Archive for the ‘Memories’ Tag

Christmas Memories   Leave a comment

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Sorry that it has been a while since I posted on here.  With the holiday last week, life became busy and hectic.  I think that I am back in control of everything and will get back to more normal regularity in posting.

This morning I was thinking a lot about the memories which I have from my past Christmas times.  Over the years I have acquired some great memories.  So I thought I would share a list of them with you today.

  • Every year when I was growing up, my sister would purchase an Advent calendar for me which had a piece of chocolate hidden behind each day’s door.  I used to eagerly anticipate that calendar, the chocolate treat each day and the countdown to Christmas.
  • We used to string popcorn and cranberries to use as garland on our real Christmas tree.  I cannot count the number of times that I poked myself with the needle.  Or the number of times that Mom would have to re-thread the string through the needle.
  • We always had a lot of candles throughout the house during the Christmas season.  I would often light the candles, turn on the Christmas lights, and listen to Christmas records.
  • Attending Christmas Eve services and walking out of the church at midnight to find a light snow falling.
  • My Dad’s relatives gathering at our house on Christmas Eve.  One Christmas Eve when I was young the adults had all of us go to my room and stay there.  Soon there was a knock on the front door and when we were allowed to come out of my room we were surprised by Santa standing there.  I still have never figured out who was behind that beard.
  • Waking up on Christmas morning and knowing that I could open anything I found in my stocking but the rest of the presents had to wait until everyone was awake and sitting in the living room.
  • Decorating my college dorm room and having enough lights that we never turned on the overhead light until after Christmas break.
  • Listening to Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas album in my dorm room with friends.

These are just a few special memories that have come to mind this morning.  What memories do you have?


Returning To The Past   Leave a comment

Today I did something which I have not done for a very long time…. I baked banana bread.  Now I realize that this is not some profound activity.  My making of banana bread will not alter the events in the world or even be remembered by anyone.  However, it has had an impact on me for two reasons.  The first reason is that I pulled out my hometown cookbook to find the recipe which took me down memory lane as I recalled the people whose name appeared with the different recipes.  The second reason is that I baked for the first time in a long time which is something I used to love to do with my mother and shortly after college.  I had stopped baking and cooking because life became hectic and there was someone else in my home who did these activities.

The reason that I share this with you today is due to the memories and the sense of joy that returning to this past activity has brought to me.  Sometimes in life we become distracted by the new activities and new demands on our lives.  This can lead to us abandoning some activities which brought us joy in the past.  I think that when this occurs, we lose out on a piece of our life that can bring meaning to our lives.  Thinking of this actually brings some sadness into my heart.  However, when we resume such an activity, we can regain the joy.  The memories bring happiness to our hearts.  The connections are recalled.  We can relive some of our previous life.

I encourage you today to take some time to think about some of the things which you used to do but are not doing any more.  Why did you discontinue the activity?  Can you resume the activity even for a short time?  How might you return to your past and bring the joy into your present?

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Posted October 6, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Activity, Experiences, Family, Life

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Missing You   2 comments

Mom & Dad at College Graduation Today for some reason, my thoughts have been circling around my parents.  Early this year my Dad returned to the arms of his Lord.  My Mom has been experiencing the glory of the Lord for almost six years now.  I am very grateful for knowing that their difficulties have ended and their work is no longer laborious.  However, for some reason today I am a little sad.  This date is not significant in their or my life but today I am impacted.

There are days when I find myself thinking about them.  After my Dad’s death, I began using pictures that I had put on my computer for his tribute video as my screen saver.  When I see pictures of each of them, other family members, and the two of them together, I remember the situation during which the picture was taken.  Most days those memories bring smiles to my face.  Today, I felt a tear in my eye as I looked at the pictures.

I miss them.  Life for them and for us was not always perfect.  There were difficulties and there were fights.  But there was also laughter and joy.  Each of them brought something different as a gift to me.  I learned so many things from each of them.  I am the person who I am because they had influenced me.  I am grateful to them both.  Most importantly I always knew of their love and their never wavering support.

