Basics, Memories

Process Your Moments: Part 2

We move on and don’t process. Take in moments and don’t move on.

Deena Kastor, Bronze Medalist, 2004 Olympics

My fractured knee, meniscus tear, and Baker’s cyst made my plans to hike favorite trails in the Shenandoah National Park seem not only ambitious, but also foolish. While waiting for lunch the first day, I fell off a sidewalk and sprained my ankle. With determination, a carbon knee brace, and a makeshift ankle brace, my husband and I continued with our agenda.

What happened? An easy, one-mile hike that usually took seventeen minutes took over an hour. My husband and I sat longer than we walked. Our slow pace continued the following days.

The trail became our destination instead of an overlook or a waterfall or the completion of a trail’s loop.

We asked park rangers questions. We watched butterflies. We attempted to identify bird songs. We watched a doe chase—and then nurse—her fawn.

We studied trees and gave them suitable names.

We compared wildflowers.

Because of my injuries, we took in our moments. We processed. We savored. I declared our four days the best of our forty years of hiking

Do you have time to process?

See Here for Part 1.

Memories, Parenting, Sharing Stories

Stories Impart Value

Memories impart value. (See Here.) Recently, I pondered how stories are secondhand memories, and therefore, also impart value.

When my uncle showed me his train set, he told how he had constructed certain components—including failed attempts. Certain cars and scenes represented events in his life. The hobby also provided a distraction when he was depressed. His stories drove me to find appreciative new owners after he passed.

My uncle’s passion

Many of my uncle’s possessions, which I inherited, had neither memories nor stories. Who used the antique butter churn? What was the origin of the cast iron coffee table?  My brother recognized the cast iron cobbler’s stands and shoe forms as residing on my grandparents’ hearth before their death, but who used them?

With limited time and space, memories—both firsthand and secondhand—drove decisions. Based on my brother’s recognition, the cobbler stands made the trip to my home. Later research showed that my great-great-grandfather was a shoemaker.

Along the way, I learned I must tell others my stories about heirlooms. And ask for stories so I can make better decisions in the future. *

Are you curious about an heirloom?

*I’m perusing The Stories We Leave Behind by Laura Gilbert.

Family, Memories

Memories Impart Value

Along the way, I learned that memories impart value.

My uncle bequeathed me the contents of his home. As I packed china and depression glass and debated shipping furniture, my brother held out an item.

Is this the M&Ms dish?

“Yes,” I said without hesitation. I remembered its place by my grandfather’s recliner and the forbiddeness of snitching a chocolate morsel.

My brother remembered the too-loud clank of the glass lid when he was naughtier or perhaps braver than me.

I carefully packed the M&Ms dish, and later cried when another tried to claim it.

Look what I found.

This time my brother held out Rook cards, the same vintage as my parents’ cards.

The colored numbers brought back images of my parents playing Rook with their friends. Once, I got in trouble for peeking over shoulders and announcing a player’s hand. I felt like an adult when I was old enough to play Rook with my siblings.

My brother happily packed the Rook cards.

What made two objects—costing less than $20 each—priceless? The memories.

I wonder which objects my boys will eventually claim. (See Their Memories, Not Yours Here.)

Do any objects invoke your childhood memories??

Book Recommendations, Homeschooling, Memories, Parenting

Memory: Prime 1 and Prime 2

When I play a concentration game, why I do I remember the first card I turn over? Always.

Why does the first day of vacation stand out from the rest? Why do I remember my first child’s milestones better than his siblings? Or my first vegetable garden when I was newly married?

I learned the answer after my boys were in college. I discovered Summarization in Any Subject: 50 Techniques to Improve Student Learning by Rick Wormeli. 

Research proves that we remember best what we experience first, and we remember second best what we experience last—also known as Prime 1 and Prime 2. That is why pastors, teachers, and motivational speakers begin and end with memorable scripture passages or examples.

Along the way, I should have started and ended lessons with my major points. Even more, now I should begin and end my day with what is most important.

What is your Prime 1 and Prime 2?

Memories, Parenting, Photos

Picture of the Day

Are you considering new habits for the New Year? Along the way, I learned that regular habits sometimes—well, usually—disintegrated into irregular ones. I also learned that irregular habits can still be valuable.

When my middle son went to college, his younger brother urged him to take a Picture of the Day, POTD, and email it to the family. I thought POTD was our family’s acronym, not commonly used for Poll of the Day and, more accurately, Photo of the Day.

My middle son daily emailed a POTD the first two weeks, and then sporadically the rest of his college years.  

A Junior Year POTD

My youngest took POTD seriously his freshman year. POTDs dropped off during his sophomore year. Junior year was more accurately Picture of the Week—although still labeled POTD.  Senior year became Picture of the Month.

A Freshman Year POTD

Fifteen years later, my husband and I still have the thrill of receiving emails and texts with POTD in the subject line. The frequency and regularity have decreased, but the habit continues, keeping our family connected—and sometimes amused—over hundreds of miles.

Has an irregular habit benefited you? Perhaps, kept you connected?