The old coffee can received a new life in a kindergarten class back in 2005. First, it was painted white. Then a snowman face was painted on and a red felt cap added.
Our young granddaughter chose to present this wonderful gift to my husband and I. The cap had an opening in the back that was perfect for little hands to reach in, so we decided to turn the snowman into a special treat tin for our grandchildren.
They were not allowed to look inside the tin to make their choice. Instead, they would get what their hand chose. Sometimes the hands were in the tin for a long time as they attempted to feel every treat inside! This was the basis for many fond memories.
As our grandchildren grew, in size and number, the hat became unglued several times. Eventually, the snowman tin was retired and tucked out of sight in our pantry. I think we missed the game of guessing the treat more than the younger children did.
Not long before Christmas I brought out our special snowman and looked at the piece of masking tape on the bottom of the tin that still showed our granddaughter’s name.
The time had come to bring this gift back to life. My husband reattached the hat and we shopped for some special treats.
Our granddaughter has just moved out of her parent’s home and into her own apartment. When we presented her with the treat tin as a housewarming gift I could almost see the memories dancing across her mind. Her, “Oh, my gosh!” and big smile let us know the gesture was appreciated.
My hope is this tin will be a visual reminder of the sweet surprises life has in store for her and for her grandparents, who will always be there when she needs us.
It had been an incredible travel adventure. Our trip was much more than we had imagined or hoped for.
Now, after almost eight weeks on the road, it was time to start the long drive home. As soon as our van was headed west again, I just wanted to get home. And get there as soon as possible. I was anxious to return to the comfort and familiarity of my family and my permanent address.
One day before we were to arrive home, the conflict set in. Although I wanted to be home, maybe I wasn’t quite ready. There was still so much to see and do. I was weary of the travel yet not quite willing to give it up.
This change in attitude was confusing me. How could I reconcile my mind being pulled in two opposite directions?
On the radio came a song that spoke about resting in heaven when our work on earth is done. My conflict made sense when I could relate travel to my life on earth and going home to eternal rest and peace in heaven.
I wonder if I will experience any of this same conflict when that day comes to say goodbye to loved ones and enter my heavenly home. Will I feel ready to leave everything and everyone I know?
With only a few hours to go, I received a message from my son, asking if we would make it home that day. As soon as I read it, the earlier conflict disappeared. All I wanted was to see and hug my family.
I’m sure it will be the same when God’s son, Jesus, calls me home. There will be no hesitation as I hurry into His open arms.
“When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:3 NLT)
I have a granddaughter who plays the snare drum in a Pipe and Drum band. It was a thrill to watch her playing as she marched in a local parade. Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins all gathered along the parade route and cheered as she marched by in full Scottish attire.
My father would have loved this. He had a fondness for these bands. When I was a young girl, I was in a parade with my Brownie pack. My dad was given the task of taking photos. There may have been one or two of me but the majority were of the pipe and drum band! He would have been so proud to see a family member taking part in this activity. The only way it could have pleased him more would have been if she’d been playing the bagpipes!
Another granddaughter does Highland dancing. We have watched her in various competitions over the past year. The intricate foot movements and the swirl of her kilt show her dedication to Scottish traditional dances.
My husband was born and raised in Scotland. If I trace my family history back several generations, I also come across Scottish ancestors. We appreciate the desire of these girls to honour their heritage.
It also reminds me that as a child of God, I should be involved in activities that reflect this heritage. Do I honour God by spending time with him? Do I follow his example of loving my neighbour? Am I generous with my time and resources?
God loved me enough to call me His child and make me a member of His family. As such, my actions should reflect this heritage.
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! (1 John 3:1 NLT)
You are members of God’s family. (Ephesians 2:19 NLT)
Do you have any special Christmas traditions? Are there activities, outings or special foods that signify the season for you? They may have been carried forward in your family for years, decades or generations.
How easy is it for you to adapt to changes in your traditions?
I grew up in a home where we were able to choose one of the presents under the tree to open on Christmas Eve. When I got married this changed. My husband was of the opinion that all gifts waited until Christmas morning. It was time to form new traditions together.
