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Posts Tagged ‘FAMILY’

I remember those days of grade twelve, my senior year of high school, facing that, almost daily, question,

What do you want to do after high school?

My response was always quick, always confident … for fear that a delay in my response would give my true response away.

Although I was not embarrassed by my dream, I knew it would not be received with seriousness or respect. I knew it would be viewed as archaic, uninspiring or a waste of a mind.

My future dreams were reserved for something rather … common.

What I dreamed of for my future was marriage and children. All that I knew that I wanted to be was a wife and mom.

Now, twenty-odd years later, I can look back with satisfaction and pleasure that my original, primal dream came true.

There has been no other more challenging, thrilling or educational experience!

Today is, in some Canadian provinces, Family Day. Family Day was created to give specific time for families to be together … it also just happens to fall about the midpoint of New Years Day and Easter, giving the break of a day off for many.

Of families, Pope John Paul XXIII said,

“The family is the first essential cell of human society.”

Though families are many different shapes and sizes, they usually share two similarities, blood and love.

Blood, being the biological connection point, and love, that invisible thing with is so obvious when present (and when absent).

Ironically, it is those two elements, of blood and love, which bring us into the biggest family of all … that being the family of God.

Jesus Christ, in John 3:34-35, tells us,

“A new commandment I give to you,
that you love one another:
just as I have loved you,
you are also to love one another.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”

May we all celebrate our families, and celebrate them with great love.

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I love Christmas eve!

I love Christmas morning!

All of the the traditions of Christmas that our family have been able to hold onto, over the years, are tied up in those two days.

My favorite, though, is Christmas morning, after the chaos of days of parties, church services, shopping, baking and wrapping. It is after the breakfast is nibbled, and the gifts are unwrapped, and then quiet contentment fills the room. I often have thought that in that moment, I have the nearest understanding of what peace on Earth might be like. It is like we are bathed in thankfulness that only Christ’s love can create.

It is in those moments that family is truly celebrated, that friends are truly celebrated, that Christmas is truly celebrated.

As you celebrate in the next few days and hours to come, take a moment and just soak in the moments, soak in the love, soak in the birth of the Christ child.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

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This is the first post in a series, about a woman named Amara. It started as an idea for a short story, and it grew as I grew to love this fictional character. There are 20 parts on my site (linked at the bottom of each segment). This summer I have been re-posting from my first year of blogging, so as to avail my writing time to working on the completion of this story, hopefully in book form. I’d love to know what you think.
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As Amara sat behind the steering wheel of her car she got increasingly frustrated.

She looked around her empty front passenger seat for clues as to why she might have driven to this professional building, in the middle of her small town. She could not remember why she drove there, all that she could remember was steering her Oldsmobile into this parking lot. It was as if in turning her wheels towards the lot, her purpose for being there had disappeared completely from her memory.

She tried to look around, hoping to see if something around her might twig her memory as to why she had driven there. Nothing sparked her memory.

Maybe if she retraced her steps, but all she could remember was the moment her front tires turned into this parking lot. ‘Oh, what is happening to me? I cannot even remember any other part of my day, and here it is already eleven in the morning!’ The last thing that Amara could remember was climbing into her bed the night before.

That memory was vivid. The striped bedsheets had felt cool on her skin, as she had climbed into her side of the bed. Her side of the bed … after almost ten years of living without him, she still had her own side of the bed. She started every night there, and she would awaken in the morning, never having passed the invisible center line of the mattress. Once, having given herself a talking to, she purposefully lay in the very middle of the bed … and awoke the next morning where she always awoke, on her side of the bed.

As she pondered thoughts of him Amara’s anxious heart ached for his presence, for his companionship, for his wisdom and laughter in frustrating circumstances like this one. He had a way of seeing a lighter side to the tough stuff of life, and he had a way of lightening any anxiety that she was feeling.

But, he was not here with her, and Amara sat feeling more and more frightened. She wanted to let the tears that were filling her eyes fall down her cheeks, but that would be ludicrous for a woman of seventy-two crying like a baby where anyone could see her.

There must be a sensible reason for this odd bout of forgetfulness …

Unfading – Part 2

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My favorite song from Sesame Street is playing in my head …

When I was a kid (and an avid Sesame Street show watcher), I was convinced that it was about my family. We, too, had a sister (that’s me), and two brothers, and a mother and a pop.

And now, as an adult, and mom, we have five people in our family. We have TWO sisters, and a brother, and a mother (that’s me), and a pop. And there’s not one of them I’d swap (most of the time … lets face it, we are all so very human)!

It will be an interesting summer, with our daughter working at a camp for kids with cancer, our son spending most of his summer at a camp on work crew and our other daughter traveling, as well as volunteering for a week at a camp. It will be a rare thing this summer for all five of us to be all together.

All together is a beautiful place to be. I love all of the members in our family (not always do we ‘like’ each other, but we do ‘love’ each other).

But then there are times like … oh, maybe when all five of us are in a hot car without air conditioning (for almost three bloody hours), on a day when the temperature is well over 40 degrees … then I think of swapping (or at least opening the door and pushing someone out) … not that we have experienced that … just sayin’.

