I Remember Sunday: God’s Special Gift of Memories

Van and I started packing with a vengeance today. Of course, many things hold memories-a special gift from God. They bring joy, mostly. One of the things I tucked into a box was a notebook titled, A Garden of Memories for Momfull of poems and stories I wrote in honor of her seventieth birthday. This week marks six months since Mom went home to Jesus. I miss her every day. And since it’s Sunday, I remember our traditional Sunday afternoon dinners, family time. Precious memories and traditions that often get passed on to future generations.

I Remember Mom Cooking the Sauce

I remember every Sunday, Mom poured the tomatoes into the dull, gray pot, and squished them between her fingers. She crushed basil leaves in the palm of her hand, sprinkling them into the tomatoes. Then she shook a few flakes of crushed red pepper, stirred everything together, and covered the sauce with a lid. By the time we left for church, the rich, red sauce bubbled on the stove. As we walked out the door, Mom turned down the blue gas flame so it simmered gently all morning.

I Remember Joe’s Italian Store

I remember every Sunday, we stopped at Joe’s Italian Store on our way home from church. As soon as we opened the door, the aroma of cheese, lasagna, salami, and pepperoni greeted us. We stood and examined the ten cent candy bars, knowing we could each have one. While we chose our treat, Mom talked to Joe. She chose the pasta we took home for dinner and a loaf of unsliced Italian Twist, covered with sesame seeds. Sometimes we needed a pound of Romano cheese, which Joe grated with his big, shiny machine.

“See you next week,” we told Joe on our way out the door.

I Remember Helping Mom

I remember every Sunday, we walked through the back door. Mom dropped the brown bag from Joe’s on the kitchen counter and changed from her Sunday dress before she came back to the kitchen. She lifted the lid of the simmering sauce pot, and the steam filled the whole kitchen with the smell of the red, bubbling sauce. She tasted the sauce, then added meat balls, sausage, spareribs and braciole. Even though she covered the pot again, the smell of the sauce permeated the house for the rest of the afternoon.

I remember every Sunday, Mom asked me to fill the cheese container. If I found the small rectangle of unrated cheese Joe left on top of the white mountain of finely grated Romano, I popped it into my mouth and savored the sharp tang that spread over my tongue. Mom never made me share that deliciousness with anyone else.

I remember every Sunday, Mom called me into the kitchen to help set the table for dinner. She put the pasta of the week–spaghetti, shells, ziti, bow-ties, stove pipes–on a plate and topped it with the thick, red sauce. I carried each plate to the table. Then she filled a huge platter with the meat, and I added a basket of the sliced Italian twist, the salad, and the cheese container. Daddy, Mom, Keith, Robyn, and I sat in our places around the table and bowed our heads. “God is great; God is good; let us thank Him for our food. Amen.”

I Remember Learning from Mom

I remember every Sunday, Mom let us drink Coca-Cola instead of milk. The fizzy bubbles tickled my tongue, throat and nose as I swallowed the sweet, icy cold, brown liquid. I savored every swallow; there wouldn’t be more until the next Sunday.

I ate my Sunday dinner like Mom–pasta first, then we dipped our bread into the sauce still on our plates. Finally we ate salad and meat. Sometimes I’d enjoy a second piece of bread, dipping the crust into the salad bowl to relish the tart vinegar that soaked into the bread.

I remember every Sunday, Mom moved back into the kitchen. She poured any left over sauce into a glass jar and added any left over meat. “It’s good starter for next week,” she said. Then she’d put the pasta she cooked for our German Shepherd, Schatzi, in her bowl. Finally, Mom took some time to rest in the family room with Daddy while Robyn and I finished the dishes.

I remember every day of the week, Mom made us feel loved and special with her delicious meals and loving care.

Family memories hold joy. They shape us and our favorite traditions get passed on to future generations.

What are traditions you cherish? Memories you hold dear?

Linking this week with God-sized Dreams Moments of Hope Glimpses of Beauty, Monday Musings, Inspire Me Monday, Ra Ra Linkup, Trekking Thru, Tell His Story, Writer Wednesday, Woman to Woman, Porch Stories, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, Heart Encouragement, Tune-in Thursday, Salt and Light

Participate in Life: My Retirement To Try List

Adding a To Try List to My Life

Try

Today, I feel officially retired. Because today is the second day I didn’t go to work. No sitting in meetings, watching the clock, thinking about all the other things I should be doing to get my classroom ready for Monday’s first day of school. Instead of a list of things to duplicate, check, plan, I have a Retirement To Try List. Things I hope to try now that my days don’t include working.

