Down Memory Lane

Memories of days gone by are fun to share. As adults we enjoy sharing our childhood and youth experiences at family reunions as well as school class reunions. Sharing memories often helps us gain new perspectives on those by-gone days as well.

Sharing memories with our children and our grandchildren give them a deeper understanding of where they fit in the big picture in our communities and in history. It’s one thing to read about Vietnam in a history book and quite another to hear Uncle John tell of his experiences there. In today’s children’s world of computer games, cell phones, and DVD players that go everywhere with you, children may have a difficult time grasping life as it used to be. Sharing family stories and community tales can help bridge that gap.

I was inspired a week ago to start up a community memory group on Facebook in the town where my family lived from the time I was in the fifth grade until a year after I graduated from high school. I got the idea from a similar group that had been started in the community where I now live. In less than one week the membership of our group has jumped from the 35 or so people I originally invited to over 750 members. A wealth of information has piled in, helping me to bring into focus things I had all-but-forgotten.

How will something like this help our children? It may not, unless we also take the time to share the stories with them. …not necessarily sitting at the computer and scrolling through all the posts and comments, but through every now and then sharing something that strikes a familiar chord and brings the memory to mind. Look for opportunities to share your stories, for the sake of building your relationship with your child or grandchild, as well as  to help them to understand how our lifestyles have changed over the years.

 

Storyland

When I was five, the highlight of my day happened at 5:00 pm. Jean Hill, the Storyland lady, sang fun songs, read letters from children, and dramatized children’s books as if the story were happening NOW! inside our radio.

On weekdays, I asked my mother every ten minutes, “What time is it? Is it time yet?” Only once in those years do I remember that the time got to be later than 5:30, the ending of the show. “Call me next time!” I cried. I still feel the grief of that day, of missing forever that day’s thirty minutes with the Storyland lady.

What was it about her story-telling that made it so compelling? I’d lie on the carpeted floor, my ear to the wooden radio with fabric hiding the speakers inside. I hung onto every word. Shhhh! I’d shush my younger brother. Shhhh! “Listen to the story.” Bambi came alive time and time again. Thumper, the rabbit, and his mother’s wisdom; Cinderella’s rags to riches and a royal prince; Little Red Riding Hood’s narrow escape; and The Three Pigs’ ‘outcrafty-ing’ the desperate wolf. The storyland lady played long-playing records of stories too.

Jean Hill never forgot to sing “Happy Birthday” to the kids who wrote notes to her. One day in the cold of a frosty February, my parents bundled brother Paul and me into our 1940’s auto, drove down to the WHTC radio station, and parked outside. We watched through a picture window as Jean Hill sang “Happy Birthday” to me. I was thrilled to see and hear her at the same time.

How can one person grab a child’s attention in such a way that, when the child becomes a grandparent, (s)he still remembers the thrills of hearing, listening to or seeing that person almost everyday?

Does your child have a steady diet of listening time with you? Does your child . . .

. . . hang onto every word you say as (s)he hears stories from your life?

. . . listen with heart for truth in each of God’s Bible stories you tell?

. . . see who you are and what you do, and learn from your example?

. . . know that (s)he matters to you, because you love and also listen?

Do you have a steady diet of time with God? Do you . . .

. . . hang onto every word of God’s promises and claim them for your life?

. . . listen with heart for truth in God’s Bible stories?

. . . see who Christ is and what he has done, and learn from his example?

. . . know that you matter to him, because he loves and also listens?

Be intentional. What could your child miss forever because you missed a listening opportunity? As God loves you, so love your child, assuring that the blessing of your child’s identity in Christ continues to be the story told for generations.

Ditching the Joneses

A year ago, I won a copy of Ditch the Joneses, Discover Your Family: How to Thrive on Less Than Two Incomes! by Cathi Brese Doebler. As a mom, being home with my children while they are still young is a definite priority. I’m glad my husband supports this choice.

It’s not always easy, however, to stop comparing my life with our neighbors’. Many of them have in-ground pools and flat-screen televisions: two things we wanted when we moved into our home more than 12 years ago. While my brown (very, very brown) thumb and I struggle along to landscape the yard, my neighbors pay to have their lawns mowed and their yards professionally designed and maintained. While I can’t say money has ever been my master, sacrificing my family’s needs for the sake of having more “things” is a real temptation.

Temptations like this come to many of us. We live in a society where a person’s worth is often judged by his material wealth. When we turn to the Word of God, however, it is the stories of those who gave up worldly possessions to do what was right or those willing to give of what little they had that inspire us to look beyond earthly rewards.