There’s about four and a half years between our first two, and one would think that there are too many years between them to have anything to argue about … not true. Then we had our son two years after daughter number two, and one would think being opposite genders would make it easier for them to live together … not true. Then hubby and I, well we chose each other, couldn’t wait to get married (vowed to love, and honor, and blah, blah, blah), surely we could co-habitate peacefully … no comment!

Whatever the number, whatever the make-up of ones family, the presence of conflict, and pressure, and frustrations, along with a need for individual ‘space’ (and I’m not talking the final frontier) are going to live along within that family unit.

Sometimes, I think pre-arranged marriages are a brilliant idea … at least then we could have someone to blame (other than ourselves) for the frustrations one might have with their spouse … not that I have any frustrations with mine, of course. Heck, what am I saying we do blame our inlaws for the flaws in our spouses anyway … not that I would, of course.

But flaws abound in every relationship, in every individual, in every family. We all have those times when we are riding the ship of smooth sailing, and then, like a bowl full of bad clams, the nasties come back up.

And, that’s just life.

But spending the time working through those nasties, together

… that’s just family.

And,

“there are five people in my family,

and there’s not one of them I’d swap”

(most of the time 😉  )

 

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As I contemplate today about the first family, I am not referring to Will and Kate’s or  Barack and Michelle Obama’s family, I am referring to the first family of Christmas …

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This first family of Christmas was a unique family, one that was never before, and will not be again. Certainly there have been families that began with a teenage pregnancy, or a long trip (our honeymoon trip was a car drive from New Brunswick to Yellowstone National Park …), or concern for the future, or without a place to live, but never was there a family like this first family of Christmas.

Never was there a family who began from such simple means, with such great purpose.

Joseph was a carpenter, a respected, necessary profession in that time, but not an esteemed position in that society. It is a fair guess that Mary would not have been from a household that was ‘above’ that of Joseph, as marrying beyond your class or level in society would not have been acceptable. They were simple, average Jews, living within the expectations and laws of their place, time and culture. They were engaged, thinking of and preparing for their wedding day, but engagement was a little different than what we know of engagement today. To be engaged then meant that you were already married in the eyes of society, in the eyes of the synagogue, in the eyes of God. And, even though if Joseph had died, Mary would be viewed a widow. They did not live together … they barely spoke to each other, and certainly not alone.

Mary was a virgin.

This was written the book of Luke, and it was the fulfillment of the prophesy in Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14):

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

Joseph was a righteous man.

This meant that he obeyed the laws, followed the rules, was respected in the community. For him to choose to wed his pregnant Mary was to live his days as disgraced as she. His response to the angelic messengers who told him that the conception was from the Holy Spirit (relieving him of feeling disrespected by his betrothed) and the direction for Joseph to give the baby boy the name Jesus was evidence of just how righteous he really was, from the inside out.

“He (Joseph) did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:24-25)images-9

The entirety of the formation of this first family was in the hands of God, who provided the seed in Jesus, who grew into the life source of redemption for all of humanity.

Isaiah 11:1-10
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.

The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.

They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

On that day
the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples;
the nations shall inquire of him,
and his dwelling shall be glorious.”

 

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Normally, when I feature a guest post I spend more time introducing it than it’s content lasts.

Today is different.

I will only say that when I started reading I had not noticed who wrote it. All I knew was that I was captivated by this post … and thought that you might be too:

““I don’t have much time left, really.”

My father’s voice on the other end of the line reminds me of my grandfather’s.

It’s been nearly ten years since I heard that voice. I’m making beds. I can see Dad at his breakfast table.

“At best, maybe fifteen years. I’m on my last chapter.” He pauses and I let the empty space beckon answers.

Grandpa died at eighty. Dad will turn sixty-three this coming year.

“I need a plan. I don’t think I’ve had one.”

I pull the sheets up, smooth out the bed’s coverlet in coming light, then wait, listening to Dad think.

I’m hesitant to say anything. Best he find the way.

But I’m still, just standing here, knowing that we are moving out into hallowed ground. I wait. Then venture into the space with only a question.

“Well, how do you want that last chapter to read, Dad?”

“I want to end happy.”

I sit on the edge of the bed, sunlight warm on my back, and ask slowly, “And what do you think brings happiness?””

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Are you captivated? Click here to finish reading.

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Oh, how I feel in love with the guest post for today … it reached up into my creative, memory-making, wonder-filled person and left me with an ahhh feeling in my heart and soul.3

Matt Tague is a husband, a father of six children (three of whom are adopted), a Californian, a published writer, a pastor. His blog, Christian Development is published about once a week.

In his post Family Projects, Family Time, Matt tells of an unplanned family time lasting a couple of days, in the creation of a piece of artwork from a few scribbles on a piece of paper. The creation was completed with only his older children, but all enjoyed the creative process.

Matt says, “the main point is that you are doing something productive together as a family, using your skills to create, build, fix, dream or help” and he and his did that so beautifully in this.

Family time is a difficult thing to accomplish. I had no idea how easy it was when our children were younger, had no calendar of their own, and did and went as we instructed. Now, to plan a family event means having to co-ordinate work, school, athletic and social calendars of five people. I also feel the very real sense that these family times will only continue to lessen in frequency, as our children grow up and ‘get a life’ of their own.

 

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