Today is July 5. The day after the celebration of Independence for the US, but for me it is a fun remembered day as it was my dad’s birthday.
I remembered his favorite cake was a caramel cake – I think it was a white cake with a caramel type icing. And we also had a few left over fireworks along with the long standing hamburgers on the grill. He had this neat contraption that held all burgers in a wire grid and a handle and you could flip them all at the same time. I thought it was fabulous but have never seen another one.
The many fun trips we made on the rivers of Florida in our boat have wonderful memories as well. Was he perfect? No, far from it but at some time you just have to let the negative crap go and focus on the great memories. And although each child has a different remembrance of their time with their parents, you can generally hang on to a few of the great fun times and let that be the memory to hold fast to. For me there were a lot. I was the youngest so I actually got to spend more fun time with my dad that my siblings. So this day, his birthday, I honor him even though cancer took him from us over 20 years ago.
This is the smile I remember in a place he loved the best, our house in Florida. Happy Birthday Daddy. You are still greatly loved.
Remember how much a smile can make you smile and smile often. It is contagious, so smile and be kind.
The fun and joy of being a grandparent should never be taken lightly. Families who hold to the bonds of family love through the rough times are the families who survive the whimsical nonsense of the coming generations. It shows them the importance as they grow that those with strong values of family, memories and grandparents helps the entire family stand firm.
I never really knew my fathers parents as he was the youngest of a large family and I was the youngest of our four, so by the time I was old enough to understand grandparents, they were both gone. But I did enjoy many fun memories with my mother’s parents. My grandfather was a farmer & a gasoline truck driver. And my grandmother was a school teacher. She was well loved by many through her years of teaching and I wrote a post about her in December if anyone cares to read that one as well. I remember the funny stories she and Buckshot(my grandfather’s nickname) would tell us about our cousins that I had never met who had other interesting nicknames like “Catgal”. I would love to know the stories behind the many funny nicknames of my ancestors.
Below are the pictures of both of my grandmothers, maybe later I will do a post on my grandfathers.
The is Lottie with Brownie, per pride and joy.
Some families do not have the luxury of sharing the memories of their ancestors. Some families who do not have that loving relationship or members who can’t feel that love from their family members are families that tend to disintegrate and scatter away from each other. It is a very sad phenomenon that I saw happen in my own family with my siblings from strained relationships or actions that can shatter a family. I also have this same type of disconnect with my own children where their relationships were severely strained as children and then as as young adults, my work scattered us 1000 miles from each other not allowing for a reconnect. I have grandchildren I have never held while the older ones have no real clue who I am other than a vague memory. It is a terrible thing to happen to a family. As my youngest told me, we never felt like we were a family due to all the disconnects, anger and frustrations we had. It ever reminds me just how fragile this life can be. But I am trying to fix that and hope that by year end, all strained relationships can at least be on the road to being mended.
This week Nancy Merrill challenged us with a photo of the week as grandparents. It rang true with me as I am trying to get better reconnected with my boys.
So I challenge all who read this to understand the values of all members of the family and to make all efforts to maintain as much of that family bond as possible and to make a connection whenever possible. Even those who fight it, they really don’t want to be left out in the cold. So try to reach out.
And in closing as I remind my readers – try to always be kind. It reflects the very love of God.
There is so much sadness in this word today. So many broken promises, so many hurts both physically and mentally but I cling desperately to the spiritual truth of God’s love for me and all of mankind and of course for His creation with all its components. He said after creating the world at the beginning that it was good.
And it was meant for good but alas, it failed due to the weakness of man and the trickery of the evil one. It failed due to the misunderstanding and distrust of man of God. It failed because man forgot the first love. Not our first love that we remember but we have forgotten that HE loved us first.
