When I was younger, I didn’t pay attention to the stories my grandparents and parents shared about family, but the older I get the more I wished I had. I’ve come to appreciate all the generations of people who came together to make me who I am. Reading this chart on Ancestral Mathematics was a great reminder.
Not only did it get me thinking about my immediate family but about those who are nameless to me. I started looking through some old photos, which I love to do. I wish I knew all the stories behind the pictures.
The conclusion that I came to was that a lot of people are part of my story. It’s a bit mind bending.
The next part gets a bit trickier with eight great-grand parents. I have photos of two and several great aunts. I’ve learned my great grandfather on my dad’s side owned a large ranch in Texas. The rest of those numbers are names only for me.
No matter how I look at it I didn’t just happen. A lot of unique individuals went into the possibility for me to exist. And just because I love old photos here are few more of family and those I love.
My mom and dad as kids.
My great grandfather, his wife and two daughters and son who is the baby. He was my dad’s father. I think you get the general idea.
Which brings me to me, my siblings, and the math goes on.
Seniors in high school and yet to meet.
You’ve got to love the magic of life. We are all connected and not as different as we like to think. In a world that often can be mean kindness matters and love wins.
I found myself walking into 2022 with nervous trepidation, feeling exhausted, and bruised, Yet at the same time, more in touch with who I am. Who would have thought that lockdowns, the loss of several friends from a virus that is relentless, and a couple of scary health issues in my family would change my ideas about what normal should look like? It changed everything.
I’m amazed by the strength of human resolve in fighting the battle to live. I know a few people waging that war right now, and I’m inspired by their courage. They remind me of the fragile, precious gifts of living, loving, and being loved. And that life is more about how we treat others than having the most possessions. Our real legacy is leaving our world a better place because of how we lived. Be kind to others, life’s battles are often tough.
Life is short even when it’s long. And though we often pay more attention to the externals it is the internals of the heart that we memorialize. People are remembered most for those qualities that are seen beneath the surface only visible in how they walk among us. It is those qualities that invite us to honor and applaud a life well lived.
I’ve chosen to slow down, breathe in the wonder, and not let my love for someone go unsaid. In an often angry, but grieving world, I want to practice kindness, gratitude, and listening. And I also want to learn to savor life’s little surprises when they come my way.
“Step with care and great tact and remember that life’s a great balancing act.”~*~ Dr. Seuss ~*~
My year ended with a memorial service for a couple who died from Covid two weeks apart. It seemed befitting in some ways that they died so close together. You couldn’t say one of their names without saying the other in the same sentence. I’m sad to say that the new year has started off the same way with the loss of two special people who share their own space in my heart. I feel richer for knowing them even if for the moment I must grieve their loss.
There is a strange tension that pervades human life. On the one hand, we are encouraged to open our lives to people and to love and be loved but on the other hand with that openness comes great loss and a deep void when they are gone. It makes for some happy and sad times in life. Times when we must ask questions and be reminded again of what is important and what’s not.
The older I get the more I understand how fragile life is. Every day is a gift to be lived with all the gratefulness we have. Some days are harder than others, but it’s nice to know that love is always present and to be loved is one of the greatest gifts. Love brings hope with it; hope that though weeping may endure for a season that joy will come again.
From the beginning of our life to the end so many people, moments, and circumstances come together to help make us who we are. All the things we have experienced are woven into who we are and are becoming. We can’t go back, we can only move forward one day at a time, one step at a time. Hope is what propels us forward and keeps us from giving up.
In the end, hope has helped me to see that though my heart is broken at the moment I will continue to dance even if it’s with a limp in honor of their lives.
I love this time of year. What’s not to like about Christmas lights, festive decorations, and family gatherings? Several of the ornaments on my tree have many memories attached to them. Some of my favorites were made by kids and grandkids. A few were made by my sister who is no longer living, and others belonged to my mother and grandmother and were passed down to me. I love the memories that come to mind when I bring out the boxes and hang each one on the tree.
After the past couple of years, this year has me cherishing these memories more than ever. I lost two friends recently to Covid which came as a stark reminder of how fragile life can be. I’ve made a choice this holiday season to pause and enjoy those memories as they come even if they come with tears.
This Santa music box was a gift from my sister. Every time I see this little guy, it gives me hope that love always wins in the end. We shared a room growing up that literally had a line drawn down the center of it. The only free area was a path to the door and the closet that we shared. She couldn’t come on my side and visa-versa. Doing dishes every night was a test of my parent’s patience. We fought over everything. I don’t remember how it happened, but at some point, we became best friends. We talked each day though she lived in Missouri, and I live in Colorado. Love can truly break down the walls we build, and now I miss her every day.
I think this statement by Bianca Sparacino sums life up well. “You will hurt, and you will be hurt. However, you will also love, and you will be loved in the most magnificent ways. To live life is to understand that together these extremes thrive within us.”
Life can be hard, and messy, but equally amazing and wonderful. At times it is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, but I’m grateful for each day that I get. Though life has led me down many different paths, some full of light and happiness, and some dark and sad, I haven’t forgot those who I have loved along the way. Their place is etched in my memories and their footprints are in my heart.
Every day is a gift. Loss and separation are not easy. This quote by W. S. Merwin has given words to very real emotions. “Your absence has gone through me, like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color.”
“It is in the shelter of each other that people live.” Irish Proverb. Wishing you each a joyous Holiday Season filled with moments to savor and a very Happy New Year.
There are many voices that clamor for our attention. Not all of them have our best interests in mind. As a matter of fact, I doubt that many even think about us at all when they make their often outrageous claims about their products, or beliefs. Or even what the impact of their words might be upon on our lives. It took me many years to understand that I needed to watch what they do and not just what they say.
Growing up I was one part sunshine and another white tornado. I gave my mom all she could handle. Her actions showed me every single day what real love looked liked. Even when I wasn’t the easiest of kids to raise she never gave up on me or wavered in her love. I was strong willed, which is an understatement. Because of my mother’s actions I tend to look beyond mere words to what a person does. She tried her best to convince me through her actions that I was enough.
I admit for a few years I got lost in other peoples’ ideas and expectations of how I should act and live. Wanting to fit in or at times to lead the way I learned to play a part. Over time it was eye-opening when I began to see that most of those telling me what I should do didn’t believe or live their own words. Often I didn’t either.
Having spent many years of my life being told who I was, who I should be, and how I should act it was a great moment when I awakened. Not an easy task by any means. It meant deconstructing who I’m not, so I could simply become who I am.
Being honest with yourself is never easy, but it has simplified my life, and my faith. I’m happy to show by my actions or in some cases my characters actions who I am. You will find a part of me in every book that I write. I won’t tell you where but maybe you can guess when you watch what I do.