Posts Tagged "Memories"

An Opportunity of a Lifetime!

Posted by on Dec 16, 2015 in Blog, Double Cousins |

An Opportunity of a Lifetime!

  This week my daddy celebrated his eighty-third birthday. You might think that is really old! I understand. When I was a kid, I thought it was too. In fact, when he was 38 I told him in two years he would be an old man! Believe me, when I turned 38 he thoroughly enjoyed reminding me of my words. Sigh. A few years ago we sat down and I asked him a series of questions. I interviewed him. I wanted to hear his stories and boy, did I. I had warned him and he was ready. He even had a list of things he wanted to talk about. I typed it into the computer as he talked, and we taped it. So, now we have it. The memories of Marvin Jones. It was an opportunity of a lifetime! It’s a good thing because he recently had a stroke, and speech is very difficult for him. He wouldn’t be able to have that conversation today. Next week is Christmas. You will be seeing grandparents, great-aunts, great-uncles, maybe even great-grandparents. Now is your chance! Make a list of questions, let them know ahead of time what you would like to do, and then be ready to record what they say. Smart phones usually have a really great recording device and then it can be transferred to a computer and shared with the family. Here are my list of questions, but if you want more or different ones just google “questions to ask your elders” and you will get many sites with wonderful suggestions.   Have fun and get those memories down. You don’t have forever! Miriam’s list What is your first memory? What is the most important thing you learned from each of your parents? What was Christmas like? What is your favorite story that your dad would tell? What is your scariest memory from childhood? What was your favorite food that your mom made? What other memories stand out? What was the most important lesson you learned while in the military/college? What is the most important thing you would like your children and grandchildren to know? How did you meet your...

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Remember and Be Glad. . . My Choice

Posted by on Dec 7, 2015 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

Remember and Be Glad. . . My Choice

We visited an outlet store the other day. They advertised a free coffee mug if you purchased $30.00 of items. I wasn’t there to buy. I was there to see about a book signing. But, the more I walked around the store, the more Christmas sales I found. I ended up with a mug. It has the verse Psalm 118:24 on it. Christmas is everywhere these day; stores, work, home, church. If you are a Scrooge, it isn’t a good time of year for you. Or, if you’ve recently lost a family member. Or maybe, it is the first holiday season since your loved one passed. Either way, it is difficult. As a nurse, I’ve seen it many times. I know this first-hand, too.   November 23rd was the due date eight years ago of our unborn child. It seems like every eight-year-old child I see this year is cuter than cute. December 2nd was the 85th anniversary of marriage of George and Mildred Jones, my grandparents. It was also the 18th anniversary of the day Grandma McKnight went to heaven. December 7th is remembered as Pearl Harbor Day. But, for me it is remembered as the day Grandpa McKnight followed Grandma to heaven. Next month there are more such anniversaries, ones that I note. Every. Single. Year.   So, what are we to do? What would my mother and grandparents want me to do? Would they be thankful if I spent the day moping around and feeling sorry for myself? I think not. Yet, that can be a real temptation. Sometimes, the loss just reaches out and grabs me by the neck and squeezes. It comes at the strangest moments.   Maybe it is when the girl’s choir lines the walls of the church and raises their voices in praise to the Lord. I glance at my husband, his eyes shut, head moving slightly to the music, a look of joy and peace on his face and I am reminded of the look on Grandpa McKnight’s face when he heard glorious music. Of course, the pew would have been shaking from his laugh-cry if it had been Grandpa.   Maybe it’s when looking at an adult coloring book of Psalms and I flashback to memories of Grandma McKnight listening to us recite Psalms to her.   Or, maybe it is in a patient’s room when the old man in the bed is watching episode after episode of westerns. I stand there, holding my breath. Will Matt Dillon save Miss Kitty? And, why didn’t they ever get married anyway? Then, in my mind I see Grandpa Jones sitting on his couch watching his favorite show. My eyes burn.   Or maybe, when my husband opens the shades in the kitchen to let in the morning sun and sings, “Sunshine in her window, makes Miriam happy. . .” and I remember just how much Grandma Jones loved John Denver.   Or even when the eight-year-old young lady and her daddy...

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Grandma McKnight, Mountains, and Memories

Posted by on Nov 1, 2015 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts | 1 comment