So many have become so complacent with the world that God is no longer even in their picture. Then they question those of us who still hang on to God’s hand and His love for us asking “WHY??”. My answer to them is…
I would rather live my life fully believing in a God that loves me, will take care of me, will guide me in all ways but when I go to die, only to realize the belief I encourage myself and others of the joy and peace we felt through our entire lives was only our imagination and none of our beliefs were true and once you are dead its over….. Than to live my life not thinking anything about a God that loves me, throwing all of my life and cares to the wind and doing everything that pleased only me, never thinking of the harm or discord I brought to anyone or anything else, then to die and realize in horror that I was wrong. There was in fact a loving God who loved me and cared for me and now…it is too late for me and I am lost forever.
That would be the saddest scenario that I can imagine. May we all strive to believe that there is a just, loving and compassionate God who left us an instruction book called the Bible to guide us in any way that we need, to help us face our toughest day, and to show us how to feel the joy of His peace that he offers us through His grace to all of His creation and that He does dearly love us.
And may we remember to reflect His love by showing the kindness He so heavily graces us with so that we in turn we can give it to those who have forgotten His ways and maybe bring them a smile and a hope of His love for them.
Those who read my post know that I push kindness. There have been many a boiling cauldron that has been extinguished by kindness showing a better way to resolve a hot mess.
This summer, I have been hired by the city to participate in the park parties that they will have in various parts of the city, a total of 7 parties. There was live music, food vendors, games setup, the city officials were there to answer any question people may have and even the library people were there setup explaining about their summer program. Then there was me, the face painter – hey we made the newspaper. Cool.
I have been face painting since early 2000s and do it more for the fun of it than to make money. Don’t get me wrong, you can make some serious money if you get real good but that is not my focus. I charge enough to buy more paint because I buy the professional stuff which isn’t cheap, but safer to use.
If you see that yellow paper behind my young model, those are the 6 faces I would paint for this particular party. They will change each party. This model is getting a jaguar face. They really don’t care how great it is, they just want to play – so lets play. I will post some periodically through the summer so you can see how much fun we are having.
OK, so there is a story behind the title and I am getting there. This neighborhood is close to my church so I am familiar with some of the kids as I have done other functions at this park. There is a home of mentally and physically challenged that we have done things with so I knew some of the guys(adults) that were in line to get their face painted. The first guy came in and could talk real well and wanted the 3 horned dinosaur. He loved it and I chuckled with him as he laughed in the mirror. The next guy was in a wheel chair but could walk a little. So they got him up and helped him get into the face paint chair. His right arm was drawn in and not usable but his left arm was good and with that arm he pointed to his shirt. He had on a power ranger shirt. I don’t like doing the super heroes as they are BORING in face paint but for him, sure. So we did the red power ranger. He could not speak but could hear and understand very well and he was super excited on how well his face looked. He tapped his chest in a gesture of him loving it and I patted his hand and told him I was glad, and he smiled. They got him back in his chair and I went to the next child. But before I could get started good, I heard the guy from the wheel chair come beside my booth. His caretaker said “He wants you to have his star.” I asked her if he had made it and she said yes and showed me all the things he carried with him that he had made. I almost cried. I told him thank you and to come back to see me. Here is the star.
My whole point in this post is to remind everyone to never pass on an opportunity to be kind and gentle. No small act of kindness is ever wasted. I have always believed this but this was an opportunity where God affirmed just how much kindness matters. So always be kind.
Picture a favorite beach scene. You are sitting relaxed in the loose sand dunes just above the beach. The sun has warmed the sand and it tickles as it shifts through your toes. The sound of the turf is melodic as it pounds on the beach. The seagulls are calling each other as they slowly fly through the gentle breeze, that same breeze that brushes across your face. You inhale and you can almost taste the salt of the warm sea air that you are smelling.
Not big on the beach? Then picture the soft tranquility of a mountain stream. You are sitting on a felled tree that is now becoming a bench for anyone on the trail. The stream beside you is bubbling along the rocks as it heads though the forest to the nearest river. The clean air is as refreshing and clear as the water in the stream is cold to the taste. In front of you off in the distance are the mountains, maybe their tops are dusted with snow. The sweet smell of the evergreens is pungent and reminds you of Christmas. Over head a lone eagle floats with little movement as he soars of the updrafts.
