Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December Thankfulness of the Heart

"Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road." ~John Henry Jowett

How I miss the mark and limp some Decembers. The upheaval in the calendar is a challenge to me, but I want to walk the best I can and not put a damper on everyone else's time. I long to cherish Christmas oh so quietly in my heart all year long. But my children with their twinkling eyes and joy of expectancy remind me that the 25th is one of those days as well. And so it is, and I join in and continue the count if you will put up with me again. My prayer is that the holiday is more in the heart and in the being, rather than all the doing; that it's about love and this awesome Jesus of my every day.

Gratitude swells up in my heart for:

healthy children in the winter
daughters who help make cookies
star gazing
buds ready to bloom
people of prayer
candles in the evening
making the Centurion laugh at the live nativity
the mitten tree near the stove
holly and evergreens
love, light and life
Jesus come as baby to this earth....

"Thanks be to God for this unspeakable gift." 2 Cor 9:15

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Love Letters

I’d know her handwriting anywhere. There sprawled across the floor in front of me is a pile of my late Great-Grandmother’s letters that fell out of my old Bible. She had made her life speak to her loved ones from the arm of her favorite chair in her last years. One by one, I picked up the pretty pastel bits of love and memories. Her writing, the ink and all look like no time has slipped away, but it’s been a good couple of decades. She never knew my husband or met my children but her words live on.

She spoke in scriptures, poems, in quotes and in prayers. Leafing through them the thought crossed my mind that just maybe I didn’t get my love affair with reading words from university professors, but this elderly women without a day of higher education. The last time I saw her was when I parted for my junior year of university across the states to the mid-west, far away from the family nest. Reading the letters and poetry now, it’s clear to me that a degree could never take the place of this kind of wisdom and deep love of family. While she may have sporadically attended a house of worship, she whole-heartedly attended to the Holy Spirit inside her. She was clearly one of the Christ-followers.

And she didn’t just send letters, she decorated them with color, stickers and her great big God love. There were flowers, butterflies, all things nature and hearts. Picking one off the floor, I turn it over and read my way around the pink heart the words "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

Isn’t that the truth.

She was a farmer’s wife and raised seven children. She lived the Great Depression and fed the hungry. Several of her children still live today, in a row of quaint little homes near her old property. It’s a place of nurturing and love and I don’t have to wonder why. I recall what it felt like to be in her home. My Grandmother, who lives next door and still holds my hand during visits today, celebrated her 92nd birthday last month and so I am amazingly blessed.

Upon every visit to Great Grandma’s home, I’d sit by her chair on the floor and we’d chat and inevitably I’d end up getting to pick from her finest patchwork pillows, a new treasure for my bedroom. Before I’d leave she’d have given me the run down on what or where each patch square came from: so and so’s dress, skirt or left over fabric from a blanket or such. What a collection I had-as many pillows as stuffed animals. Next a bag would be filled of special food and goodies from her old wooden pantry out in the kitchen. I some how sensed it was more than food in that bag, but her way of giving love. And then I’d say my goodbyes and wait.

Wait for the mail truck to come to our long country lane. It was then I learned the thrill of writing and receiving letters, what seems like a lost art today. I share these poems, scriptures and words of wisdom with my children now and I take them deep into my heart and recapture the memories of those moments of safety and love. My girls have become letter writers. I some how feel that I’m to continue where she left off given that I’ve now got a favorite chair, a slower pace and a whole lot of loved ones that need to know my love for them.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Preserved Land!

The girls at Goat Hill Overlook. We are thrilled this nearby property has been recently preserved as open space. It is now part of Washington State Park. George Washington used this hill to make sure the boats on the PA side were hidden well enough so that the British could not see them.

Looking north over the Delaware River. New Hope, PA is on the left and Lambertville, NJ is on the right. Washington and his army crossed the river here at Coryell's Ferry (between New Hope and Lambertville) for the battle of Monmouth in June of 1778.

Washington Rock looking north. Legend has it that this is the rock George Washington used to inspect the PA side of the river to make sure the boats were well hidden. It is a fact that he did this from Goat Hill-a legend that it was from this rock. This was before the famous Christmas crossing for the battle of Trenton. The actual crossing was at McKonkey's Ferry (now Washington Crossing, PA to Titusville, NJ) a few miles to the south.

One washed out photo of husband forgetting about our life insurance and out-dated will and pretending to be George Washington. I made it back home with just minutes to spare for online Meeting for Worship....
I must add, much love to my British friends who may read this!
Really. oxo