When my children were young teenagers we would pick my mother up in the afternoon of Christmas Eve and bring her our house to spend the next few days.
She would come to church with our family on Christmas Eve. Afterwards, we would drive around various neighbourhoods admiring Christmas light displays. Upon returning home it was time for hot chocolate and cookies.
One year, my husband made us clubhouse sandwiches on Boxing Day. Little did he know this was the start of a brand new tradition! Boxing Day has been synonymous with clubhouse sandwiches ever since!
Some traditions change out of necessity. My mom is no longer with us and our kids now have families of their own. One thing has not changed in over twenty years. We may not all be together to open gifts or enjoy a turkey dinner on Christmas Day but nobody wants to miss out on our clubhouse gathering on Boxing Day!
It’s funny how something little like this takes hold and becomes such a big part of our lives. Tell me about the traditions that have become part of your family heritage?
Do you hear that sound? The Canadian Geese are doing practice runs and we seem to be in their flight path. Maybe you are, too.
They spend weeks practicing before they actually attempt their long distance flight. On occasion, we have witnessed a gaggle of geese on a nearby pond start to honk as two or three were landing. It was like they were cheering the others on.
Did you know that the reason geese honk from behind is to encourage the ones in front of them? Also, when the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back and another takes its place as the lead.
I could learn from their teamwork. It makes sense to take turns doing the hard jobs and to encourage those who are taking the lead.
The V formation geese fly in allows the whole flock to have a much longer flying range than if one bird flew alone.
Again, this can apply to us. When we share a common direction, we can get there faster and easier if we travel with others. Not only can we learn from those we travel with, I find it more pleasant than travelling alone.
A flock of geese is like a family. They look out for each other. As part of the family of God, I am instructed to do the same. What a wonderful world it would be if we took our cue from the geese and everyone worked together and encouraged each other.
“Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other.” (Romans 12:10 GWT)
Help carry each other’s burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings.” (Galatians 6:2 GWT)
I wasn’t sure exactly what it was in the box but knew it was unique and beautiful. The sculpture was a large circle with thick glass strands intertwining.
A card inside told me this was an endless knot, representing a never ending connection. It was also a symbol of eternity, harmony and endless love.
This lovely expression of endless love was a gift from family members. I have heard many stories from people who don’t have good relationships with their family. The object I held in my hands represented the blessing of the harmony that exists with my children and grandchildren.
Our lives are intertwined; each being made stronger by the connection with the others. This bond has been passed down through the generations.
As we draw near to Good Friday, the endless love of God is in the forefront of my mind. He showed his love by sending his only Son, Jesus, to atone for our sins and give us eternal life. This act of great sacrifice reaches to all generations, binding us together.
His love has no beginning and no end. He loved us before we knew him and paid the greatest sacrifice of all that our lives may be intertwined with his. For this, I am eternally grateful.
The Lord is good. His mercy endures forever. His faithfulness endures throughout every generation. (Psalm 100:5 NLT)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)
Recently I took an enjoyable stroll down memory lane. My husband and I were sorting through a box of old photographs. These were the kind of pictures where we didn’t know exactly what was captured on film until it was developed. Not like the digital ones today where we know exactly what we’re getting.
Some were better quality than others but all held precious memories. It was like having the lives of our children flash before our eyes. One minute they were babies, the next they were teenagers. Today they have children of their own. Stories and laughter abounded as we recalled events over the past few decades.
As I looked at the photos, I was struck as much by what was missing as what was there. When our children were little we spent countless hours with them. This is evidenced by the number of pictures from those years.
Just as we didn’t know how the pictures on the roll of film would develop, we also didn’t know how our lives would develop. There are chunks of time not accounted for in the photographic history of our family life. I like to think it was just the camera that was missing and not my presence in their lives. That may not always have been the case.
Time passes swiftly and looking at these pictures, I was reminded of the importance of quality time spent with our loved ones. My goal is to ensure the legacy I leave will be one of pleasant memories.
“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll
A couple of weeks ago I told you I was struggling between fear and adventure. I’m happy to report that adventure won!