Grandma McKnight, Mountains, and Memories

The other day, I glanced out the window of my bedroom in the mountain home I visited and I saw a chipmunk skittering around on the ground. Mountains and chipmunks remind me of Grandma McKnight. Especially chipmunks in mountains! Why? Let me tell you.   When I was a little girl my grandparents lived in Mariposa, California, a charming town worth visiting.  We lived in Nebraska at the time, so going to California was always a long trek. But, each visit involved a drive to Yosemite to see the massive redwood trees and incredible waterfalls, a lesson from Grandma about some little piece of nature, and a Psalm. Grandma was big on the Psalms. She especially liked the Psalm that said, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.” (Psalm 121:1) I couldn’t help but think of that Psalm as I looked out the window at Grandfather Mountain. Well, at the clouds where Grandfather Mountain was supposed to be! The second mountain community was Gunnison, Colorado where they moved in 1973, shortly after my mother died. Having them closer was such a comfort. Daddy could drive us the four hours to their house and they would love on us, instruct us, and love on us some more. We explored the mountains with them. Grandma let us make crafts using natural things like rocks, lichen, and pinto beans. (She was creative at keeping the grandchildren occupied in a productive way.) And all of the time we were doing our craft, she had us memorizing verses. Often the Psalms.   One summer, after we moved to California, we returned to Gunnison for a visit. Aunt Rachel, Uncle Paul, and their girls were living in Grandpa and Grandma’s basement while my uncle attended the university. One day we drove through the mountains and enjoyed a picnic along an icy mountain stream. The campground was inhabited by chipmunks, and they were used to being fed! I still remember Grandma, squatting down on the ground to help us feed the chipmunks.   Those memories came flooding back last weekend as I sat in a vacation home at a writer’s retreat surrounded by mountains, trees, and chipmunks. The trees were still vibrantly colored as it was just past peak leaf season, but soon the mountains will be ugly. Sticks on the mountain, I call it.   But last weekend? Wow! The verse Grandma taught me ran through my head, along with another one I found in a journal:   As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever. Psalm...

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The Most Powerful Presence

Posted by on Dec 9, 2014 in Home Is Where The Story Starts |

We spent Thanksgiving with some of my McKnight cousins. It was so much fun laughing and remembering together. We found ourselves bringing our grandparents into the conversation over and over. Whether it was mimicking one of Grandpa’s pet sayings, or commenting of how proud Grandma would have been of one of the kids attitudes their presence was felt. Oh, not literally. They weren’t there in some ghostly way. It is just that we know them. They invested in us and taught us. We sense what they would say and do. We also spoke about how we tend to hang on to things just because they belonged to someone we love. I’m really bad about that. I guess it feels like they are not completely gone if I have something of theirs. I’m working at whittling down the things we have to things we truly love and can use. But it is hard. When I was packing books last summer I found a small book on the shelf. It is old and the cover says it is a World Devotional Classic. On the flyleaf it is inscribed to my Grandpa and Grandma McKnight.  To: Franz and Eleanor for their gracious hospitality and Christian fellowship in the LORD. Bill   Psalm 13:6  It is a copy of The Spiritual Riches of John Bunyan, published in 1952. I have been reading this book here and there, ever since. I haven’t made it far. I keep getting distracted and when I come back to it, I reread the part I already started because it is so good. One simply cannot overdose on the attributes of God. Last week I reread a short paragraph and I copied it into my journal. I prayed over it and asked the Lord to help me hold onto this passage. I believe that if I can truly GET the truth of this point it will CHANGE MY LIFE. It would change yours too. Here it is.  PRESENCE OF GOD God’s presence is renewing, transforming, seasoning, sanctifying, commanding, sweetening, and lightening to the soul. Nothing like it in all the world: his presence supplies all wants, heals all maladies, saves from all dangers; is life in death, heaven in hell, all in all.  Whether I’m at home, at work, in my car, in danger, in perfect safety, having a good day, a bad day, or somewhere in between God is with me. His Holy Spirit lives within me. I hope the knowledge of HIS presence affects me even more than the memory of my grandparent’s presence. After all, HE is actually still here! Psalm 139:7-12  Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I...

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Stimulating Memories, Reconnecting Friends

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

I love hearing from readers with their comments about how my book, All I Have Needed–A Legacy for Life affected them.  Every few days I get an email, a phone call, or just someone stopping me to tell me their reactions to the stories in my book. Almost invariably they say something like, “It makes me think of my grandparents”, or “it made me start sorting through those old photos,” or in the case of my aunt, “It reminded me of that notebook I have that belonged to your mother.” I couldn’t be happier. You see, my goal in writing this book isn’t just to tell stories. Oh sure. I love telling stories. It is who I am. But, there is more. I believe that unless we tell stories, unless we save our memories, unless we listen to our elders and record their memories we lose. We lose a lot of wisdom. We lose a lot of humor. We lose a lot that God intends for us to have for years to come. One of my best friends called the other day. She was wound up. This friend knows my family so well she almost knows them better than I do. We have been friends since 1991 so she has had many opportunities to hear my stories. She had just finished my book that morning. She was delighted with the stories.  After all, she knew many of them. To her it was like reading about her own family. But that’s not why she called. When she called she was on her way home from a restaurant where she enjoyed a meal with her parents and some friends from church. These friends are a retired minister and his wife who moved from California to Pennsylvania to be near their daughter. So, my friend was sitting there eating her supper when she thought to herself. This man reminds me so much of Miriam’s dad. His mannerisms. His way of speaking. I wonder if they know each other. After all, Miriam’s dad went to seminary in California and had three churches out there. And this pastor went to Pillsbury. Miriam’s dad went to Pillsbury. I wonder. So she asked. “Do you know Pastor Marvin Jones?” Well. Did he? Oh yeah! Turns out this man grew up in Estherville, Iowa where Grandpa McKnight was Pastor when my parents married. My daddy was his Sunday School teacher. He was in the youth group with my Aunt. My grandpa preached at his ordination service. My sister visited his church when she was on deputation. He knows three generations of my family and has a deep respect for my daddy and grandpa. My friend was stunned. So, she shared about the book and he is reading it. And, just the other day, I received an email from this Pastor. A man I have heard about my entire life. You see, my family held him in high esteem too. I love the way this book helped us reconnect...

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