Friendship, Memories

Wound Openers

We all carry wounds we are unaware of until they are bumped, or worse, smacked.

After a church acquaintance discovered that she and I shared a hometown, she innocently asked, “Did you attend Grimsley or Page?”

“Smith,” I said. A thirty-year-old wound opened, and I wondered what my face revealed.

The wound? One Sunday morning, my sister and I scoured the newspaper pages announcing new high school boundaries. We rejoiced to find our street assigned to Smith. My sister could return, and I could join her.

Hours later, a fellow middle schooler slunk into Sunday School lamenting, “I have to go to Smith instead of Grimsley or Page. Students at Smith are stupid and wear overalls and don’t own shoes and are excused to harvest crops… my life is doomed.”  

My classmates commiserated.  My teacher consoled. I kept quiet. I did comfort myself with my knowledge: shoes but no overalls, a modern mall under construction nearby but no farms.

I didn’t fully understand that I still bore the wound until asked “Grimsley or Page?” which implied, “Surely, not Smith.”

PS Patricia liked Smith, and we became good friends during Algebra 2.

Any wounds being opened?

Homeschooling, Memories, Parenting, Photos

Clutter? Photos Help

An experienced mom had learned how to fight the clutter battle, and I took her “take a photo” advice to heart.

My boys built Usborne Cut-Out models of a Viking town, Roman villa, Roman amphitheater, multiple castles, knights’ masks and more. They enjoyed their results.

However, you can’t keep that stuff around. When the models had served their purpose and then hung around a bit longer, I took a photo and we moved on.

Crusader Castle 2001

The advice prevented arguments and showed respect for the boy’s efforts. Not only did I have years of clean surface areas, nineteen years later, I have reminders of projects that would have crumbled and been tossed by now.

This system works today. My sentimental family members are more likely to toss something if they take a photo before parting.

Do you have a method for making it easier to part with sentimental items?

Memories, Parenting, Photos

Photos Add Perspective Part 1

We can be crippled by the stories we tell ourselves. Many of these stories are driven by deep emotions and fragile memories. How can we gain a better perspective? Our photographs can help.

I was recently told, “I never received attention after my younger sister was born.” This dear person proceeded to cite evidence based on a photo I had seen. I remembered the image but not specific details.

I flipped through an old album and found several pictures of two preschoolers sitting on the steps of their back porch. I scrutinized the image for the details cited as proof. They did not exist. The photo unequivocally showed the opposite.

I turned the album’s page and viewed picnic photos. The older sister was embraced by her attentive father while her younger sister played close by.

The enemy of our soul wants us to believe lies: that we are unloved, unwanted, and unimportant. Our children are especially vulnerable. Photos give us ammunition to strike back and protect truth.

Do you have stories that need another perspective?

Memories, Parenting

Together As A Family

Five of our family flew to Colorado Springs for my youngest son’s ordination as a pastor. That event was special enough, yet, the weekend was full of additional adventures.

Exploring Garden of the Gods, an awe-inspiring collection of rock formations.

Visiting the Air Force Academy, especially its architecturally beautiful chapel.

Driving through North Cheyenne Cannon—tight tunnels and a winding road so narrow that one car must stop or pull to the edge when encountering another car.

And much more: Watching the Preakness on the largest TV I had ever turned on—my mother-in-law’s favorite horse won; Catching snippets of Prince Harry’s wedding on the same incredible TV; Celebrating my mother-in-law’s 81st birthday.

On the drive home from the airport, I asked the son who had traveled with us to name his favorite event. His answer?  “Just being together as a family.”

It was a good reminder that while special activities can be valuable, just being together as a family is more so.

What is your favorite “Just being together as a family time?”

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!

Psalm 133:1a ESV

Holidays, Memories

Year End Review

The importance of organizing and reviewing family photographs on a regular basis is among the critical things I learned along the way. Photographic records of family history are precious for too many reasons to list here.

Three years ago, we spent New Year’s Day putting the finishing touches on our boys’ photo albums. They now have a visual record from birth through the beginning of college.

As we looked at photographs of events we had forgotten, I wished we had reviewed them on a regular basis. We could have savored the memories. Perhaps we would have implanted them more deeply by discussing the photographs.

‘I don’t remember going there’ are sad words to hear when a family vacation trip was important to you.

Organizing photographs on New Year’s Day would have kept the album work manageable. It would have also given us a family activity on a day that was usually quiet and unscheduled.

News Year’s Day is a time to look forward. It also can be the best time to look back in a practical way, one which will yield fruit for many years.

I implore you to spend time looking at and discussing your photographs with your spouse and children.