And today, I miss you Mom and Dad.  I will always love you!

Mom & Dad at Second Graduation

Posted May 5, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Death, Family, Life

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Breaking of the Bread   Leave a comment

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Today is the day in the Christian calendar when believers remember Jesus creating a way for all believers to share and reflect upon what he offered on the cross.  After his death and resurrection, it is recorded that he was once again sitting down for a meal with a couple of his disciples and when he broke the bread and offered it to them, they recognized who was with them.  As I reflected on these faith events, I came to ponder what occurs when we sit together for a meal.

In this overly hectic life, many of us have limited opportunities to sit down with others for a meal.  Families are always so busy running to events and completing commitments that meals are usually caught on the run.  For single people, the are limited opportunities to sit down with others for a meal.  It seems that no matter what your status, meals at a table are rare events.

However, there are many times which I can remember where it is around a table, sharing a meal, when memorable events occur.  When I reflect back on life, many very positive memories center around a special meal, for a holiday, or a birthday, or because of a life change.  There is something about breaking bread together (another way to say share a meal) where opportunities open up.  People tend to share a lot of information about themselves and their lives when they are sitting together at a table.  Breakthroughs in discussions and negotiations seem to occur a bit easier when you have shared a meal together.

I do not think that it is by chance that Jesus established what we know as the Lord’s Supper, Communion, or the Eucharist.  In his actions, he took what was ordinary and natural for people and turned those items into something extraordinary.  He elevated the importance of sharing meals together.  He reminded us that we recognize one another as individuals better when we have broken bread together.

So today, if you are a believer and will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper, I encourage you to take time to reflect upon what really took place around that table so long ago.  If you are not a believer, I encourage you to reflect upon what has and can take place when you sit down with others for a meal.  May you discover the enrichment which occurs when you break bread with others.  Find opportunities to do this as often as possible.

Thanks for the Memories   1 comment

Uncle Rog and Aunt MarleneLast night I received the news that one of my uncles had died.  A few short weeks ago we had received word that he was diagnosed with very extensive and aggressive cancer.  My heart has been saddened by the news.  I am sad for my aunt and cousins because of the absence this will now create in their lives.

Since I graduated from high school and began my life as an adult, I have not seen my aunt and uncle as much as I used to as a youth.  There were occasional times that I would run into them when I was around home.  There were special events like weddings and funerals that I would be able to see them.  But I have not honestly spent much quality time with them.  So this has caused me to speculate why the news of my uncle’s death has impacted me in the way that it has today.

As I reflect this morning, I think that the reason I am impacted is because of the memories.  When I was younger, I spent a lot of time at my aunt and uncle’s home.  I usually would spend a week or so in the summers at their house.  Many times if my parents had to be out-of-town, I would stay overnight with my aunt and uncle.  I have tons of memories related to those times in their home.  We also would often stop by their house whenever we were in the town in which they lived because they lived in a community that was near to ours.

One of the things that I will always remember about my uncle is his grin and laugh.  His laugh was infectious.  It was boisterous.  You always suspected that there was some mischief associated with his grin and his laugh.  He liked to play jokes on people and to kid around.  He was a lot of fun.  However, I would also say that when you saw his serious look and heard the deeper tone in his voice, he could be a bit scary.  I tried my best to stay out of trouble with him.  Yet, he was quick to forgive, at least toward me.

A treasure of life are the memories.  I often tell others who have had death in their family to be sure to share the memories and the stories.  I truly believe that it is in the sharing of the memories and the stories that a portion of our promised eternal life is contained.  Our loved ones live on in our memories and our stories and therefore, our hearts.

I am thankful for my faith during these times.  Because of what I believe, I am certain that life does not end with the last breath of a person.  I believe that we live on and that life as I understand it now transitions into the glorious eternal life.  This is what I believe and what I offer to my family at this time as we grieve the death of our family member.

