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Thankful – As Time & God Allows

It’s been a ‘month of Sundays’ since my last blog, but time has just not been a friend to me in my blogging world!  I would LOVE to be able to post every day, but for now….only as time allows!

This Thanksgiving season as I thought about our fast-paced life and wallowing in self-pity for those things I desire to do that time doesn’t allow, the Holy Spirit reminded me that in every situation I should be content (Philippians 4:11-13; 1 Timothy 6:6.) 

Oh, I am not really wallowing in self-pity, although I have before, and I DO desire to do things that time doesn’t allow:
 – there are many books purchased of which I’ve not been able to peruse past the 1st page
 – many blogs I’ve posted in my mind simply because of no time to put it in type
 – giving my house ‘a lick and promise’… a promise to clean deeper the next time….only to have to do the same the next time
 – and blah, blah, blah…many others too numerous to count.

I have spent many days feeling guilty about not being able to see family more, but have had to come to the conclusion that we can do only what we can do.  The most important thing is to not waste energy on allowing negative thoughts to get a foothold but rather take advantage of those times we do have together and be thankful for them. 

This past Thanksgiving Day was the best year for me & my family so far.  The older I get, the more my mind wanders to the days of my youth and to those family members that have gone on to be with Jesus.  It warms my heart to reminisce and to remember from whence I came.  My heart seemed to reminisce moreso this Thanksgiving season than most.  As my mind roamed backward onto memory lane, I tried to capture, on film, more memories for future generations.

For myself…this is where it all started.
(photo by Chris Stalls)

This is a picture of my Granddad & Grandmother’s house.  In my mind, this is where ‘family’ all started.  We lived, literally, just a hop-skip-and a jump across the street from them. 

Kirk Morror & Oleta Clementine Frazier
(Granddad & Grandmother)

My grandparents loved with a deep love – an unconditional, God-fearing love – a love that ‘taught’ with warmth and gentleness.  I love the memories of the short time I had with Granddad and Grandmother.  (She passed away when I was 6 years old and he passed away when I was in Jr. High.) 

Memory lane took me to the front yard of my grandparents’ home where my brother, Darin, and I would ask Granddad, many times,  to take us to the store down the road.  He would take us….oh, but only if it weren’t “too fer & snakey” that day!  That just meant he didn’t want to go that day.  Sometimes my brother and I would beg so much that the trip to the store was worth it just to get us to hush!

This was the road to the store….maybe a mile away
(photo by Chris Stalls)

Granddad had a contagious laugh that came from deep down within.  It wasn’t a loud, roaring deep laugh, but one that used every bit of breath he had to get it out, shook his whole body, and made his shoulders go up & down with every breath.  I loved it!!  When Grandmother passed away, he spent a lot of his time making egg custard pies.  We would be his guinea pigs trying out his different ‘custard pie’ recipes.  They were actually pretty good!  There was a time when we didn’t have a TV growing up, and we would go to Granddaddy’s house after supper to watch it with him.  Sometimes he’d stay up late (7:00-ish?) to watch ‘The Jefferson’s’  & ‘Sanford & Son’ with us, but most of the time he was in bed by 6:00 or 6:30pm!  Even still, he would let us stay and watch his TV and would just tell us to make sure we turn off the lights and the TV before we left.  One time, for Halloween, he bought some hard candy.  The only problem with the candy was that it wasn’t candy; He mistakenly bought cough drops! 

Grandmother would allow us to do things that I’m sure she regreted time and time again!  She let us dig in the mud with her good spoons only if we promised to bring them back and not lose them. (I can’t tell you how many spoons I lost!)  I remember washing dishes a time or two and my feet, for some odd reason, started itching so badly that I couldn’t get them to stop.  I would run across the street to Grandmother’s and she would drop whatever she was doing and rub my feet until the itch went away.  (Now THAT is love!)  Grandmother was the one who taught me how to color inside the lines.  We would get off the schoolbus after school everyday and stay with my grandparents until mom & dad got home from work.  Grandmother always gave us an after-school snack, and even if it were a bowl of oatmeal, she could make that bowl of oatmeal taste like the meal of a king.   One of my fondest memories of my grandmother was hearing her belt out songs from the hymnal she kept at home; you could hear her all the way across the street!  She spent a lot of my days very sick with colon cancer.  She was not able to go to church as much as she wished, but she was faithful in singing her praises to her Heavenly Father!  I absolutely LOVE that memory of hearing her sing her favorite songs through that screen door, especially ‘What A Friend We Have in Jesus,’ which was her absolute favorite.

As our families were able to get together this Thanksgiving, and as my mind wandered down memory lane, I was especially thankful for being able to make memories for my children for them to pass down to their children some day. 

What a great foundation my grandparents gave to our family.  My parents have done the same for us, and I hope to be at least half the parents to my children that they were to me & my brothers and sisters.

Mom & Dad in later years
Mom & Dad in early years
My brothers and sisters
(Back Row, left to right:  Don, Darla, Delynn)
(Front Row, left to right:  Me, Darin)

Ya know, I have always hated getting my picture taken, even with my boys, because I don’t like how I look; but my sister-in-law, Lori, once told me something that I never forgot:  “These are memories you are making for your children.”  I am sure I will never, ever be satisfied with  how I look, and I would much rather create a memory for my children than to have nothing for them to look back on and be able to share with their children.  It warms my heart so to look back at pictures of years past and be able to remember those things so quickly forgotten.  I want my children to have the same.

I guess I get my love for looking at pictures from my mother; and I absolutely LOVE to take pictures as well.  Mom placed pictures of her family everywhere in her home, whether they ‘fit’ there or not.  She just wanted to show off her family, because she loved them so. 

The pictures on the wall still remain (in every nook & cranny as well), as my dad obtains the same love of showing off his family.

The ‘picture wall’ at my mom & dad’s home
‘The Wall’
poem written by my mother a couple of years before she died

As our families got together this Thanksgiving, we were able to get everyone in the same place for a family picture. The only one missing is my mom. Oh, how she would have loved to be in the picture!  But, no doubt, this picture will end up on the wall, somewhere in my dad’s home.

Dad, the patriarch, was seated in the middle with
the two oldest siblings, Delynn & Don, seated to his left & right
I promise to do better about not worrying about the time I don’t have to go visit family as much as I’d like, nor about not being able to do those things that I desire (that really don’t matter in the whole scheme of things anyway.) 

I promise to take advantage of the time God does gives me to do those things, and to savor every moment…and be thankful… as time allows.

Being thankful ‘as time allows’  doesn’t mean to just give thanks whenever you can squeeze it in.  It means to be thankful ALWAYS for the time that IS allowed and be thankful in ALL things and for every moment you get and be thankful with whomever you get to spend your time.  Be thankful as time, and God, allows you to do what you do, for we are never promised tomorrow.

Actually,  I am content. Yes, I do wish we could slow down a bit, but I am loving these years watching my boys’ independence take over as it should (although it’s bitter-sweet all the same!) and watching them develop into fine young men. I am loving the fact that I am more in love with my husband than the year before, knowing that our anointed marriage has continued to grow stronger in the Lord more and more every year.

No, there is not enough time to do all that my heart desires to do, but for such a time as this, I am thankful – and content – for the life God has given me.
I promise to be thankful…..as time & God allows.

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