Maybe you are not a nature lover? Maybe your enjoyment comes with an evening of dinner and beautiful music at an outdoor park. The smells of various foods wafting in the air mixed with warm summer night as the stars slowly begin to show their presence. Soft conversations with strangers around you creates friendships of similar interest. The orchestra or band is warming up their instruments for a night of expected pleasures.
Then picture this…..
You are sitting in a dark room.
There is no sound because you are deaf…
There is nothing to see because you are blind…
There is little to smell if anything because you have no reference to what smell is…
There is little to touch as your body has no sense of feel due to being paralyzed.
Senses…Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste & Touch…Gifts from God for us to enjoy His mighty creation. If all of your sense are working, praise God and enjoy these gifts. If you know those who are missing one or more of these senses, then share with them the beauty of what they don’t have so that through the senses that they do have working, they can get a glimpse of its beauty.
And remember as you enjoy your gifts, to share the joy that they bring you with others in hopes they may understand the beauty of it and share it themselves with others. And always remember to be kind. Kindness is enveloped in all of there gifts.
After reading the scifihammy post this afternoon about a Fiscal Shrike bird she likes, she also made the comment of it having the reputation of being a bit of a bully. I looked on-line to see how many birds are considered mean and was shocked at how many there were. I have one in my yard that I run off when it gets on the feeder because it bullies the other birds and is known to destroy the other bird’s nest and break their eggs. My bully is the European Starling – taking survival of the fittest to the next level I guess.
The iridescent coloring really is remarkable. But I was surprised that one of the meanest birds is a bird I have been familiar with all my life – also a beautifully marked bird, the Red Winged Blackbird, known also for its loud mouth.
I saw a story with a video of an adult killing one of its young. I didn’t watch the video. I know this world is broken and meanness is abounding but I don’t want to watch it on purpose. But I remember back to a couple of stories written on the meanness of birds, like Edgar A. Poe’s poetry or Alfred Hitchcock’s movie. Such a tiny creature in the grand scheme of things.
This is a true visual representation of just how broken this world is. We see the large animals in Africa fighting and we are kind of accepting of that but I don’t think we realize birds are just a smaller version of wildlife where the survival of the fittest reigns.
That was not God’s initial intent. Not that I have any clue as to what God really thinks but I believe in my inner most part that meanness was not on His agenda. That came from that other “being” trying to discredit all the good that was created for its beauty and enjoyment by his lies and trickery.
So I remind you even more the importance of kindness shared throughout your world, to man and beast alike. Will the beasts understand what you are doing? Not at first but in time, repeated kindness is always remembered. Will man understand your kindness without thinking you have an ulterior motive? Maybe not but be kind anyway. Kindness is a reflection of God’s love and a shimmering hope of better things to come. Be the good example of trying to show unbrokenness in a broken world and always be kind.
This morning I created a post about our love for our pets and made the comment that some dogs are smarter than some people. Now I am not saying that some people are stupid, but I am saying a lot of people don’t think about what they are doing which makes us call them stupid. I also made the comment that I didn’t have a picture explaining that phenomenon…now I do! And I thought I would share, mostly because this is the second time in two weeks this has happened. Really?!?
Last week was even more…interesting…as a big ole truck hit the bridge, put on his flashers as a warning because he was now attached to the bridge…got run into from behind…because basically he was a parked truck…really?!!?
Yea…dogs seem smarter than some people.
So remember while it is not kind to say people are stupid, it is not unkind to say people don’t think two feet of where they are going. So extra kindness needs to go forth to some people…to keep you from slapping them. God can only do so much when we refuse to use the intelligence he gave us.
So let us work extra hard at being kind especially when you have to shake your head. Some people really need it.