We just got back from a trip up to Vermont, where we stayed with my mom for five days. No matter how long we are away, it never seems like it is long enough. Never enough time to catch up with everybody; never enough time to do all the little jobs Mom needs help with; never enough time to look through all the papers and pictures Dad left....it was while we were looking through some of Dad's writings that we came across this note he had written about the memories he had of his father. I always knew Dad was a good writer, but it never really hit me until yesterday that my enjoyment for writing was passed down from my dad. I have always enjoyed the things he enjoyed. Yet, the note we found really hit me hard because I have kept my favorite memories written down too. His favorites have become my favorites and I hope that my children, if one of them should ever take up writing, will be found writing down their favorites and find they are the same as all of ours. Here is to family; memories; and to God given talents that are passed down to each generation. May we always glorify God as we continue on remembering good times.
"Where do I begin? I'll just start! Hot summer day trips in the car to the ocean; warm summer night rides to Dairy Queen; moves at the Avon Drive-In; Main vacations to Lakehurst camps; pitching horseshoes at the beach; fried clams; swimming under water for what seemed like forever; big, strong hard-working hands; a back scratch and a story at bedtime; a comforting “good night” from the other room after the lights were turned off; dancing with mom in the living room to “Victory at Sea”; coming home in a new 1957 Chevrolet; ice-skating on Avon pond; an occasional trip to the bedroom for a little discipline; the smell of shaving cream and Old Spice aftershave; Dad coming home from work with his work clothes smelling of oil and perspiration; a warm smile and a friendly, “Hi Pink!”; the smell of freshly mown grass and the radio broadcaster heralding the score of a Red Sox baseball game; Sunday afternoon naps in the living room chair; And Oh! How long that “in a minute” seemed while waiting for dad to “rest his eyes” and come outside to toss the ball, Dad's favorite pass-time; baseball if he wasn't glued to a radio, getting all stirred up over how the Sox were doing, he might be found in the backyard playing catch with me or found at a little league game encouraging me one with “you can do I, Pink!”
Where do I stop? The memories just go on and on. Now here I am with my own children; and what do you think has happened? Hot summer day trips in the car to the beach; warm summer night rides to get ice cream; a back scratch and a bedtime story; a “good night” after the lights are turned out; an occasional trip to the bedroom for a little discipline, etc, etc, etc. Thanks, Dad, for the memories." (written by James Bruce Pinkham about his father, James Henry Pinkham.)
I looked at my lonely lily laying so bedraggled on the ground. It had been stripped of all its leaves down to the stem. The beautiful bright petals of the yellow flower were also gone, having been a tasty treat for the new little bunny who had moved into our neighborhood. I did not mind having the young rabbit so close to the house, but was a little saddened that he had taken liberty to destroy my lone lily. "I hope it was worth the work," I thought to myself.
Across the driveway, in another garden there was another tall lily plant growing, alongside a shorter one, but these two had not been touched. Their bright yellow petals weighed the tall stems down and they sagged to the earth, as if they could not hold their heads up. In the past I have put tomato stakes around them to help keep them straight, but this year I did not attempt to aid in their stand. I wondered why my plants never stood tall like other lilies. They always seem to fall to the ground before their time of wilting has come. I looked carefully at other people's lily gardens and noticed that most everyone has a lot of them together. There are not usually one or two in the flower beds, but a bunch of them together, helping each other stand tall and straight. Some bloom early, and some bloom later, but they all work together to give strength to the one beside it. Their bright yellows, whites, and oranges against the deep green of the leaves and stems make a beautiful collage of color...one of my highlights of summer. I believe this is the way God intended them to grow...to be grouped together, helping the one beside it be as tall and lovely as possible.
