Category Archives: family

How We Honor Our Heritage

Have you thought about lately what you do with the treasures that others have buried inside you?

Quoting an often remembered parable “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

My mother’s love language was acts of service. Without any conscious purpose I have spent the majority of my life pursuing the following professions, military, police, and education. All of which gave me opportunities to help, protect, and cultivate. Now I’m taking the time to consider what it means to be my mother’s son.

One of her defining traits was fostering. Her grandmother showed her what that meant while raising her from infancy. As a child my mother practiced it with her cousins. As an adult she continued it with coworkers, friends and acquaintances throughout her life.

I am humbled by the daily experience where I engage in the same fostering my mother once did. This manifests as a cherished memory now. One I welcome with warm embrace. Thankfully, I have powerfully available visual cues to remind me of how my mother’s spirit remains present in her absence.

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It occurs to me that similar expressions will be born out in her other children, grandchildren, and those others whom she endowed with her loving legacy. There is a good sized list. My hope is that in the days ahead that we live without her, each of us still recognize how we operate as an extension of the seeds she planted within us.

What about you? Who do you think about? What do you remember? What do you see in your life that must have come from them? Will the idea of honoring the heritage they passed on to you bring you peace, comfort, or assurance? Will it bring healing and restoration? Will it help you bury your treasures in the right fields?

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Summer Travel

One of the benefits of travel is the experience of nature at its best.  The majesty of the sights, sounds, and feelings from sun, wind, and water.  Nothing compares.

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An example of this: The hike to Stewart Falls in Sundance, Utah.

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The location can be reached only on foot.

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You can then appreciate the reward for your effort, and the fulfillment of your anticipation.

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About 4 miles long, by setting your own pace most can make it.

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And you can bring your dog for added fun.

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Documentary: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, starring Fred Rogers

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Megyn Kelly TODAY

Documentary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, starring Fred Rogers

The film portrays the relationship between the educational children’s public television series Mister Roger’s Neighborhood (1968-2001), and its creator, writer, composer, and host, Fred Rogers.

The message of the show was simple. However the substance of the show was very deep and highly complex. A subtle irony associated with it developed around the observation that for some, the simplicity of the program may have masked the inherent brilliance from them. So they failed to appreciate the true value it had for children.

I find a parallel with the Biblical account of Jesus of Nazareth. Many of his messages appeared simple on the surface. Yet the substance of what Jesus communicated has astounded countless readers over the generations with its complexity and depth. Personally, I think that the reaction to what Jesus said tells you more about the person who forms their opinion, than it does about Christ. Comparatively, the same applies to Fred Rogers. Your reaction to him and his television show reveals more about you, than it does about the value of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

One of the takeaways for me from the documentary was how important the manner in which Fred Rogers acknowledged the dignity of each individual child was. Another was how selfless his commitment to children seemed to be. And another was the contribution he made to so many lives. There were more for me, but I’m focusing on these three.

Fred Rogers gave his total attention to children. He answered serious questions about life for them. He created an atmosphere where spending time together was more important than mindless humor, and he incorporated music to aid memory, create comfort, and impart joy. His respectful approach was unparalleled, and sadly, has not been replicated to this day.

One unique aspect of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is that while other educational programs focused on teaching reading, vocabulary and arithmetic, it focused instead on teaching kids how to think and mature as human beings, how to deal with the realities of life like friendship, responsibility, kindness. I’d imagine every key concept was covered short of income tax. Fred Rogers did this because he cared that TV could harm children if all it gave them was relative garbage (vis a vis the saying ‘garbage in garbage out’). I think it was his Christian calling, which speaks to his belief in practicing what Jesus preached.

He was determined to counter the mindless entertainment forced into homes and provide quality content for the benefit of children, regardless of the challenging circumstances or misguided critics, which often were too many. My favorite part of the film was when Rogers faced off against the U.S. Senate effort to cut funding for public television in order to put the money into the Vietnam War. The documentary is well worth seeing for just that scene alone.

The contribution Fred Rogers made to the lives of so many people is best exemplified by his statement that ‘you are special just the way you are’. He believed this about himself, and he was aware that so many children struggled in their childhood and later in life because of their lack of self esteem and the emotional and psychological handicaps inflicted upon them as a result. His legacy, generations of well adjusted people, is a testament to what he was able to accomplish because of this belief.

