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Archive for the ‘Reminiscing’ Category

Mom October 2003

Today, my mom has been gone for 10 years.

As I remember her, I try not to dwell on that long heart-wrenching day we knew would be her last.  I want to focus on her person and on her presence in my life. At the time she left us, I was a stay-at-home mom of upper elementary to high school children, now most of my children have flown the nest, establishing lives and families of their own.  Now I am the grandma. I am sorry for so many missed opportunities, but so grateful for mom’s continuing influences in my life.

She rose from a difficult childhood, raised by a loved aunt because of a mostly-absentee mother, separated from her only brother, and never knowing her father. She married a farm boy and made a home for her family that she, herself, never experienced as a girl. She was a complex, sometimes strong woman who lived a (not always quiet) life of self-giving service to her family and was cheerleader for her daughters in their dreams and pursuits.

The hole she has left is felt in each of our hearts, but the bounty she sowed is reaped in the lives of her children and grandchildren.

Rock Me to Sleep

Backward, turn backward, O time in thy flight,
Make me a child again just for tonight.
Mother, come back from the echoless shore,
Take me again to your heart as of yore.
Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care,
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair.
Over my slumbers, your loving watch keep,
Rock me to sleep, Mother, rock me to sleep.

Over my heart in days that are flown,
No love like mother-love ever was shown.
No other care abides and endures,
Faithful, unselfish, and careful like yours.
None like a mother can charm away pain
From the sick soul and the world-weary brain.
Slumber’s soft calm o’er my heavy lids creep,
Rock me to sleep, Mother, rock me to sleep.

Mother, dear mother, the years have been long
Since I last hushed to your lullaby song.
Sing, then, and unto my soul it shall seem
Womanhood’s years have been only a dream.
Clasped to your heart in a loving embrace
With your light lashes just sweeping my face.
Never, hereafter, to wake or to week,
Rock me to sleep, Mother, rock me to sleep.

~Elizabeth Akers Allen

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Richard Dick Young obit

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good…” (Luke 6:45).

On November 23, 2013, the world lost a dear soul when Dana’s uncle Richard “Dick” Young was translated from this life to his heavenly eternal home.  What a day of celebration we had as we rejoiced to know Uncle Dick was in the very presence of the Father he’d never set eyes upon, but loved so very much.

Many, many stories of this good man were related that day resulting in a wonderful composite of a man who loved and served his family and his fellowmen.  Uncle Dick was a hard-working and gifted metal engineer.  He loved music and had an evangelistic heart for the lost, working with both Child Evangelism Fellowship and the Gideons.  He served his country in two wars—Korea and on the front lines in World War II.  He was a man resistant to personal pride who directed any praise he received back to his Creator.  He was also a man of prayer and devotion who rarely failed to turn a conversation toward the Lover of his soul.  

Truly, I need more, not less, godly, good influences in my life.  Uncle Dick will be missed by many for a while until our great reunion.  There was one phrase shared at his funeral that summed up this noble life and allowed us to grieve, but not as others who have no hope.  It was the reminder that Uncle Dick had waited his whole life for that day.  What a pleasure it must be to finally arrive home after so many years of sojourning in foreign lands.  No wonder “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).

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Jodie and Kim snip
The daughter of my dear friend was married today.  It was a beautiful fall day, a beautiful wedding.  Although I’ve had the happy blessing of participating in my own daughter’s wedding, there is something to being outside of the hustle and bustle of hosting and being able to observe and celebrate… and remember.

Jodie and I met our senior year in high school where we were thrown together in a retro singing group, The Velvetones, singing songs from the 30’s and 40’s.  In college she invited me to live with her for a semester on campus.  She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and six months later, I in hers.  She and her husband moved away to the Northwest for schooling, but after, made their way back home.  They had two daughters who were in the same classes as my two sons at the same school Jodie and I attended.  And now we are watching our children pick up where we began as they find and make their own ways in the world.

We have laughed and cried and counseled and encouraged each other over parenting, parents, marriage, our work, our walk (both spiritual and physical), life, and death, the future, the past, the present… all of it.  We don’t get together near enough, but she is in my heart at all times, she helps me want to be a better person, and she is the fragrance of Christ to me, always.

The opening stanza of Robert Brownings’ poem, “Rabbi ben Ezra” is generally applied these days to wedded love, and no wonder.  The now famous courtship letters written between Browning and his future wife, the poetess Elizabeth Barrett, expose Robert as an articulate romantic.  I, too, embrace the stanza for Dana and me, primarily as it looks to future grace and yields itself to a sovereign God.  But might we not spare just a bit to apply to all our life-long relationships, whether friend or family?  If so, I extend it, this evening, to my dear friend.

Who knew back then, what God would make of us?  Who knows today, what will come our way?  But we trust in our God who revealed himself to us in our youth and who plans our beginnings and our endings.  Thank you for your friendship, dear Jodie.  I am blessed to have you in my life.

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid.”

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My dear mom set the standard for me.  Her home was always clean and tidy.  Unfortunately I learned the standard, but did not learn the system.  Her clean house was very important to her (and I’m grateful I grew up with order), but it wasn’t always easy for the rest of us to attain.

My two sisters and I learned how to work while growing up.  In fact, I fear I was not as skilled as my parents at holding my own children to a regular schedule of work; meaningful work that would have benefited the family and eased the load on my husband and I.  In my heart I longed to develop this, but in practice, I was not consistent.

My sisters and I had regular chores that were expected of us.  We laugh (and marvel) today at our after-dinner routine.  My mom would not even say a word; she would just get up and remove herself to the living room, her hard work done for the day.  My sisters and I knew then that the kitchen was ours to clean.  We created our own systems of what was fair in regard to who did what jobs, but we knew the standard and would not dream of leaving the kitchen until the work was done to our mom’s expectations.

During summers my dad carefully left a list of jobs on the counter for us girls before he left for work.  These were outside jobs on our 10-acre truck and hobby farm.  We knew they needed to be done before he got home that evening, but more accurately they needed to be done before we did anything of our own choosing that day.  We laugh (now) about the hard nature of many of these outside jobs that my dad required of us, but acknowledge that we usually rose to the occasion and in the process learned life-long work skills and unwittingly had our character developed in the process.

It is a great regret of mine that I lacked courage, creativity, and intentionality in equipping my own children with a similar skill set.  I did not give them consistent opportunities to do hard things for the benefit of the family, thereby leaving to chance the development of that sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes from a day’s work done and done well.  Who knows, perhaps this teaching will skip a generation and somehow my children will acquire what I lacked to teach and train their own children; that they would expect of them meaningful, regular jobs to the benefit of the child himself and to the family as a whole (see June 14 and 15 posts).

Well, while my sisters and I did our outside jobs, mom was working hard managing her housework and her gardens.  Unfortunately, this meant we did not learn her system for effective housekeeping.  What’s more, early in my marriage, I rejected the critical model my mom had employed which brought about results, but made for a rather uptight family, always sure we were not meeting the standard.

Expectedly, I floundered in my housekeeping.  I maintained my home with a lick and a prayer, putting out fires rather than being systematic.  I was suffering from an impossible standard with no tools to attack my duties in a logical, manageable manner.  Later I learned that I was suffering from a condition called C.H.A.O.S—Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome!  You can maybe imagine, then, how it seemed the clouds lifted and the birds and angels began singing when I stumbled upon a website that would finally give me hope and direction.

It is this website I will introduce in my next post.

 

[Illustration: We Help Mommy, Eloise Wilkin, c. 1959, Random House, Inc.]

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