This summer has not been the easiest, most relaxing one for me. I feel like I have been on an emotional roller coaster and the track has been extremely hilly and loopy. I never know what lies around the bend. I kind of feel like that bedraggled lily, beaten down, and stripped of all that's beautiful. News around the world can get me down, as well as grief of the loss of a loved one in my heart. Little things that never usually bothered me seem to weigh me down, and it is hard to keep a bright outlook on things with my head in the dirt. Yet, that is not how I want to remain. I want to be able to stand tall, even when I am alone, because the Master Creator is the One Who created me for Him to enjoy and love. I do not want to wilt before my time. I want to be a light to those around me, no matter how alone I may feel. We do need the support of each other, the church and fellow believers, to help lift us up, encourage us in the faith, and help us stay strong, but there are times when we will need to stand alone, with only the Lord holding our hand. Like Daniel when he had to face the lions. He stood alone and God gave him the strength to do what he needed to do. I do not want to sag, letting the dangers of the world attack and strip me bare when I least expect it. I want to stand strong and be that beautiful lily that God designed me to be...just for Him and for His glory.
June 23 - Oh no! Our power is off, just like the rest of the neighborhood...or should I say, Wallingford! It was fine up until 9:00 the night before when our neighbor was trying to hook up to us so they could have some power. Just like in the past storms, our power had remained on so we thought we were good this time too. Well, the main circuit box, along Williams Road, had a tree on it and something happened that caused it to blow up. So, just as the neighbor was plugging in, I heard them shout, "What was that?" I thought they had done something to our power, but it turns out it was not their fault at all. Unprepared, I ran around trying to find some flashlights and candles that we could use. Ben was not liking the idea of not having lights in the bathroom all night long so I decided the safest thing to put in there was one of my solar powered lights from outside. Those things worked great and did wonders for peace in the home.
June 24 - We woke up to a still and quite home. Susy had a breakfast date at her friend's house which worked out well so we took her over there and dropped her off. Joe went to do a couple of jobs while Ben and I returned home. He played with his Playmobile and I did some dusting and cleaning. When Joe returned we went to get Susy and then went and had a fun filled afternoon at the Dinosaur Place, and the two children cooled off in the splash pad. It was a great way to spend a day away from home. We got back, rested a bit, then went to church service. I had nursery, and then afterwards, I went to water the plants in my classroom. When I was picking up my stuff by the door, I noticed a letter on top of it. Now, the week had been going pretty rough, but sometimes when you have something at the back of your mind there is a tension there that keeps building. I had sent a letter to Pastor, and to his son (who is going to be our new administrator at school next year) about how I did not feel right about teaching K5 and 1st grade combined. I was just not getting a peace about it. I had written a letter about a week before and put it in their boxes. Well, Pastor left town for the week and I was on edge. I knew it was in the Lord's hands, but I needed to know they knew where I stood.
So I saw this letter on my stuff and felt that butterfly feeling in my stomach. What was this about? It turned out to be God's answers to two of my prayers, as well as the knowledge that He had been working out everything behind the scenes! God knows what we need even before we ask it, and what a great joy it is to know He wants even better than our best for us. So, I am only teaching K5 and the start date of school is now a week later, just as I had prayed it would be.
I had one other prayer that night on the way home from church: please let our lights be on. And God saw fit to answer that one too. The lights inside our house just beamed at us as we pulled into our driveway. What a great way to end our Wednesday.
June 25 - All is back to normal, well, with two kids at least. We spent the morning at Grammy's, while I worked in the office and caught up on data entry. After work came play, so we packed it up and went to our friends' home down in Monroe and spent a fun filled fellowship afternoon with the Montanez family. We got back late and Ben, exhausted from the day, fell asleep in the car, came inside, fell on the couch, and slept until 8:30 the next morning, over 13 hours of sleep. What a day!
June 26 - My children are coming home! I cleaned and cleaned the downstairs, and gladly crossed off that huge job off my summer to do list. Then we got the call the children were on their way and I went down to pick up my three campers. They were so very excited to be home, though they had a good week. They spent a lot of time telling me about their week, and how two of their friends had gotten saved early in the week. They were very excited about that, plus JJ told me that God had worked on him about something. I had never heard him say anything about God working on his heart about anything, so I was greatly encouraged to know JJ is maturing in his faith. I always prayed God will do something, even if it is one little thing that they come away with. They have to learn to have their own relationship with the Lord and cannot walk with Him by hanging on to our coattails.
Overall, it was a week I would not care to repeat, but God showed up in many ways and I am thankful for His hand in my life. I am thankful for a relationship with Him, and even though He is my King and Ruler, He is my best Friend and I can tell Him anything.