Monthly Archives: January 2012

Seeking a House to make a Home

We have spent the last few weekends looking for a house on the east side of the city of Rochester. Our families reside on the east side and we are the only ones to the west. It is our hope that moving closer will help to encourage closer family ties and more frequent visits.

I say we are seeking a house because that is just what it is. A house is a structure of wood, metal and stone. It can be elaborate or simple. We are looking for a house that clicks with our personalities. I am seeking a house with excellent structural integrity that might need some cosmetic work, as I would want to add my own touches anyway.

Here in Holley, we painted our kitchen yellow with green cabinets and white cabinet doors. I painted flowers on each of the 22 cabinet doors, each one unique. It was a labor of love. There is no other kitchen exactly like it. The dining room was painted  teal with a lighter teal sponged over it. On one wall cherry tree limbs with blossoms were painted in metallic paints with glittery butterflies and Chinese characters for love, peace and prosperity. These touches turned the house into a home, as these projects were meant to bright beauty to those I loved that dwelled within the walls with me.

A home is not made of walls, it it made of hearts. Christian Morgenstern said, “Home is not where you live but where they understand you.” I believe that to be true. That is why some people feel more at home at their workplace or at their friend’s house. Home is where love and acceptance abides. Mother Teresa was quoted as saying “It is easy to love the people far away.  It is not always easy to love those close to us.  It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home.  Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.” Of course, there are times of stress and strife in a home. We should do our best to love and appreciate those in our family and our lives.

A cute little anecdote from Barbara Johnson reads as follows: Once a reporter stood in front of a fire as it consumed a house and then he turned to see the homeowners and their little son watching it burn.  The reporter, fishing for a human interest angle, said to the boy, “Son, it looks like you don’t have a home anymore.” The little boy promptly answered, “Oh, yes, we have a home. We just don’t have a house to put it in.”

You can build a house but you have to make a home. As in any close relationship, it takes continuing effort to keep it strong. The same applies for making a home a place of peace, joy and respite. I will miss the house we have now. I enjoyed adding the loving touches to the house and look forward to exploring my artistic impulses in the next house.

It is my hope that you are warm and safe in your own home. Take care.

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Come ‘n Get It!

We enjoyed a nice dinner with family last night at TGI Fridays. Theresa was provided a gift card from her work as a reward. She offered to take the family out for dinner which was even a greater reward. Three different households were together at one table.

Family meals have always been important to me. I recall, from my youth western, movies where the cook would walk out of the ranch house and ring an iron triangle hanging from a post rafter and yell out, “Come ‘n get it!”

I was raised on a farm, so there was always work and we were very often away from the house. My mother would bang a large metal pan to signal us. It was always a welcomed sound. Family meals were a way to cement our relationships, share news and concerns, and enjoy each other’s company. It was even more special when my father was there.

Theresa did not eat breakfast when I first met her. I am glad to hear now that she has come to enjoy eating breakfast and sharing the morning meal. I enjoy cooking breakfast which is not only the most important meal but my favorite as well. We start each morning with a prayer of thanksgiving and then our meal. This reminds us to be thankful for all the blessings that we have and the ones that we will have throughout the day.  We also have dinner each night with a prayer of thanksgiving as well.

It is a hectic world that we live in. Many family meals compete with school activities, social events, and hanging out with others. I would guess that some families might not have a family meal together even when they are all in the house together. We meet at our table with the television turned off. This gives us a chance to connect with each other. We talk about the events of the day. We discuss the interesting things that we may have read, seen or listened to. We share our schedules. We offer support to each other if there are concerns or worries.

Family meals are not a cure all, but there are many positive effects. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) of Columbia University found that the more often children have dinners with their parents, the less likely they were to smoke, drink or use drugs.  CASA found that frequent family dinners make a difference.

The family meal is a great place to teach kids manners. A skill that may prove extremely useful when they enter the world on their own. When kids are involved in the preparation and cleanup, it teaches them valuable skills that they will need to take care of themselves and others.

Most of us realize and enjoy the importance of holiday meals, like Thanksgiving. This type of joy can be found everyday in simple meals, whether home-made or take-out. It is important to spend time with our families. Come ‘n get it! Food, love, support, companionship, you can have that and more during the family meal.

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God’s Healing Spirit

In services today, there was a laying on of hands and prayer for healing. I sincerely hope that the service brought comfort and healing to those involved. I have been suffering from chronic pain for many years. Most of my pain is from arthritis with some nerve pain caused by taking statins. The gabapentin that I take for the nerve pain helps me the most. I actually did not participate in the laying on of hands portion of the service. I have been praying for healing for a very long time. I am not dissuaded from God’s love or caring. Paul had been afflicted by “a thorn in his flesh” and had asked God three times to heal him, but God said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Who am I to demand that God heal me, when he chooses not to?

I believe God heals miraculously and through people as well. Some are given gifts of medicine and science and ease suffering this way. Some use their afflictions and disabilities to bring glory to God and uplift not only those afflicted like them but to inspire others as well. There are several examples, but one that comes to mind immediately is the story of Nick Vujicic. He was born without arms or legs. He prayed mightily to be made whole. Even though he did not look whole on the outside, he is complete on the inside. Nick may not have received the miracle he was looking for but became the miracle God meant him to be. God healed his spirit. Nick’s ministry, Life Without Limbs, has brought hope and inspiration to so many.

Compared to what many people deal with, the pain that I suffer seems so insignificant. I will seek understanding as God continues to reveal his will for me.

May this new year bring you many blessings.

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Past and Forward

New Year’s always brings about thoughts of a year gone by and a year of opportunities ahead. There is always a struggle between “what was” and “what can be”. Some of us want things the way they were, and others look forward to revitalizing what is. Of course, everyone does a mixture of both. Oh the “good ol’ days”, what if they were here again? There are those moments that I wish for simpler times. But then I realize how much I have now and the blessings that I would have missed. I am thankful for all the gifts and challenges my life has provided. I have learned a lot from both, especially from the challenges. The most precious of these are my relationships, and those relationships are full time jobs and I need to keep working hard to keep them vital.

A new year lies ahead. I am determined to revitalize my attitude concerning my new position. I am confused about my responsibilities but determined to do the best. We never can really rest on our laurels. We must continually work towards a better tomorrow, and if that better tomorrow is already here, then it is our responsibility to keep it vital.

Our lives and our culture is a constant mixture and battle between “what was” and “what can be” while we live in the “what is.” Our past has had many good points, some worth continuing and rejuvenating such as chivalry, personal responsibility, respect for elders and authority for instance. But we also must have the courage to move forward, maybe not with a different message, but delivered in a different way – one more relevant to the expectations of the audience. Contemporary Christian music comes to mind. What was once relegated to hymns is finding popularity in every music genre, including hip-hop. I am impressed with the ingenuity of the artist to provide such uplifting and positive messages in such a variety of formats.

I am looking forward to the opportunities of this new year. It is my hope and wish that the New Year brings to you many blessings.

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