I got to travel back “home” again this weekend for another one of those precious times spent visiting with Mom. As I told in an earlier blog, Mom and I have found a special joy in taking at least one day of the weekend to re-connect with family members I have not seen in a while, or to re-visit places from my childhood. I so enjoy these flashbacks in time. It seems that as I have grown older, things have become more complicated, and time has become more valuable. It saddens me how little time there is to truly soak in the temporary yet priceless gifts of those dearest to us.
As I sat there with Randy curled against my side listening to stories about my great-grandparents, my great aunt, and my grandmother, I realized what a thin thread life truly is. We are but a spot on a timeline, placed here on this earth with only a brief moment in time to make our mark. It seems only yesterday I sat curled against my grandmother’s side visiting with her older relatives and listening to stories while vividly reliving each moment in my imagination. I could almost hear the echo of my grandmother’s joyful laughter as she lovingly held me close to her side. The smell her perfume and the feel of the clean, soft cotton of her dress against my cheek came flooding back to my senses. In these too few moments, felt I had reached an intersection in time. Watching Randy soak in the stories, it seemed in that moment I became congruently connected to my past, my present, and my future. I found myself wishing for some way Randy and I could go back in time and meet some of these good folks who passed on years before my birth.
After leaving Uncle Carney’s house, we went to another of my mother’s first cousins on my grandfather’s side of the family. “Uncle” Jett (again, it’s a respect thing) and “Aunt” Shirley met us out front grinning from ear to ear eagerly awaiting the visit. It was so good to see them once again and to be in their home after all of these years. Despite the fact that Uncle Jett has to rely on a walker to get around these days, his sense of humor and playfulness were as apparent today as they were 40 years ago. Watching him, I felt an overwhelming wave of loss remembering my grandfather Moore as I realized how very much alike they are. Aunt Shirley’s kind eyes twinkled welcomingly as we visited about times we all shared in the past and caught up on events of the present.
As the day slowly came to a close and the visits ended, an empty, lonely feeling crept into my heart. I felt reluctant to leave these moments behind. They come only once in a lifetime, and they are just that…moments. I found myself wanting to slow time and cling to each second. I watched Randy picking out his toy at the Dollar with store with the money my Mom, his Great-Grandmother had given him as a treat for being so good all day. This simple act served as a reminder that I am now in the process of creating memories for him, Hollie and Tripp.
Perhaps most important of all, I realized how blessed and highly favored I am to have the continuity of a truly wonderful family. The solid values and principles of my ancestors have carried down through the generations and stood the test of time, living on in these precious folks I had the distinct priviledge of visiting. My prayer is that God would give me a portion of their strength to carry this heritage forward. Thank you Mom, Uncle Carney, Aunt Shirley, and Uncle Jet for allowing me to share a few of your precious moments, and for creating memories I will always treasure.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
by Cindy Hester
So I woke up a little blue this morning. I’m not really sure why. Maybe my heart is still tied to memories my mind thinks it has already moved past. Have you ever experienced this? It is that feeling of something being wrong without quite being able to put your finger on the problem. I am beginning to understand after 51 years of being on this earth this is why we cannot rely on feelings alone.
I am not sure why I still let the imperfections of this world upset or even surprise me for that matter. I guess we are all searching for that ever elusive state of contentment, especially in our current troubled world. I am a peacemaker by nature, so whenever there is conflict anywhere…whether in the world, my country, on the job, in my marriage, within my extended friends and family…I somehow tend to feel this overwhelming need to make things right.
|Young soldiers at the airport in
Washington State about to be shipped abroad.
While I’m making confessions, I may as well tell you that I tend to be a people pleaser and a perfectionist…not with cleaning, just with work and my own actions. I can let others off the hook and even make excuses for their actions, but I can beat myself up for three days over something as silly as breaking my diet by eating that snack size Reeses (okay, so it was 6 snack size Reeses, but that’s not the point!) Plus, the more I try to be perfect, the more mistakes I seem to make.
|Perfetct Family Christmas Picture?|
While many of you women from the south are shaking your heads thinking, “bless her heart…,” I can hear my brother saying, “Suck it up Cindy. This is embarrassing!” What can I say? I tend to naturally be an anxious worrywart running around with my T-Shirt on backwards trying to keep everyone happy and constantly apologizing. I am not telling you this in an attempt to come off as a martyr. It is embarrassingly pathetic whenever I see it in writing. However, it is what it is, and I have to call this one as it is.
