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Posts Tagged ‘memories of home’

Last week, our three grown children, their spouses, and three granddaughters gathered here–in one place, at one time. Even Steve’s sister and brother-in-law were able to join us for a day.  Such gatherings do not happen often.

 

(Left side, front to back:  1. Steve, 2. our younger son, Jeremy, 3. our daughter, Heather, 4. her husband, Tim.  Right side, front to back:  1. Steve’s brother-in-law, Bill, 2. Steve’s sister, Karen, 3. Tim’s and Heather’s daughter, Sophie, 4. Eric’s and Hilja’s daughter, Elena, 5. Eric’s wife, Hilja, and 6. our older son, Eric.  Not pictured:  Jeremy’s wife, Nancy, and Eric’s and Hilja’s baby daughter, Maarit.)

 

For Steve and me, the greatest pleasure in life is the opportunity to enjoy our children– what King Solomon called “God’s best gift” (Psalm 127:3 MSG).

He went on to say:

 

How blessed are you parents,

with your quivers full of children!”

–Psalm 127:5 MSG

 

And what is a quiver-full?  Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Seminary explained years ago that, in Bible times, a quiver most often held six arrows.  Thanks to our three children who chose their spouses wisely, Steve and I now have a full quiver–with three little arrows as well.

Oh yes, we are blessed, and always count down the days until our little clan can gather once more.

Even four-year old Elena reveled in the long-awaited together time.

 

Sophie (8), Maarit (3 months), and Elena

 

During the week, we  visited several parks with playgrounds…

 

 

 

…and even explored the zoo on Wednesday.  But perhaps some of the sweetest memories will be those associated with home…

 

 

… such as one afternoon at Eric’s and Hilja’s, catching up with one another and playing games.

 

 

(Jeremy and Nancy)

 

 

 

There were fun moments at Nana’s and Papa’s house, too.

 

 

(The Night of the Big Sleepover)

 

Now these moments are treasures to hold close in our hearts–not so much for what we did as for who we were with.

 

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;

They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

–French novelist, Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

 

 

How fitting that, as the landscape blossomed last week, so did our souls–because of a family who make us very happy.

 

*      *      *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

I thank you, Father, for the joy of doing life with this particular group of folks.  We may not live in close proximity, but because of you, our spirits are intertwined.  Every opportunity to be together is cause for great celebration.  And we praise you for the gift of recollection, so beautiful moments like these may live in our hearts forever.  

 

 

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Home-is-the-nicest

(“Home is the nicest word there is.” –Laura Ingalls Wilder)

Five years ago, as Steve and I looked ahead toward retirement, the question of where we should spend those years had no easy answer. We’d lived in Florida, in six different locations over forty years.  We were ready for something different. Tennessee or even Kentucky appealed to us, where we could enjoy new vistas, the change of seasons (although not too severe), and best of all, be within a four-hour drive of our sons.

Lots can happen in five years. Our older son, Eric, and his wife, Hilja (Hill-ya) became a family of three.   During one visit they asked, “Where do you think you’ll retire?” We shared our tentative plans. “Well, if you’re going to move that close, why not just move here?”—here being Cincinnati, Ohio.

We hadn’t even considered moving so close, not wanting to impose ourselves on either of our boys. Nor had we thought of making our home so far north, back in the Midwest where we had grown up. But family (and especially that new grandbaby) was a strong magnet.

daddy-daughter-dance

So, Steve and I now hail from Cincinnati. And it’s a glorious privilege to watch little Elena grow, and spend much quality time with our sons and their wives. (As I’ve said before on this blog: If only our daughter and her family would move here from Washington State, life would be perfect!)

But moving back to the Midwest has been a coming home in other ways. We’ve reveled in familiar experiences from long ago:

  • The miracles of transition from one season to the next
  • The grand oaks, maples, and elm trees spreading wide through our neighborhood, over some of the streets, and in the numerous parks
  • The dance of the fireflies on a summer evening (Hundreds of them blink in the trees behind our house, resembling a Christmas display.)
  • The explosion of color on the hillsides as summer gives way to autumn
  • The silent beauty of a snow fall, especially as the accumulation creates frosty lace among the trees
  • The heavenly fragrance of lilacs in the spring
  • The clean scent of freshly cut grass (Florida grass produces no scent at all!)

Even the common robin causes delight as he hops across the lawn, pauses, and cocks his head to listen.

AmericanRobinBirdTurdusMigratorius

There is something heartwarming about home—the way we respond to the familiar and to the memories that surface.

Memories are the crucial element, aren’t they. Surely if Steve or I had experienced great difficulty growing up, our reaction to this Midwest relocation would be much different.

But both of us grew up in strong Christian homes—such a wondrous privilege. And most of our recollections are positive ones. We associate the word home with peace, security, acceptance, and love.

I wonder…

…when we enter the gates of heaven, will we experience a similar warming of the heart? Will we almost burst with elation to realize that we’ve finally arrived in our true forever home?

maxresdefault

At last we will be in a place of:

  • Perfect peace, with no strife or harsh words (Revelation 21:4)
  • Total security, because we’ve reached our eternal destiny (John 6:37)
  • Complete acceptance by our Heavenly Father (Romans 8:1)
  • Absolute love, to be expressed over and over in countless ways, forever and ever (Romans 8:38-39)

As I enjoy all the beauty of God’s creation in this corner of the world, and glory in the companionship of family, I want to remember: these are just glimpses of the wonders that await!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

What glimpses of the wonders-that-await do you enjoy? Tell us about them in the Comments section below!

(Photo & art credits:  www.quoteswave.com; Nancy Ruegg; http://www.greenwoodwildlife.org; http://www.youtube.com.)

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