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Your Earliest Memory, Story, #Write31

Today the two prompts fit together perfectly.
What's your earliest memory? and the word Story.
Here goes five minutes...

I have two earliest memories. The place my story starts in my mind's memory bank.
They are both lovely memories.  I'm so thankful.

My first memory is standing in my parents living room resting my hand against their old early nineties print couch. It's tan and flecked with burgundy and royal blue.  The sunlight is streaming in warming up the early Saturday morning.  I'm by myself in the room.  I'm watching some children's Christian television show.  It's a show I've watched many times I'm sure, but this moment begins my memories because on this Saturday it was significant.  I pray at the closing of the television show.  I pray a simple prayer to receive Christ.  To have my sins forgiven. To live in Heaven forever with Jesus.
It is a simple few moments on a Saturday.  I'm only four.
I remember a feeling of peace and joy.  I…

Favorite Family Traditions , #Write31

Favorite Family Tradition

I’m thankful to say I cannot name a favorite family tradition.There’s way too many to choose from.
Some are very simple and happen weekly. In my own family I enjoy our family dinners we have on most Mondays and Tuesday nights.We started this last year and it’s been a regular part of our lives. The two nights a week when we all try to eat together. No in front of the television eating. No cell phones. We all help with clean up and we all share the rose of our day.Even toddler Mac.His rose is always, “playing with Maya” our neighbor.
Some traditions come around once a year. Usually seasonal, birthday, or holiday related.
In my family of origin, I always looked forward to the annual Christmas Party my parents would host.None of our family ever came to our home for a holiday.They all lived a state away. We always spent much of our times on holidays in the car driving from one house to the other.Listening to Jingle Bell Rock and Silver Bells over and over.Sleeping i…

Most Memorable Moment, #Write 31

My Most Memorable Moment


After reading this prompt I felt memories land gently in my mind like fast falling snowflakes.As soon as one would land another would drop unexpectedly.All melting fading with the next memory.How do you describe your most memorable moment? There are too many.Like snowflakes thousands thick life has so many different memories to choose from.All different and representative of a different moment.
Many of the moments that fell were bad and thankfully evaporated with the next.Pain has a way of lodging itself deeply within recesses of your memory. They sent shocks and shivers of cold. There were loud vivid moments of milestones, days of sweetness, and moments etched in beauty. So many different people and places and years. These brought warmth and smiles.
Yet the flakes that kept falling and landing solidly in my mind were the moments of the day I met Meredith.
That day turned out completely not at all as I had pictured it would be.It sat in stark contrast to anythi…

The Sky's Voice

A few weeks ago today it was Solar Eclipse 2017.
The day before our pastor dedicated his entire message to Psalm 19.
The words fit the week.
We went through the verses one at a time.
The theme of the message was uplifting.
This solar eclipse wasn't some dark omen as some would say. Some precursor to judgment.
It was another day in the life of sky speech.
An exquisite mathematical alignment in the universe that speaks to everyone watching of God's breathtaking glory and ultimate supremacy.

Psalm 19
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; 
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.(NIV) 

As the pastor read these words I felt a blanket of awe fold over me.  Kind of like the black velvet that blankets the night sky. Those words always capture my mind and make me …

Work

Work.  This word prompt sends my mind in so many directions.  
I think of  my dad getting in his little Honda every day for thirty some years off to his work crisscrossing hundreds of miles weekly as a building supplies salesmen.
"How was work?" I ask him while he slides his knife easily through roast beef at dinner.
"It was work." He says simply and a slight smile plays on the corner of his mouth.
I think of the word work and I think about the necessity of work in all of our lives.
Life requires work. For food, shelter, clothing, financial security, and yes health insurance. Work is  involved in all of the lovely parts of life.  Work is involved in the creating of beauty. A beautiful yard, painting, house...A beautiful life.

I say the word work and my mind flashes to art class.
I'm sitting in a basement art class that smells thickly of bisque and wet clay structures drying in window sills.
The art teacher is explaining our collaborative painting mimicking a g…

Neighbor

I still remember her smile spread wide across her flawless olive skin. Her hazel green eyes. Her dark rich hair.
Her eyes danced whenever she smiled and flickered mischief whenever she said something she knew was funny.
She was my mom's best friend and next door neighbor.
Mary.
She was a former teacher turned stay at home mom.
She was simply fun. And loud. And Italian.
I always enjoyed whenever my mom crossed the yard and visited with Mary.
I remember the way my mom loved Mary.
They talked about flowers, gardening, yardwork and helped throw Tupperware parties.
They discussed education and had long heart to hearts.
I don't know how long Mary lived next door, but I remember that my mom never had another neighbor quite like that.
A neighbor who moved in and became your best friend.

