What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Family Tradition (2011) ~UPDATED IN 2012 and 2016

11/22/2016:    Here we are, just a couple more days until Thanksgiving...and I was thinking about the wonderful times we had back at my old family home before my parents left this world for their heavenly home.  This post was originally written in 2011, updated in 2012...and now in 2016 we are still carrying on those wonderful family traditions.  It seems that OUR house has become the family gathering place for holiday dinners since our move out here to the woods in 2012.  The faces are sometimes the same as before, and then other years it may be a whole different crowd as the extended family establishes their own traditions with their inlaws and outlaws, etc....you know how it goes.  But some things never change...and that is the love that is shared between loved ones and friends, parents, children, siblings, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and special friends who are just like family.  The important thing is to be thankful for all that God has done...and to cherish every opportunity to be together.  Don't let anything mar your time together...politics (especially THIS election year), differences of opinion, broken relationships, unforgiving spirits, "religion", fads...or any other crazy idea that could hurt your special time together.  We never know when this could be the last time we will all be together...so put aside self...and embrace one another in love and peace...and give thanks with a grateful heart. 

11/20/2012:
THIS WAS WRITTEN THIS TIME LAST YEAR (2011) AS I WAS ANTICIPATING MY FIRST THANKSGIVING WITHOUT EITHER OF MY PARENTS STILL LIVING...THIS YEAR IS STILL THE SAME, BUT I WANT TO THANK THE LORD FOR THE WONDERFUL MEMORIES AND BEAUTIFUL TRADITIONS ESTABLISHED BY MY DEAR PARENTS AGAIN...THEIR LEGACY OF LOVE LIVES ON IN EACH OF US...

Psalm 103:17-18  “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them.”

Back during our ministry days we spent many holidays far away from our extended family due to the distance involved to get back home, and also the fact that our place of ministry often required that we stay close by to participate in the holiday activities of the church.  Once our own children began to leave the nest  they weren't always able to get back home to us for all of the holidays.  Therefore, we often either invited local people to our home for the holiday meal, or we were invited to spend the day with others in the area. 

After spending one such Thanksgiving Day at the home of distant relatives who happened to live in the same area, and without all of our own children at home with us,  I made note in my journal that everything was wonderful, “but somehow something was missing…I guess the familiar traditions of my own family dinners.”  I went on to say,

“What is it about us humans…we have to have things just the same year after year to ‘feel right’?  We are creatures of habit and tradition, and in many ways that is good.  It gives us security and warm cozy feelings…happy memories to share with our children and grandchildren, a link to our heritage, even all the way back to Adam and Eve. 

Actually God established traditions, customs and holy days for His people so that His truth would be passed down from generation to generation.  Because of this heritage we have learned God’s Word, and have heard of His great love for us all.  So, all tradition is not a bad thing when it is used properly.”

My Mom and Dad...Our Last Thanksgiving  all together in 2005

The family guys all playing a new game..."Cornhole"...
that's the name, honest!

I guess I am waxing a bit nostalgic as we approach Thanksgiving next week (! Already?) Since the passing of my father this past spring, this will be the first Thanksgiving that we celebrate without both of my parents.  Tradition runs deep in my family, and so much of our annual rituals and  activities were learned in my parents' home.  That particular house is no longer available to us, as we closed that door on that home this past summer and turned the keys over to another family, and after over 54 years of my family living there, it just seems very strange that I cannot go back and walk right in the door and hug and kiss my parents and smell the pies baking and the turkey roasting and hear the mixture of laughter ringing in the hallways and the mixer whirring and a fire crackling while Lionel Trains were chugging around the track entertaining the young and old alike.  There will be no men,(my brothers, husband, brother in law, sons or my father) calling to each other out back while playing horseshoes, or little children running in and out the back door and someone yelling at them to close that door because they are letting all the cool air out (or in, as the case may be).  There will be no women, (my sister, sisters in law, nieces, aunts, grandparents, cousins, or my dear mother) busily setting the table, peeling or mashing the potatoes, washing the dishes, arranging the table centerpiece, finding the best dishes and serving spoons, counting the places at the table and figuring where on earth everyone is going to sit. 


Family

More family


and more family

The family was gathered together to start saying goodbye as
some were leaving for home...
No, all these memories will just have to remain here in my mind...I can picture them all vividly as I write this. I can hear their voices, see their faces, and remember how precious they all were to me.  I wonder if I ever stopped to realize that when they were still present?  Probably not...I was just too busy enjoying the food, fun and laughter to allow myself to think that it would ever end.