I spent much of my summer getting my feet wet with how I want to behave during retirement. My first retirement adventure involved trying water aerobics-something I never thought I’d do. A planner at heart, I gave spontaneity a try when my daughter invited me to go with her for a weekend in the mountains. The joy of that experience encourages me to try spontaneity more often.

Retirement To Try List-So Far

As Van and I prepare to move, we discuss what to keep and what to give and throw away. We plan where our furniture belongs, the style of window coverings, whether we need a new refrigerator. We’re also talking about new things we want to try as newly retired people.

  • Kayaking-Prescott has several lakes, and since we both love the water, we want to make kayaking part of our life. Kayaking isn’t really new, since we’ve done it before, but we hope to buy a kayak and spend time out on the lake on a regular basis. On our last visit, we kayaked with Judy and David and loved every minute.

Try List

  • Ballroom Dancing-Judy and David took us to two concerts; one at the old opera house and one in the town square. At both events, we watched people get out of their seats and dance. Even though I may not have much rhythm, I want to seize the moment and participate in life instead of merely being a spectator.
  • Bike riding-It’s been a long time since I rode a bike. Van and I used to do a small amount of bike riding in the early years of our marriage. We hope to make biking in our beautiful new city a regular part of our life. Of course, we have to start with circling the driveway until we build up enough stamina, but we have all the time there is!

Whether you’re retired or not, seize the moment! Start a to try list. And then, act on it. 

What’s on your to try list?

Linking with Five Minute Friday, Grace and Truth, Counting My Blessings

 

 

Do I Depend on God as Much as My iPhone?

Realizing How Much I Depend on My Phone

I lost my iPhone yesterday afternoon. Ouch. I left it in the restroom at Von’s. It took less than ten minutes for me to realize I didn’t have it, emptying my purse three times and patting my pockets over and over. As soon as I knew it was definitely gone, I raced back, muttering reassurances. It’s Ok, I told myself. A locked bathroom, needing the florist to use a code to open the door; it’ll be there.

But it wasn’t. “A lot of people were in there,” the florist told me. “Try the front desk.”

No phone turned in.

Even though I knew I used it in Von’s, after all, I used the Von’s app to check off my list while I shopped, I trotted down to Office Depot. Just in case.

No phone there either.

Suddenly I realized just how much I depend on my phone. My whole life is on there. Precious photos of family, contacts, calendar, email, my joy/gratitude journal, and on and on. I’m sure you know. Obviously, I couldn’t live without my phone.

Next stop, Verizon. I hoped maybe they could ping it, help me find it. Of course not. That only works on TV. “Nobody turns in iPhones,” Maria, my customer service rep said. “They’re too valuable.”

And so, I take a deep breath, and do the only thing I can. Buy a new phone. It takes a long time to set up a new phone and without it, I felt helpless. I couldn’t even call Van to tell him I’d be late.

Without my phone, I felt incomplete, inefficient, a little lost. I needed it to do daily business successfully. As I sat and waited for my new phone to be get ready, I couldn’t help but wonder, Do I depend on God as much as I do my phone? 

Depend on God

I can lose my phone, but I never have to be without God; He is always present and longs to be with me. But I can ignore Him. Turn Him to silent. I must choose to draw near to God. Before I do anything else, I need to set the tone of the day by spending time in His Word and talking to Him in prayer. I can’t leave Him at home, sitting on my desk, waiting for my return. He goes wherever I go, as long as I keep my eyes fixed on Him. Depend on Him.

 

There was nothing I could do to speed up the process of setting up my phone.  All I could do was wait for it to finish loading. Impatience added angst. Without my phone, I couldn’t do anything except wait. I didn’t want to, but I had no choice. I can’t hurry God, either. His timing is perfect, and I can’t rush Him. The only way to true peace is to completely depend on His perfect timing.