The day of my big adventure had finally arrived. Why was I so calm? Shouldn’t I be nervous? The fear must be lurking, just waiting for the right opportunity to pounce.
Instead there was restlessness. I had the whole morning to kill and time was moving at a snail pace. Finally the time came to leave. I drove with my daughter and her friend while my granddaughter followed behind.
As we pulled into the parking lot at the small airport I said, “This is starting to feel real. We’re actually going skydiving!”
We checked in and were each handed a waiver to complete. If all the acknowledgements of danger and consent to absolve them of liability didn’t frighten me enough to back away, I figured nothing would!
We were soon given basic instructions and climbing into our jumpsuits. Goggles and gloves were handed out, harnesses attached and we were introduced to our tandem jump partners.
The anticipation built as we climbed aboard our small plane and watched the ground fall away beneath us. Soon my instructor was fastening himself securely to my back. As we reached 12,600 feet the door was opened and we inched towards it.
One second I had my feet on the floor of the airplane and the next I was surrounded by sky. There was no fear, no life flashing before my eyes. The sensation was incredible as the sound of air rushing past drowned out all other sounds and conscious thought. Here I was falling 6,000 feet at a speed of 200 km per hour with another adult strapped to my back! Then the chute opened and all was peaceful. The sensation was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
One of the highlights of this adventure was sharing it with my daughter and granddaughter. That’s right, three generations went skydiving together that day, and we all loved it!
After the jump my husband said, “Now that you’ve gone skydiving, what’s next?” My mind flashed to other adventures I’d been afraid to try. I smiled and said, “We’ll just have to wait and see!”
The city street had been closed to motorized vehicles. On this day it was being enjoyed by cyclists.
We were fascinated by bicycles that were designed for families. These shared the road with traditional bicycles and the occasional rollerblader. It was enjoyable to stroll down the wide sidewalk, observing people laughing and talking as they spent this relaxing time together.
Soon an insistent high pitched bark caught our attention. It was a Chihuahua in the front basket of a bicycle. Another dog in its line of vision caused the excited barking. As it strained forward I could see a leash attached from the dog’s collar to the basket, presumably to keep it safe inside. The dog’s master was stroking its head as a calming attempt as she cycled past.
Suddenly this dog jumped completely out of the basket. The leash kept it from reaching the ground and it dangled precariously from its neck for a few moments until the rider could stop the bike and rescue it.
I gasped and thought the silly dog had almost hung himself due to its excitability.
The next day this image popped back into my mind with the added thought that I have been just as foolish on occasion. In my excitement I’ve jumped before I thought of the consequences. If I’d stopped long enough to pay attention I would have recognized the hand of my master, Jesus, calming me. Instead, I was left in a precarious position as I called out for him to rescue me.
The best course of action I can take is to let Jesus be the one who steers my life. When I allow him to lead me I’ll never be left hanging.
I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. (Psalm 94:18,19 NLT)
Many years ago my husband started what has now become a family tradition. He made us clubhouse sandwiches on Boxing Day.
This has become so popular that our children have carried it into their own families. No one likes to miss this gathering together for a lunch of clubhouse sandwiches and an afternoon of visiting. The younger ones may not have acquired a taste for the sandwiches yet, but enjoy playing with cousins and snacking on everything else.
As I write this, my house is filled with the mouth-watering aroma of turkey soup simmering on the stove. We will savor this over the next few days while the remainder goes in the freezer to be appreciated at another time.
Why am I telling you this? It’s because I have come to realize that the enjoyment doesn’t end after the main feast is finished. There’s still more to look forward to. I have named but two of the ways we find to help this delicious meal last.
It is the same in life. I have worked towards a goal and once achieved, wondered if anything else could match this accomplishment. It was so rewarding that it seemed unrealistic to expect more.
As I look back over this past year I am humbled to see what God has accomplished in and through me. After one feast of blessings he has nurtured and sustained me as he prepared me for the next. I am confident that there will be more for me to relish. For now, I wait patiently and expectantly as I put my hope in God. I’m excited to see what he has in store for me next!
Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. (Psalm 27:14 NLT)
Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. (Psalm 25:4-5 NLT)