My sweet friend Jenna and I are separated by hundreds of miles.  We don't get to talk often, but that doesn't matter. Every time I hear her voice and we talk time and distance haven't erod…

My little Guide

I smiled at this word prompt. Guide. I knew immediately what to write about...
My little Guide...

Yesterday I sat sitting quietly alone.  Considering the day ahead my brain still cloudy, sleepy.
My girls had just left for school and what next....
I heard the familiar command in our house call to me from upstairs,
"Mama see!"
I smiled. Its the phrase I hear oh so many times throughout the day.
I moved to the stairs and found my boy smiling and holding his hands outstretched reaching for mine.
"Mama see!" Is the go to phrase of the phase he's in.
He is expressing new thoughts and speaking new words.
He is trying new things and demanding that they are noticed.
More than anything he wants everyone to see him. To pause. To stop. To put the weight of their full gaze on him...

This phrase flows like a rhythm throughout the day...
Calling my attention to
...his small legs speeding down cracked sidewalks on his tricycle
...his brave boy voice shouting as  he runs towar…

Place

A couple of weeks ago we were in that slice of summer that tucks you away from reality and covers you with sunshine and solace from the outside world.
We were on vacation.
The place : Hilton Head, South Carolina. Where the buildings are all neutral and hidden in plazas and strip malls. Bicycle wheels spinning up and down streets as this is a popular mode of transportation.
We spent the last of July soaking up the searing sun poolside or beachside and then couch-side recovering from all of the rich food we consumed. My mom spent most of her vacation cooking. She couldn't be persuaded to take it easy and made feasts for us every night.
We watched little boy enjoy the pool despite his pink floaties courtesy of his sissies.
We watched him revel in the tide chasing his baby feet. Laughing freely as his dad held him fast against his chest as the waves knocked into them.
He kept pointing at the ocean and telling us, "The Big Waa" (his word for water).
We judged countless dives …

Try

Last week I read an eye opening article.  The article was on literacy and children.  A study points to something other than sight words and alphabet recognition to literacy success.
Kate-Koch Sundquist writes, "The best indicator of future success as a reader is actually a child’s ability to use invented spelling as he writes."
My eyes widened.  I was expecting to read that parents reading to their children daily was the key.  Or perhaps an exposure to wide variety of books. I wasn't expecting to be reading about inventive spelling.
My mind instantly pictured Moriah, my four year old.
Golden head bent over she focuses long on a drawing and usually includes letters that seem out of order to summarize what she has drawn.
She comes to me with her story.  She usually asks me to read what she has written.  I smile and think of how I'll correctly read her collection of letters.  They are usually real letters, but they are definitely out of order. Sometimes I can decipher…

Collect

I read this word and think instantly about four pairs of kid feet coated with sand running across the bare beach trying to collect sea shells.
That will be much of our week.  It's vacation time.
That time always brings out the collector in my kids. Porous pieces of sea life, broken pieces of driftwood, shells scalloped and colored in a myriad of ways.
Then the kids will go to some tacky beach shop and try to spend their savings on souvenirs to add to their already overflowing dresser.
Kids collect things.  I remember doing it and I watch this treasure hunt play out in the eyes of my kids today.
I looked at my girls' this week and finally asked for someone to clean up the mess that was peeking out from every corner.
"Wait!" third girl said, "These are my collections!" The priceless nature of these 'organized' toys brought to weight in a pair of serious four year old eyes.
Moriah is a collector.
A twilight hunter of fireflies. Her small fingers m…

Comfort

The baby of our house is usually steady on his feet.  He's careful, cautious.
Sometimes though he runs too fast and trips over uneven places in the sidewalk.
Little knees scraping the road.
Little Mac immediately sits down, tears pooling in hazel eyes.
He holds the injury up, pointing with tiny fingers.
He is waiting, sitting in the sidewalk for someone to recognize his hurt suffered and kiss the place back to okay.
We kneel down and acknowledge his hurt with a quick kiss and he immediately springs up as if nothing happened.
Everything is better, though the scraped skin is still there.

