Memories and Tradition

This weekend, my family will gather to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. Earlier this week, I pulled out the little cookbook, the one nearly as old as she is, with that pumpkin cupcake recipe that has come to mark her special day. The book fell open to that page. Stains from other years mark decades of use.

I thought of times I had made these cupcakes for school parties, church events, and these family gatherings.

I tweaked the recipe to include butter instead of margarine and with chocolate chips to make it my own. When they’re done, I coat them in store-bought icing with added red and yellow food coloring to make orange.

The children and some of the grandchildren are convinced that the color somehow adds flavor. “It tastes different,” they say.

Perhaps it is the savor of tradition and memory.

A series of autumns, seasons of life spinning past. Snapshots march through my mind of babies in high chairs, then booster seats. Time waltzed us through their teen years, their weddings, the births of their own young ones. And we wait with one of the young ones waiting for his second child.

Now there are new birthdays with new recipes and new traditions.

I think of my children’s laughter, how it is the most resplendent music to a parent’s ear, and the passage of time does not diminish its beauty. How it doesn’t matter how old your children are, you still feel joy when they laugh.

We get a picture of heaven as we sit around a table with our children, with their children (and their children) nearby. We listen to the laughter, the chatter, even the arguments. There are vignettes that exist in our memories, our conversations, those snapshots of our minds unfolding as we march toward eternity.

It occurs to me that God feels joy when His children laugh. When my friends and I were young mothers, older, wiser ones would warn us that as our children grew, so would their troubles. As we feel joy when they laugh, we also hurt when they hurt. And so does God. When we hurt, He hurts for us.

I cannot make heaven on earth because earth’s purpose is to prepare me for heaven.

The next season coming up is the one when we remember that God came to dwell with us. He was a stranger to earth. So are we.

In his book Heaven, Randy Alcorn quotes C.S. Lewis; “I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same” (456).

We are not there yet, but for His followers, there is joy in laughter and redemption of all our pains.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Confessions of a Piece of Dust

“Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being,” Gen 2:7. 

God took dust and made a man. We are the descendants of dust. Eternal souls housed in soil.

We are more than these houses. We begin and go on. and have no ending.

God has no beginning. Yet He became like us–of dust.

Glory to dust to glory again–resurrected, perfected. He walked a dusty way. And on the cross, climbed, then stood atop the mass of all our wrong steps and falls. Glory on a pile of mud and muck.

We are dust to dust. Walking a dirt road with peaks to climb. Later, we travel a new one. But it is one of our choosing. Glory or empty darkness.

People sometimes want to believe we are more than dust yet less than eternal. God remembers how He made us.

“For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust,” Psalm 103:14.

Sometimes as I stumble on the path, I remember I am dust. I cry out as dust to the glorified One. This piece of dust has fallen again.

Again.

The best part of life is realizing I am dust that glory forgives. And I am dust other dust forgives. They see my falls and hug me anyway.

I held too long my parents’ stumbles, blaming them for my own. Then I became a mother. I reached the age they were when I saw or felt their missteps.

I understood their confusion, impatience, exhaustion.

How steep were the great mountains they traversed. My own dusty hill road showed me how hard theirs had been.

How easy it is to be irritable. To watch my patch of dirt and not be mindful of others’ undeveloped trails.

My children walk their own craggy hills. Do they blame me for a jutting rock or glaring crevice?

I am dust who helped set their paths in place. I helped to shape or misshape them. They walk their own paths now, most of them leading others onto their paths.

We cannot alter the path of the past. Dusty moments become cement the instant we step past them.

But love is dust forgiving dust. Our own paths in the world make us bitter or happy. Our path, our climb, lies before us. Like our ultimate destiny, every day is a choice.

Choose to love the dust you encounter every day.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Welcome Fall

It’s finally come. The crisp cool air. We’ve had only our second wood stove fire. Warming our house instead of trying to cool it down.

The sun rises and sets earlier. I find that comforting. It draws me home to comfort and good foods. To hot tea and a peaceful solitude that feeds my spirit.

But this is also the time many family traditions kick in.

This week, my preparations continue for trick-or-treat night proceed in earnest. I plan to purchase several bags of locally made candy. 

For years, I’d forgotten that we have a candy factory right here. And buying candy there supports local jobs.

But I’ve already bought some candy from the grocery store this year. Just a couple of bags. Just for the grandkids. I found glow-in-the-dark packaging wrapped around chocolate. That’s perfect for the new tradition begun last year–the trick-or-treat scavenger hunt–conducted in the dark hallways of my house.

Last year, it was glowing paint on wiry spiders that I found on clearance. This year, the grandchildren can go hunting for treats.

Welcome fall. Welcome to this time for traditions and memories. And for new ways to make new traditions, new memories. What are some of yours?

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A New Season

We’re on the cusp of a new season.

It’s taken a long time this year for fall to arrive. In fact, the temperatures of autumn are not settling in until tomorrow. 

Most of the leaves are still green. A few are red or yellow. When the cold air finally hits, the colors should become vibrant and plentiful–unless we get wind and rain from the hurricanes.

If that happens, most leaves will just fall off in their green state. We may be moving from the balmy temperatures of summer to the grayness of winter without the beauty in between.

As cooler weather settles upon us, my husband will achieve his final day of employment before he retires to a small business venture. So it’s more like he’s switching jobs than finishing his career. 

Yet, it’s a new season. One we expect to hold shorter commutes, less travel, and more sleep. Certainly, it’s a season of change.

Sometimes change is scary. Sometimes it lacks color. Sometimes the colors are beyond our remembering. Always the God who turns our paths walks with us whatever the new way may bring. 

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Restoring the Shattered: Illustrating Christ’s Love Through the Church in One Accord now available in e-version on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Photo Credit: Pixabay