So now I have to face the fact that it is the time to move forward...begin anew with our own families, friends, and traditions.  It will never be the same again...but that doesn't mean it all has to end.  Now is when we pick up where our parents left off...and establish the memories that will someday carry our children and their children on to their own homes and futures. I guess one could say that this is definitely a case for "Closed doors, Open Windows"....

Yes, next week will certainly be different for me, and I am already shedding a few tears just thinking about it. I know that life will go on, and we will continue to celebrate year after year, welcoming new faces and traditions...but we will carry the memories of our precious loved ones in our hearts always...and pass on the treasures of our wonderful heritage to any who will listen.

My Dad, Playing Horseshoes back in the good old days...
Now THAT'S a picture I'll NEVER forget!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
..cherish the moments together...
make every minute count! 
Laugh, Love, and Live!!!



19 comments:

  1. I am so sorry sweet lady, that your heart is feeling like the holiday may be a hard one. I know what that feels like (as you know) and I will be praying that you and your family will enjoy finding new traditions and new ways to enjoy one another through laughter and family stories.

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  2. Thank you,Dear "comrade in faith" and in many other ways...Yes, I know you will also be adjusting to the changes in your family as well. It is a kind of closed door...and an open window into the next round of passing on the torch to those who follow us. You will also be in my prayers as well. Again: Laugh, Love, and Live!!!

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  3. Dear Aunt Pam,
    I didn't see this until today, but I'm glad I found it on your blog. You are a wonderful writer, and you captured so many of the emotions we are all feeling this holiday season. We miss Grandma and Grandpa so much, and hold all of our memories of holidays past with them close to our hearts.
    Hugs and love,
    Sandy

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  4. Pam,
    thank you for sharing with Scott & I a few months ago about that Thanksgiving we spent with you & John in Haviland. It, too, is one of our best memories of Thanksgiving. I would love to catch up, but I don't have your e-mail address...

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  5. Also, I pray that wonderful memories of your father will be of comfort.

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  6. I am sorry to hear of your dad's passing. I lost my dad almost 4 years ago now. He always came over and ate Thanksgiving dinner with us (my mom has been gone for almost 30 years.) The first Thanksgiving we had after he passed away, I put his picture on the dinner table so that he could still "be there" with us.

    I hope you did have a nice one despite your loss.

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  7. I am just finding all of these comments a little late! Thank you dear friends and family, for taking the time to read and comment. Now we are getting ready for Christmas, and working through all of those memories as well...thankfully, they are pleasant and happy memories, which I will always cherish. God bless you all!

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  8. Dear Pamela,

    About 30 years ago, when I was working in the hospital - there was an elderly woman who was recovering from surgery to whom I offered a sleeping pill - she declined saying: "I don't need a sleeping pill - if I can't sleep, I have lots of wonderful memories to review"

    I have always thought that was such an optimistic way to look at life - and memories.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Hugs

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    1. Yes, Mary, that is a very positive way to view life. My father was like that. He lived for his memories the last few years of his life, and wanted to share them with any of us who would listen. I loved hearing his stories from his childhood and youth and earlier years. I learned more about my Dad during those last couple years of his life than I had learned in all the years prior. It is a blessing to be able to learn from our elderly loved ones while we can. Thank you for your visit. I've missed you.

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  9. This post is so beautiful and full of tradition (yes) and love. Family is what life is about and to be able to share the love, the memories and to pass along traditions is just the best. So well documented and thanks for sharing part of your heart with us!

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    1. Thank you, Terri, for listening! We all have our precious memories and tender moments...the holidays tend to bring them out...they are the foundation blocks upon which our families are built. So no matter how large or small our gatherings, we need to make it count!

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  10. Now you made me cry! :(
    Love you---see you Thanksgiving day!

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    1. I love you too! Looking forward to sharing our family traditions together again. We have to carry that flag forward!!! See you very soon!!!!

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  11. Beautifully written, so very true, and I believe many a family could say the same too! I pray your Thanksgiving this year is blessed in a very special way!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, our traditions are the building blocks for our family heritage in many respects. May your day be filled with happy memories and many blessings.

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  12. What a beautiful reminder of what's really important.....love and family. So grateful for mine! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, precious Lady!

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    1. We have so much to be thankful for when we stop and count our blessings. Praying that you and yours have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving as well!!

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  13. I can surely identify with your nostalgia...how certain memories just stand out...like your Dad playing horseshoes. It's good to have traditions and some 'sameness' each year, even with the passing of our loved ones. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

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  14. Pam: We have has to change our Thanksgiving dinner to Saturday. Our son has to work on Friday. I served people at our church's Thanksgiving Dinner for the Community. I couldn't do it last year due to my stay in a nursing home. It is a special time for our church.

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