What Did You Leave Behind?

#inspiration, legacy, identifyMy husband and I were walking on a path through the woods when we saw some animal scat in front of us. I wondered what kind of animal had preceded us. I hoped it was from a deer and not something more dangerous. In order to confirm this, I took a picture for identification purposes. I needed to know if this was a safe place for future walks.

Our initial guess turned out to be correct and my fears of a dangerous animal were alleviated.

The situation did produce some interesting questions, though. I wondered if I could be identified by the crap I leave behind.

Do my fears and insecurities leave a trail of chaos in my wake? Do my frustrations and anger cause turmoil for others? Does the garbage left behind let you know I was there? Am I walking away and expecting others to clean up my mess?

If that is the case, I need to make some changes. These are not ways I would like to be remembered.

Knowing I can be identified by what I leave behind, I want to leave a legacy of kind words and gestures that showed I cared. Smiles, laughter and stories of memories made together are the best evidence of my footprints in your life. My purpose is to inspire others by sharing from my heart to help them see their true value.

I think I’ll keep that picture of deer scat on my phone as a reminder of what and what not to leave behind.

I May Never See You Again

family, memories, tribute, auntMy beloved Aunt Evelyn passed away a few days ago. She would have been 98 in December and lived a long, full life.

To celebrate her life and the legacy of love and wisdom she passed on to me I’d like to share a couple of stories with you.

I clearly remember a conversation I had with Evelyn when I was a young mother. My ten-year high school reunion was approaching and I told her I was embarrassed to go. You see, many of my friends had gone on to higher education and were now nurses, teachers and lawyers. I’d married young and was a stay at home mom with two children. Would I be looked upon as unsuccessful?

My aunt pointed out the importance of my role as a mother who was involved in her children’s lives. She reminded me that as a Brownie leader, I was also building into other lives. By the end of our talk, I saw the value in who I was instead of thinking about who I wasn’t. One of my goals in life now is to help people believe in themselves. I wonder if it stems back to the encouragement I received that day.

Twelve years ago I moved to a different province and was no longer able to see Evelyn on a regular basis. Once a year I would make the trip back to visit. Although her health had declined in the past few years, her mind remained sharp. We enjoyed good talks and lots of laughter. At the end of one visit, she looked me in the eyes and said, “I may never see you again, but today has been nice, hasn’t it?”

It was a bittersweet moment with a wonderful lesson on enjoying the time we have today. Right now is all we can be certain of and we need to make the most of it. Give the hugs; pay the compliments, say, “I love you.”

This is how I choose to remember my Aunt Evelyn. I know that every time I practice living in the moment I will be honouring the memory a wonderful woman who freely shared her love and wisdom with me.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)

A Mother’s Legacy

#inspiration, mothers, loveYesterday was Mother’s Day and I was blessed to be able to spend time with both of my children and all seven of my grandchildren. They gave me the best gift possible, the gift of time together.

The young children hugged me, said, “Happy Mother’s Day” and went off to play. My husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and teenage granddaughters sat at the table and we talked and laughed together.

We were also blessed to have our daughter-in-law’s mom with us. The decibel level rose higher as we all enjoyed our time together. The evening wasn’t as much a tribute to motherhood as much as a celebration of life. Stories were told that didn’t always portray me in a favourable light, but that was fine with me.

My family knows that I’m not perfect. I learned long ago to laugh at my mistakes. After all, these make for the best stories!

This, in turn, gives my kids permission to laugh at themselves. One of the lessons I hope to have passed is, don’t take yourself too seriously.

Besides laughter, the other ingredient of our successful gathering was love. It is a beautiful thing and I never want to take for granted the love we share.

This legacy of teasing, laughing and loving was passed on by my mother. She taught us by example. Although she passed on many years ago, I know she’d be pleased to see us carrying on in the same manner. The lessons were well learned and my goal is to ensure they are passed on to future generations.

“Train a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not turn away from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 GWT)

5th Wheel Trailer

legacy, memories, Jesus, GodRecently my husband and I purchased a 5th Wheel trailer. When searching for the perfect one, we had more than our own immediate needs in mind. Having room to comfortably entertain family and friends was high on our priority list.

The one we chose has the name Legacy on it. While the name was not a factor, it is perfect for our purposes. Our goal is to create many precious memories while spending time at our Legacy with those near and dear to us.

In our first few weeks with the RV, we hosted two family birthday dinners and had our seven year old grandson there for a sleep over. He was thrilled to have that special time with us and kept commenting that he was our first overnight guest.

When I saw him standing close to the logo on the trailer as he “helped” by hosing off chairs, I couldn’t help but smile. This Legacy was already fulfilling its purpose by being the gathering place where new memories of loving times together are formed.

Every time I see the name on our RV I am reminded that the legacy my life leaves, is up to me. By thinking about how I want to be remembered, I will be more likely to act in a way to create that. Everything I do pales in comparison to the legacy that God has provided for me. He has given me the right to be one of his children. By my belief in Christ Jesus this gift was given. There is no greater legacy than that.

You are all God’s children by believing in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:25 GWT