Mac knows who will comfort him.
His parents and his middle sister, Madelyn.
She always will.
He brings his hurts to her and then sits down infront of her waiting for her to kiss them away.
She's always to be counted on.
She bends her skinny knees down to the ground and lowers to kiss his knees, her glasses sliding down her tiny nose.
And magically, Mac is better. Completely.
We have o…

Thrown Together

Last Tuesday it didn't really feel like the fourth of July.
Our oldest and chief bearer of enthusiasm was at camp and the day was pretty quiet.
She would have been the cheerleader championing a party or maybe a day at the pool and then counting down the minutes until we went to a fireworks show.
As the day waxed on our plans were cancelled for an afternoon cookout. 
That was actually fine with me.
I felt kinda tired and perfectly fine with not doing much of anything.
Then four o'clock rolled around and my parents called.
A few conversations and minutes later a dinner was thrown together.
"You have chicken?"
"Yes, and you have buns?"
"Please bring pickles. Oh...and maybe a bottle of oil."
"Stop and get some tea and some steak fries."
Conversations went on between my parents, my husband, my sister and I.
We all put our heads and supplies together and made a super simple supper.
Within an hour we were all bumping into each other in my s…

Play

This weeks word prompt was play. Fitting for my week.

"Bye Meredith." She responded by pushing me away.
She sat with a group of girls at the back of the bus.
Eagerly awaiting their arrival at summer camp.
I had to smile and laugh at her new phase of independence.
It was her first week away from us.
Her first week spending the night with someone other than her grandparents.
"How is she?" I asked the camp leader.
"She's doing great." was the quick reply.
And she did do great. 
A couple days passed and we visited the camp.
Summer camp is a mix of sweat, messy cabins, non stop activities, loud voices, and ongoing laughter, worship services, climbing hills, the din of the cafeteria, and most of all day and into the night play.
After two counselors had to leave I arrived back to help out.
Kids everywhere were playing.  Hard.
Small arms cradling bows and aiming arrows in archery class.
Splashing in the pool with balls during water games.
Little kids s…

Unexpected Friends

I sat quietly reading the book of James during church one morning.
It's my husband's favorite book of the Bible.
I hadn't read this book lately, but the chapters we had memorized a few year ago merged with the scripture I was reading and I decided to camp out in James for the rest of the month.
Four years ago we had memorized the first two chapters of James. These scriptures all seem to flow seamlessly together and lend themselves to fairly easy memorization.
The student-perfectionistic side of me set a goal to memorize the rest of the book, but a quiet voice told me just to read the book and enjoy it.
So this month I read the chapters on repeat.
Reading the same chapters over and over feels like being washed out.  Like drinking the same glasses of cold water every day. The themes, the verses start coming out in your life, mind, and your imagination even when you aren't trying to think about them.
Several times this month I've been tempted with anger.  I haven&#…

Steady

As the horizon began to break open with fresh morning light, my husband, then boyfriend would roll into my driveway.
I'd climb in the old jeep filled with fishing poles and tackle boxes. Forty five minutes later we would arrive at a secluded forest area on the side of some country road, one steep river bank up from the river.
After making our way down a sharply steep bank of underbrush we would find ourselves at river's edge.
The air would be muggy and damp. Water swirling over thousands of smooth earth colored river stones.
River fishing involves moving down the river.  According to my husband you can't stay in the same place.  You must keep moving. 
Usually at some point in the early morning he would decide we had to cross the river.
I never enjoyed crossing the river.
One humid July morning he walked into the deep water and methodically made his way across step by step.
The river was high due to rain and I didn't feel great about crossing.
He had made it look…

Noticing

Sometimes I wonder if God gets joy in our noticing. When we notice His work in quiet and small ways.
I think to myself that He must like that we noticed.
That the works of His hands, the creative expressions of His mind, His heart, the labors of His passion exist endlessly in our every day lives.  What is begging to be noticed is often right under our own noses.      
In Only Love Today, Rachel Macy Stafford writes these words about 'Noticers',
"Noticers are the thriving blossoms in a concrete world, reminding us to stop and feel our beating hearts every chance we can."
These words captured what I've thought about people who notice or as Stafford calls them, 'noticers'. 
Noticing.  It really is an art.  To take time to notice.  A way of living life with eyes open to what is around us and not merely on ourselves.
Isn't it the people that notice us that become the ones who win our hearts?
Isn't that part of loving? Taking notes on those we love? …