My Grieving Letter

Dear Fellow Sufferer,

I come to you with sad news of the death of my close relative. And while life does go on, I’ll never be the same. I want to say now that fact is accepted. For her life meant so much to me that the loss will forever change how I approach my world. However, I need to recover and eventually arrive to a place where I am thriving. That will take time, effort and help from people such as you.

How can you help? Your tolerance with me when you see me feeling bad, your patience with any unexplained anger I show can help me heal. Seeing you, gives me a chance to lean on your strength. I won’t ask you for advice. But when I of course do ask you, be assured that I won’t heed what you tell me, or even appear to appreciate it. I will appreciate your reaching out to spend time, visits, texts, phone calls. And when I don’t respond, I hope you use that as a sign. Seek me out when that happens because it will probably be when I am most vulnerable and need your help more.

Prayers are always welcome. If you ever feel prompted to share with me how loss has impacted your life I hope that you do. I believe it would benefit both of us. It may not seem like it by the way I look or act, but that’s okay, remember I’m grieving, and that often isn’t comfortable.

Let me close with words of gratitude and appreciation. Because each time you help me this way you will be acting out of love. That gift has more value than every other thing you might provide me. Thank you.

The idea for the grieving letter is from Recovering From Losses In Life by H. Norman Wright, who got the idea from Bob Deits, who wrote Life After Loss.

A Story about Mom

I am in a discussion group for the book Recovering from Loss in Life, by H. Norman Wright.  I believe we have much to benefit from reading and talking ala book club like.  I even created an online book club on Goodreads.com, though it hasn’t yet come to fruition.

Have you experienced good results from book discussion groups?  If so, to what do you attribute their success?  I feel determined to pursue them out of an expectation that the effort will be well rewarded.

At this stage in my current group, I am applying one of the questions in Chapter 2 – healthy things I will do to respond to my next loss – by writing about my mother.  Her late stage dementia is a loss I want to cope with.  So, for my healing, and for her honor, I am remembering some good times that she created in my life.  I’m quite sure some fond memories will be a safe destination.

Once upon a time…

My senior year in high school, we lived far enough away that walking from home would not work.  I had a zero hour (7am) class because I played saxophone in the performance band.  As a member of the cross country and track team for the school, my team workouts wound up anywhere from 5 to 5:30pm before heading home.

We could not afford for me to have car, and I did not have a job.  What did mom do?  I drove her to work by 6:30am for her job that started at 8.  After dropping her off I would head to school in her car.  After work, she would get rides home from co-workers.

This was our routine, done with no fanfare, with no big discussion about sacrifice nor any acknowledgment that anything was special or extraordinary.  It just was.

This example reflects a myriad of the shared experiences which she contributed in our lives.  The nature of how my mother treated life and family can be imagined, I hope, from considering her role in this story.  I love you mom.

Finally Understanding My Mother

Finally Understanding My Mother

1967

Like another lifetime

Yet the same lives,

My dad, your husband,

Is off fighting the war

In Vietnam.

Your thoughts are with him,

Wondering, is he safe?

Is he hungry?

Will he make it home?

Not wanting to think about it,

Not wanting to watch the news,

But worrying nonetheless.

My little sister wonders too

Though it looks like she’s playing

Making lines in the dirt

Like a meditation.

I stand quietly.

Thinking. Pondering.

Wondering how to help.

Maybe just standing by your side.

Is enough.

 

Now, I understand

How strong you really were.

https://joannaoftheforest.wordpress.com/2018/03/22/finally-understanding-my-mother/
— Read on joannaoftheforest.wordpress.com/2018/03/22/finally-understanding-my-mother/

My friend Ann died recently. On Mother’s Day, thoughts of her and other mothers who have left us.

Guest Post: A Look At John Kasich by Cindy Lee — LifeLove&Truth

The Medicaid expansion in Ohio helped 500,000+ of Kasich’s constituents, Saved many lives, provided healthcare to 40,000+ poor and unemployed VETERANS, provided drug treatment to keep people out of jail, Provided mental health treatment to thousands some of which would be in Jail, added thousands of new jobs to Ohio and boosted the economy. Kasich…

via Guest Post: A Look At John Kasich by Cindy Lee — LifeLove&Truth