Christmas Memories~

Christmas Memories~

23 December 2018

 

Hello everyone,

 

What are your favorite Christmas memories spent with your grandparents? Did you used to bake cookies / other desserts with Grandma or Grandpa? Or do you simply remember being surrounded by them on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, relinquishing the cherished memories of simply being together.

 

This holiday season will be the first Christmas without my grandmother, a wonderful lady who taught me so many things in my thirty years of life. She taught me how to work hard for what you’re most passionate about, never give up, and never stop trying. She taught me that one doesn’t have to have good looks to be successful in life; among other things. Ever since I was a little girl, I enjoyed baking with her. Saturday afternoons growing up, I’d go next door to my grandmother’s house where she had fresh baked cookies cooling on the counter, and always offered to make me some tea. She had a ton of different kinds of tea, so she always gave me my list of options of teas I could choose from. She’d always recommend one, too, and together we’d sit together at the kitchen table, and she’d look over the day’s newspaper or magazine and ask me what I was up to these days, even if she’d only seen me a few days before. My grandma always had her dark hair, no matter how old she was, short and permed perfectly. Her bifocal glasses sat at the edge of her long nose. Her hands were spotted with age, but ones that reminded me of comfort, love, and patience as she taught me how to sew images on dish towels and kneel at the foot of the bed at night before saying my prayers.

 

I’m thinking about my grandma a lot this holiday season, such as how, every year, she created little drops of fudge and divinity for her grandchildren to enjoy. My sisters and I, my parents, and as many cousins as could come, celebrated Christmas Day afternoon opening gifts that my grandmother had given to all of her grandchildren. You could tell, simply by the joy on her face, that she adored seeing the looks on her grandchildren’s faces as they opened their gifts, while being quite humble about her own gifts. My grandma put her whole heart into the spirit of Christmas, and aside from God, family meant the most to her. I so wish I could hear her laugh again, her pleasant voice, and the comfort one can have simply by being in their grandmother’s presence. I plan to one day tell my future children about her and the woman who meant so much to me. I loved her very much.

 

This holiday season, make sure you’re humble within the spirit of Christmas, that you’re more excited to give rather than receive gifts. Cherish the sweet home holiday traditions you share with your families, and study them fondly so that one day, they’ll be rigidly clear in your mind as you think upon what once was. Bake lots of Christmas cookies and candies, even if you end up having to throw some. Buy different kinds of wrapping paper. Find lots of cute little knicknacks and streams to hang around your house, aside from a simple Christmas tree. If, in your head, you’re finding excuses to not go to a certain relative’s house or to visit this person or that person – don’t think on the negative. Because Christmas is about the positive, and sharing the season of giving and sharing with those we love most.

 

Happy Holidays, everyone 🙂

 

JMK~

 

 

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When in Doubt, Do What Grandma Says~

30 October 2018

 

Hello everyone,

 

Hope everyone has had a good October and fall so far. Halloween is tomorrow, and I’m dressing up as Mario. What are you dressing up as?

 

This October has been a terrible one for me, mainly because my 92-year old grandmother, Agnes, passed away on Oct. 15th. I cannot even begin to explain to you the depth of how hard the past couple weeks has been. They’ve passed by in a blur, but it’s been a blur of numbness and shock. I keep having to poke myself that this wonderful, spirited woman who had lived next door to my parents out in the country all my life is now gone. There are no words to fully examine to you how much I miss her, or how much I crave her presence.

 

Almost every weekend when I was growing up, I went over to her house and hung out with her. I baked with her, prayed with her, and learned from her. As I grew older, I didn’t notice that she growing older, too, but in a completely different way, even though she was still her loving, spirited self. She had the same laugh, the same directness to handling disobedience as well as not being afraid to tell you exactly how she felt about something. But that was okay, because she was her own person. She loved the Lord, she loved her family, and loved reading, puzzles and, in the earlier years, enjoyed sewing as well. I fondly think that I’ve received my enjoyment of writing from her. She had a single typewriter she used for typing out all of her letters, recipes, and notes. She enjoyed reading and had done so for many years, up until within the past few years where she couldn’t see well enough to do so. When I was either 13 or 14, she started ordering Love Inspired/Harlequin books (which amounted to about 4 books a month) and gradually, when she was done reading them, she put them in a special cupboard in her desk for me to take and read for myself next time I visited her. Every time I visited, she always had a personal story to share that was similar to one of the books I picked up, or a story that reminded her of one of the books’ plots. And I’d sit and listen to her calmly and patiently talk, while she thought of every aspect of the story just to make sure she got every part right.