Linking today with Writer Wednesday, Woman to Woman, Porch Stories, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, Heart Encouragement, Tune-in Thursday, Salt and Light  Faith on Fire, Fresh Market Friday, Dance with Jesus

Priceless Treasure: God’s Word Sustains You

God’s Word Sustains Me

The fact of retirement starts to become real as I see Instagram and Facebook posts of former colleagues putting up bulletin boards. Not me. For the first time in thirty-five years, I don’t need to struggle with butcher paper, welcome signs, supply lists this year. Some people wonder if boredom may become a problem. I don’t worry about that; I never needed work for my reason to get up and go. The priceless treasure of God’s Word, the one and only thing that truly sustains me I have with me at all times.

Instead of racing out the door at 6:30, I sit at my desk with my coffee cup, Bible, and computer for a leisurely morning with Jesus. I don’t have to watch the clock; instead I can spend as much time as I want. Reading. Meditating. Talking to my Lord. Listening.

Sustains

Currently, I’m doing a study on the Names of God. This week the focus is on shepherd. And the passage I read is familiar, Psalm 23. I can say the words without reading them in my Bible. But I don’t rush; I savor each word.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

The Good Shepherd Sustains All My Needs

Retirement does bring some unknowns. Especially as we prepare to leave the family and friends who have sustained us for all of our married lives. As I read the familiar words, He reminds me of Who He is and sustains me.

The Lord is my shepherd. He cares and provides all I need. That includes my physical needs. I can rest in the assurance that He will take care of everything. No matter what happens in the uncharted water of retirement and moving, I don’t need to worry.

Most importantly, He restores my soul. Because of Christ’s love and care, I am on the path of righteousness. It’s only through Christ that I am righteous, washed clean. But I must follow Christ; I can’t go off on my own. The sheep listen for the voice of the shepherd and follow Him. When I follow the shepherd, His goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life, and I dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

That promise alone sustains me.

God’s Word sustains you, too. Spend time with Him, mining the priceless treasure of Scripture. What favorite Scriptures sustain you-in good times and hard ones? Let the Truth of His love wash over you as you spend time savoring all His Word holds.

Linking this week with Glimpses of Beauty, Monday Musings, Inspire Me Monday, Ra Ra Linkup, Trekking Thru, Tell His Story, Writer Wednesday, Woman to Woman, Porch Stories, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, Heart Encouragement, Tune-in Thursday, Salt and Light

Three Ways to Get Inspired

Van and I spent four days in Arizona looking at our in-construction new home this week.  The daily pictures my sister-in-love faithfully sends show every detail of the work completed, and inspired us; we wanted to walk through the rooms and see for ourselves.

More importantly, a friend suggested we write a favorite Bible verse as a couple on the beam over the doorway to our new home. “You’ll know it’s always there,” she said. We loved the idea and chose several verses to write throughout the house, but didn’t make it in time. Instead, we decided to write our verses on the foundation. And we knew if we didn’t get there soon, our opportunity would vanish.

We spent an afternoon together, taking turns writing verses on the foundation of the house and praying each one together. Once we move in, we hope to regularly read the verses in each area and pray we faithfully live for God in this home He provided us.

Sometimes we all could stand a little help getting inspired instead of being stuck in a rut or feeling discouraged. But you don’t have to wait for inspiration to strike out of nowhere. Seek it in these three ways.

Ways to Get Inspired
  • Read and pray God’s Word. Nothing inspires like reading God’s Word. We can find direction, His promises, and evidence of how He faithfully works in our lives without fail. Ephesians 5:19 tells us to encourage one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making music in our hearts to the Lord.
  • Take good advice from friends. Van and I loved the idea of dedicating our home to God and His Kingdom. First, we spent time individually choosing verses we wanted to pray. Then we shared those verses and prayed together. While we may have put up a plaque somewhere in the house, we didn’t think of making the Scripture part of the its foundation. Thank you, Karen Lochte for your idea.

Get Inspired

  • Read books, articles, blog posts. As we get ready to move, we’re thinking ahead to a new community. I have a stack of books I’m reading to give me ideas about reaching out to the people in my new neighborhood. Because I want to glorify God, I’m finding inspiration in books like The Turquoise Table by Krisin Schell as well as her blog and Craving Connection from (in)courage. I look forward to meeting new friends on my front porch.

We all need to get inspired sometimes. What helps you be inspired? Leave a comment sharing how you get inspired.

Linking with Five Minute Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire, Dance with Jesus, Counting My Blessings