Saturday, June 15, 2024

Happy Faces. Happy Hearts.

 Below is the content of a blog post I created in June 2015. Enjoy.

Since childhood, I’ve known the song that says, “If you’re happy and you know it then your face will surely show it.”

I was reminded of that recently when I photographed children attending an event in our community. A few were “glum chums.” Others wore bland expressions. But some had such a radiance on their sweet faces that I was immediately drawn to them. They made my job easy, for I didn’t even have to try to coax a smile out of them. All I had to do was take the picture!

Regretfully, I failed to ask permission to post their pictures here. But if I could post them, you’d immediately see the HUGE difference a genuine smile makes. The eyes light up. The face is relaxed. There’s a warmth and a gentleness on it, which is so appealing.

So, I’ll post two photos: one of my Daddy, taken many years ago; and one I took of myself recently while seated near a window in our dining room. Like Daddy, I have a perpetual smile. Like him, I have a glad heart, even when life isn’t one big happy, happy. And, as the song says, the inner happiness (and joy, gladness, cheerfulness) shows up on the face.

A glad heart makes a cheerful face….

~Proverbs 15:13, ESV

Monday, May 27, 2024

Meaningful Memorials

In celebration of Memorial Day, American flags line streets in towns large and small. Flags wave proudly on the grounds of public buildings. Flags flap on residential lawns in response to gentle breezes. Small flags border a huge, raised bed near the front entrance to a nursing home near my house. 

Special ceremonies have been scheduled throughout the USA. Some desserts served at picnics or other gatherings will feature the red, white, and blue colors found on the American flag. Some towns host Memorial Day parades to commemorate soldiers who lost their lives while serving in the armed forces. Graves of the fallen have been decorated with flags or wreaths.

Because we live such hectic lives, we need special days, foods, and activities to remind us to remember someone or something too important to forget. That’s been true throughout the centuries. Even in Old Testament times, people were instructed to observe certain days and/or to construct a memorial of some sort to help them recall a person or an event that impacted their lives.

For example, the seventh chapter of the book of 1 Samuel mentions a memorial the prophet Samuel made from a large stone and placed between two towns. Its purpose? To remind all who saw it of how faithfully God had helped them and, by implication, would continue to do so.

Do you take time out of your busy life to observe Memorial Day and other special days, like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day? Do you have objects that trigger memories of important people and events? Do you pause to give thanks for them?

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, 

and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” 

1 Samuel 7:12-13, NKJV

Friday, April 26, 2024

Grief and Gratitude

As I write these words, today is day 116 since my husband passed away. I’ve felt particularly sad and lonely today, which happens when I stay home all day and don’t keep busy, busy, busy. Obviously, activities and conversations mask the grief. But, oh my, I feel the full force of it when I’m alone and not focusing on projects and other tasks on my to-do list. But sometimes I have no choice but to let my tired body rest.

To escape the grief, I went to visit a friend in a nearby nursing home. She was delighted to see me, for she deals with griefs of her own. I was happy to be with her. We talked of many things as we sat outside while relaxing in the sunshine and listening to the birds chirping as they flew among the branches of the trees and boxwoods.

When I returned home, I noticed the first rose of the season on the bush my husband had planted years ago. My heart filled with happiness when I saw it, thankful that the work he had done long ago was lifting my spirits. I looked around the yard and saw not one, but two, pink and white amaryllis blooms--bigger than my palm--with other buds in the background. Once again, I felt grateful for his planting them.

As with most things these days, even a happy thought of days gone by can lead to tears as I realize those days are gone. He will plant no more flowers. But I can enjoy the ones he planted, even as I brush away the tears

Every day, I see other gifts he left behind, each a reminder of his love. And I whisper a heartfelt thank you to him and to God who gave us many years together as husband and wife, years when we made wonderful, now bittersweet, memories.