 

I went to high school and college, graduated, and lived on my own for a couple years before I married my husband. Along that time, I worked, enjoyed being a newlywed, and forgot about how my grandmother had gotten even older. She started using a cane. Then, gradually, a walker. Then, before I knew it, myself and most of the other grandchildren sat in her nursing home room surrounding her where she lay, unconscious and on oxygen. As I sat there, occasionally visiting with my sisters and cousins, I gazed around the room at the pictures that had defined her life. Her wedding picture sat nearby, and within that photo sat a much younger woman who had a full life of possibilities stretched ahead of her. It made me realize then, as I sat there, about how fast life really does happen. Once you reached 30, the age I’m at, you only have 10 years until you reach 40. Then, before long, your kids make your years whiz by up through age 60. For example, I can’t believe my parents are in their early 60s now. It seems just yesterday they were in their 40s, raising little ol’ me and my younger sisters.

 

If you think about it, it’s really not fair. Relatively, on average, God only gives us 70-100 years to live on this earth. We’re babies, then we’re children, and then we graduate from high school. Then, we graduate from college. Then, we get married and have kids. (Not necessarily in that order.) We raise kids, watch them graduate and get married and have their own kids, and before we know it, we’re sitting in a nursing home wondering where life had gone. Every day, especially lately, it feels like life just goes faster and faster. When I was growing up, particularly in elementary and high school, the days crawled. Maybe it was because I hated school and didn’t enjoy my classes, nor have very many friends. Or maybe it was because I didn’t think of how slow or fast life was going. But while I was growing up, my grandma was growing older. Whenever I wrote to her, she wrote back sometimes complaining that I don’t visit as often as I should. At the time, I just shook my head and chuckled, mentally reminding myself to visit her next time I visited my parents. But now, looking back, I feel ashamed of myself and not visiting her as often as I probably should have. However, within the past few years, I began visiting her more and more, and that makes me really thankful now that I did do that. We didn’t even have to talk about much. She had the volume on loud because she couldn’t hear the greatest, and we’d just sit there in her living room watching old game shows together. Neither of us really ever had anything new to share. But the time was made to simply just be with each other and cherish the time together. After an hour or so, I remember that every time I admitted I had to go, she had this big disappointed look on her face. But I also knew she understood. She’d been young once, too.

 

I’m saying all these things not to make you depressed or feel sorry for me and our family’s loss. Rather, I want you all to really take a good look at your own life. What kind of legacy are you going to leave behind for your children and grandchildren? The kind of life you’re living now, they’re going to be envious of one day – especially your grandchildren. If you’re away from home a lot, visit your folks and grandparents as often as you possibly can! Trust me, if you don’t grab hold of that time and cherish it, you WILL regret it one day. I regret not spending more time with my grandma. I should’ve made it more of a point to spend more time with her, even though I spent as much time as I could with her. One day, you’re going to be sitting in a nursing home wondering where life had gone and why it had gone by so fast. Don’t just bypass this blog post without thinking about it very much – REALLY think about it, like I have. Enjoy your life, and cherish it. Grab hold of it as hard as you can, and spend as much time with your family as you can. For if you don’t, you’ll regret it, and that’s a horrible feeling to have.

 

On the day that my grandma was driven to the nursing home, she left her home for the last time. She looked back at the home in which she’d lived for many years. So many memories had been there. Raising kids, grandkids, and having grandkids visit in your house. Walking across the land and breathing in that fresh country air. Thinking about the length of time and the depth of the memories ~ if you think about it, it really gets you. Life is built with memories, but most especially, with God as your Head.

 

Cling tight to those memories, but most especially to those family members you love so much. Keep God as the head of your life always. Plant a legacy the future children and grandchildren will one day be extremely proud of. Then, quietly leave it behind, trusting in the Lord to handle the rest in this wild adventure we call life. The continuous circle of life will go on until Judgment Day. But you – yes, you – only have 1 life to live. 1 life. How are you going to live it? Making choices you may one day regret? Or living in a way that is not only pleasing to God, but in a way where your future grandchildren will one day wish they’d lived it with you?

 

I will forever love and miss my grandmother. She was one of the more important persons in my life. But as I continue on in this adventurous and busy life, I will honor her memory by carrying on her legacy ~ a legacy she would’ve been proud of ~ all the while planting my own.

 

JMK~