Thank you for the memories Uncle Rog!  You will live in my heart as I remember.

Posted September 24, 2013 by thoughtfulbeliever in Belief, Christian Living, Experiences, Family, Life

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The Shaping   Leave a comment

Pottery Wheel

Pottery Wheel (Photo credit: Scott Ableman)

As I shared yesterday in my post, I am in the midst of a project to reduce the accumulated items in the basement.  I am pleased to report that much progress is being made and it might be completed sooner than I had originally thought.  Yesterday I ran across a lot of boxes containing bits of pieces of memorabilia and pictures from my past.  This morning I have been in thought about how my past has shaped who I am today.

There have been significant events and significant people which impacted my life and who I became.  As I read cards that were received on milestones in my life and as I encountered pictures taken at significant events in my life, I was very aware how easily I forget those influences.  I forget how words written to me helped me discover new directions in my life.  I forget how the guidance of not just my parents but of aunts, uncles, siblings, community members, friends, and fellow believers has helped me choose paths that has brought me to where I am today.  It tells me that I am not just the product of my own efforts, beliefs, goals, and thoughts but that those very items have been nurtured and impacted by the people and events of my life.

All of us are shaped by those individuals and moments of our lives.  Sometimes those can shape us in negative ways and other times they shape us in very positive ways.  We also are not locked into the shape that has been created.  We always have the opportunity to remold ourselves by choices we make and actions we take.  However, I find a lot more positive shaping than negative shaping in my life. I also have learned that it is important to recognize any negative shaping that has occurred and deal with it in a way that neutralizes that shaping.

The other revelation that I had through my process yesterday was realizing how important it is to take down those boxes, open them up, and examine their contents more often.  I can honestly say that many of the boxes containing these valuable treasures have not been opened in over ten years.  My eyes have not gazed upon those pictures often enough.  My mind has not captured those words written and expressed often enough.  I have failed to take enough opportunities to be grateful for those people and events that have shaped my lives.  These are mistakes that I am vowing not to make again.


Posted July 10, 2013 by thoughtfulbeliever in Experiences, Life

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Junk or Treasure   Leave a comment

Flag Dumpster

Flag Dumpster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week I rented a dumpster.  The project for the week is to clean out the basement and some of the garage.  There seems to have accumulated over twenty years of possessions down there.  So yesterday the dumpster arrived and I spent a few hours working on the new project.  As I was working away, a few thoughts came to mind:

1.  Why do we collect so many possessions?  It is truly amazing how possessions pile up.  Some of the items that I ran across were things that are no longer being used but since there wasn’t a plan to dispose of them, they ended up being taken to the basement and forgotten about.  As I was looking at the first room to be cleared out, I was reminded of many passages from the Bible:  

                      – Matthew 6:25-34  Worrying about the need for possessions.

                      – Matthew 6:19-24  Storing up treasures

                      – Matthew 19:16-24  Possessions can be a stumbling block in our faith walk

2.  What is the definition of a treasure?  It amazes me the things that I have chosen to keep over the years.  Some of those items I look at now and define as junk and can easily throw them away.  Other items I look at as something to treasure and refuse to get rid of them.  I think for me, the key is if they hold some emotional or sentimental value to me.  If there is a connection there, I keep the item.

3.  How do material items tell a story?  As I was going through items in the first room, I was amazed how by holding something a story would come to mind.  I might remember who gave the item and the reason for it being given.  I might remember where the item was purchased and what was happening at the time.  I might recall an event in life that was somehow connected to the item.  There appeared to be history that was told in some of the items that I encountered.  The stories continued or were recalled because of the item.

So while there is a very practical reason for working on this project, there is a reflective aspect that I was not expecting.  I think it is good to have those times in life when we are unexpectedly taken into reflection.  It is good to take time to clean out the store rooms which contain pieces of our past and to remember and evaluate.

While I am not looking forward to the work that lies ahead for me with this project, I am looking forward to the discoveries that occur along the way.  Who knows, my reflection may lead to more posts this week.