ideas?

Big John Forever!

Today Big John B. will go into the ground.  I do feel sad, but I know that he really had a great 90 year life, and I know that he was a man of strong faith.  So I know that this is not the end for Big John B. this is really the beginning of his forever!

Last night at the funeral home we laughed and visited with his vigorous family.  Wife June, sons John and James and daughter Judy.  My husband grew up with the kids.  Big John’s great-granddaughter was born on his birthday a few short months ago.  A family filled with love and joy and trials and woe–just like us.  A family committed to faith and strong by holding tight to that faith and to each other.

We often take for granted such wonderful people around us.  The best legacy Big John could leave is the one he actually did leave and that is witnessed to by the faith, family and friends that surrounded him all his life and even after his life here.

This is a good day to thank God for letting me know Big John B and his hearty laugh, bear hugs and positive approach to the good and the bad that life has to offer.  And this is a good day to grab hold of that faith, those wonderful family members and loving friends in our own lives.

See you when we get to forever John!

 

In Praise of the Sunday Nap!

Today we again honored the tradition begun before my father’s generation and continued into my grandson’s.  The Sunday Nap!

Some would say that this tradition was instituted by God in Genesis when after working six days to create the heavens and the earth and all that is in them God decided to rest on the seventh day.  Regardless of how the tradition began, I am grateful for it and heartily endorse it.  Rest is good.

Not only is it refreshing to get an hour of shut-eye, it helps to reset the mind and prepare us for another grueling week of same old, same old. Let me say that I just took a pole and 2 of the 7 poll subjects were still taking a nap!  Not sure that this proves anything other than we are a family bound by tradition.

Sleep is important.  Just like we learned in school we should each sleep 8-9 hours each night.  Few of us do.  Sleep deprivation can cause loss of productivity, accidents,

Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See ...

Image via Wikipedia

disrupt hormone production and the proper metabolic processing of carbohydrates.  Severe sleep deprivation can cause symptoms that resemble drunkenness, including lack of coordination and poor judgement.  Even if one does not sleep, the quiet rest in a calm space can do a lot for us.  There is so much general noise in our lives that any excuse for quiet is a refreshing change. That is as far as we will go with sleep study information–don’t want to put you to sleep!

I look forward to the quiet of the whole house on Sunday afternoon. The homeyness of the family safe and snug.  The refreshing decadence of it all–chores can wait, we have something important to do.  I cherish and protect it vigorously. I hope I have passed it on to the next generations and if my poll is any indication, I have!

Picking Up Where You Left Off

Probably the thing I like best about good friends is that when you don’t see each other for a while–sometimes years–and you meet again it is like you just had a chat yesterday. You pick up where you left off. It is wonderful when that happens!

That happened yesterday. We had one of the kids elementary school teachers over for a BBQ. Rob, his wife Kay and their two lovely girls came for a visit. We haven’t seen them for 17 years! We went to their wedding and we really haven’t been together since.

It was a wonderful evening. We talked about everything–life, kids, work, travel and on and on and on! Daughter #1 did the cooking and Son #1 manned the grill. We sat on the lawn and let time slip away. We ended with a family photo, good-bye hugs  and invitations to see them next time we are in their sate.

What is it about friendship like this that makes it so comfortable? Is it personality? Is it just being yourself? Is it spiritual? What is it? It is a mystery.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious, it is the true source of art, science, and friendship.”
Albert Einstein

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