  • Noah was subjected to ridicule as he built the ark;
  • Moses was raised as a prince, yet he cast that aside to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land;
  • Luke 21: 1- 4 tells the story of the widow’s two mites–a woman who gave all she had while those around her gave from their surplus.

And then there is the story of Job, who had all a man could want in this world, yet Satan took it all away in the hope that he would turn his back on God. He lost his property, his family and friends, his health, and more. Because of Job’s faithfulness, God blessed him in the later years of life even more richly than he had before.

When the temptation to keep up with the Joneses is overwhelming, immerse yourself in these stories. Heavenly rewards reap a much greater benefit than any earthly reward.

Dear Lord,

It can be so tempting to compare myself to others. It is easy to be dissatisfied in a world of abundance. Please help me to focus my heart and soul on your plan for my life. Send your Holy Spirit to help me ward off the temptation to put material needs above the needs of my family.

I ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ.

Amen

Memory Makers: Summer Camp

Last week marked a big milestone in our home – my oldest had her first week of church summer camp.  I was interested to see how she would do with five full days of activities, but each night she came home exuberantly telling me how she climbed the giant rope ladder, did archery or sang funny songs.  On the last day of camp the families were invited to a special closing ceremony.  At one point during the ceremony they shared how many minutes that week the campers spent in meaningful conversation with Christian role models (300) compared to minutes watching TV or playing video games (0).

As I sat there I couldn’t help but remember my time as a camper.  Each year from seventh grade through twelfth I packed up my footlocker and headed to a week of Christian athletic camp at a nearby high school.  Those weeks are among some of the best of my life.  Through competition, discussion, mentorship and fellowship I forged some amazing friendships and saw what my relationship with Christ could be like.  I remember vividly the closing ceremonies we had at camp, the one we did before our parents came, where we worshipped together and cried as we knew that life at home was not the same as at camp.  At camp we were surrounded not only by like-minded Christians, but we were without all the pressures of regular life.  In this environment it was so easy to feel His presence in everything we did.

Listening to this closing ceremony I was so happy my daughter had the opportunity for this week of life changing experiences.  As a stay at home mom I have the opportunity everyday to engage with my children, but I must admit that there are days when the minutes watching TV certainly outweigh those spent in meaningful conversation and for many children this is probably a daily reality.  For those kids there is an amazing program designed to give those who wouldn’t have to the opportunity to go to camp just that.  It is called www.kidsneedcamp.com and their goal is to give 3000 kids a year the chance to grow in their relationship with Christ.   As for my daughters experience with church camp, she already asked if she could attend the overnight camp next year.  A week in fellowship, activity and adventure – I think I am ready to head back to camp!

www.hollyskeltonbooks.com

www.thelittleheartsproject.blogspot.com

Walking With Purpose
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I love children. They’re such a source of truth and inspiration. Life comes into focus when I watch them busily accomplishing the simplest of tasks. I so understand Christ’s love for them and telling us to be like them. 

My husband’s niece keeps the family updated with her creative blogging and photography of her two boys. She’s quite creative in her writing and captures great moments in word and vlogging. Today, wanting to just catch up on their lives, I opened her blog and watched her youngest son proudly displaying his walking skills. From the initial viewing and by the title of the blog you would think that’s all he was doing…walking. But, as the video progressed you realized he wasn’t just showing off his walking skills. He was walking with a purpose. 

The video opened with him shuffling his little feet from the dining room through the hallway down to his bedroom all the while holding a crumpled piece of paper and saying “cheese…cheese…cheese” ’cause he knew he was “on camera!” If that wasn’t cute enough, he stopped in front of an empty box, pulled back the lid and dropped the crumpled paper inside. He then shuffled his way back to the dining room, picked up another random piece of paper and repeat his journey two more times! He wasn’t just walking. He was walking with the purpose of throwing away the random pieces of paper.

It was a little task. Nothing profound to us but to a little 15 month old boy, it was a great accomplishment! He had a purpose! It actually brought tears to my eyes because I felt compelled, inspired to write. My purpose.

We all have a purpose. We all have little things and big things to accomplish but some days (like my yesterday) we may feel that all we do in life is meaningless. At times like that we need to go back to the One who gives us meaning and a purpose. We need to open the dialogue with Christ again and allow His truth and purpose to be spoken back into our lives.

Circumstances may either paralyze us or catapult us onto the next step of our journey God has laid before us. Don’t spend too much time being paralyzed. Seek for the Truth. Listen for his directions and go forth according to His plans. Walk with a purpose!

In Christ,
Dawn Aldrich/ @DawnAldrich
Author of Auntie’s House