My husband, children, Mom, and siblings are probably asking where this sensitive, people-pleasing person is around them. They get to see the more honest side of me. What is so sad is they most likely end up getting the short end of the deal a lot of the time. What is even worse is that during my deepest spirals, God often gets the least of the best parts I have to offer Him. I get so focused on the shoulds – what should I be doing, what I should have done or have said, or what I shouldn’t have done or said, whose feelings I may have hurt, etc. – that it becomes all about me instead of about how God’s natural gift of love for others was meant to be.
My reason for sharing these wonderful truths with you? Only to let anyone else out there who may be battling with these or similar issues know they are not alone. We each face our own set of strengths and weaknesses. We each have some area where we reach our limits. God reminded me today that He created us this way for a purpose. Because we each have our own set of strengths and weaknesses, we become inherently dependent upon Him and upon one another as a human race.
No matter how much we wish it to be true, we are not meant to be totally self-sufficient. We are meant to be God-sufficient. It is in and through Him and His grace that we can truly be healthy and whole enough in our spirits, our minds, and our hearts to work together – and God knows we need one another. This world is not meant for perfection. God has been whispering this to my heart all along. In Jesus’s own words he says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
So no matter what your heart’s memory may be bringing to the forefront of your emotions on this particular day, you can rest assured there is a God who understands. He is able to bring us to a place of wholeness, and He can become our strength for those places of weakness we all possess. My prayer for us all today is to feel His presence, His peace, and His unspeakable joy no matter what shadows our feelings may be casting over us. God bless, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
|See the pounds go with SEGO!
This got me to reminiscing about other diet and weight loss products I remember seeing around in my younger days. Who could ever forget the infamous Ayds diet candies? I used to be bad about sneaking one of these “delicious” diet candies out of Mom’s box when there was nothing else sweet to eat around the house. (Can you say sugar addiction?) That is pretty sad when a sweet tooth gets so bad that a diet vitamin candy will suffice to satisfy the craving! I am really sad these aren’t still around since these would probably be my favorite “weight loss” product. Apparently their ad campaign, “lose weight with Ayds” never could recover after the disease Aids was discovered.
Wow! Life has been eventful to say the least. Over the past couple of weeks our family has increased by a daughter-in-law and a new little grandson. When God said “go forth and multiply,” my family took it to heart. It seems that every year we increase by at least one at the Hood Christmas. This year including my new little great niece, Abrianna, we have at least three new members to enjoy. (I say at least because the year is not over yet, and you just never know what may happen between now and then!) My Paw Paw Moore used to look at my Maw Maw chuckling saying, “just look at how much trouble this one little ring caused.” He would really be amazed if he could see us all now.
|Mr. & Mrs. Hester|
|Mr. Tripp Tyler Sheffield|
Life truly does slip by in lightening speed. Watching Ryan as he waited for his bride to walk down the stairs, my heart saw the man that he has become. A couple of weeks later watching my little grandson, Randy, being introduced to his little brother for the first time, my mind comprehended how much of a little boy he now is. Both instances stung my heart simultaneously with joy and sadness…joy for the blessing of knowing the good things ahead for both, and sadness that it had taken for too short a time to reach these milestones.
This knowledge struck me with how precious little time I have to make my mark on the lives placed in my path. As a young mother I felt I had forever to become who I needed to be for my children. But time has passed and here they are, all grown up and making their own impressions on this world. I failed many times as a Mom and a Step-Mom, and I am sure I will make mistakes as a grandmother and mother-in-law as well. My hope and prayer is that in the final tally of it all, when each of these precious ones God has placed in my life thinks of me, I will have lived my life in such a way that all they can remember is my steadfast, unconditional love.