Monday, March 14, 2022

Moments and Memories

 


Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. ~Psalm 51:10

The photo above is of my mother's bedroom when my husband, Danny, is there to oversee some removal of furniture (Mom's dear friend and housekeeper, Rosa, and her family do get some beautiful and meaningful pieces, and we are so happy for that.)  Practically empty, right?  It seems like our clean up tasks could be in the closing stages.

Then, my brother, Bill, and his daughter, Rebecca, arrive at the house with the express intent of claiming other items and emptying the attic.  Oh, boy!  This once barren room is suddenly chock-filled with boxes and bags through which I must sort, deciding what to keep and what to discard.





While it is wonderful to meet up with memories for the most part, there are so many emotions swirling in my heart and mind as items I haven't laid eyes on in ages are unexpectedly brought to light.

I do rediscover items that I had lost hope of ever seeing again.  A high school poetry journal; sketch books containing art that isn't half bad, year books, a journal from my trip to the British Isles while in college, letters to my folks from those days of higher education, and even more cards and letters from loved ones who have gone to be with the Lord.  No, I didn't take photos of these at the time as I was busy saving and purging, but will peruse them at leisure.  And, hopefully, I can share some of the contents with you.

However, here are just a few of the crazy things that I thought were worth saving, storing with Mom and Dad, at age 18 before I left for college.



Yes, I was a cheerleader and a captain of the team in high school.  But why did I even think this garish figurine is worth saving? Ugh!  Into the trash, it goes!


And how about this?  A Brownie handbook that Mom must have saved, because I never made it into the official Girl Scout ranking.  Why was this preserved?  I can tell you, in all confidence, that the contents would be soundly condemned by this woke/gone mad world.  And the world is worse for it.

Do you remember these?



Decorating bottles was all the fad in the early 70's, clipping words/phrases from magazines (do they even exist any more?) to adorn battles with words that describe you.  Perhaps, these were a precursor of today's popular vision boards?  No matter.  Except for the photo, this memory is history.

I still have a long way to go in order to organize the important parts of my past, and purge what I certainly don't need going forward.  Some things from our youth do retain their goodness and worth, while others, in our maturity, seem silly and infantile.

And I truly believe that we need to petition God, on a daily basis, to create in us a clean heart, one not tarnished or blemished by the past, but one ready and willing to obey Him and see the world as He would have us to.  By the same token, we need to pray that He renews a right spirit within us, on that knows that temporary objects can never win over the eternal.

Nor should it.  Ever.

As we all traverse the season of Lent, may our heartfelt prayer be that our Lord will wash us clean of our past, and daily renew and revive that spirit within us that brings glory and honor to His name.

Those are the moments and the memories we should treasure.

Amen!

35 comments:

  1. Memories of loved ones, whether triggered by items we find or sometimes places we visit or music we hear ... all these memories are markers as to how much those people meant to us. We mourn their absence now, because their presence meant a lot in our lives and shaped us in what we are.

    God bless you and your family, Martha. Praying for you all.

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    1. That is all so true, Victor. God gave us memories for a reason, and those, both good and bad, can be triggered by so many things. Walking down memory lane is not always a walk in the park, though.
      Love and blessings!

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  2. I don't envy you at all Martha. I had to do that with my mother's stuff back in 2004. I've had to help Jo do it for her parents and her sister. We have had to purge with Tami moving back in with us for awhile. I went into the attic the other day and now have a tote full of knick-knacks I must decide what to do with. UGH! But it is much harder cleaning the heart...things linger which shouldn't. Too bad we can't throw them away like the stuff and never to be seen again. Good thoughts today.

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    1. If it were that easy to clean the heart, Bill, I agree! No, going through "stuff" takes time and more patience than I have. As I mentioned above, I brought many things home to sort through later, but that seems so nebulous as I have yet to set a schedule for that activity. Guess I should do so!
      Love and blessings!

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  3. My mother was relentless in cleaning out closets, the attice, and rooms for her garage sales. Without asking me if I was interested, she sold my entire Hardy Boys book collection, and then mentioned it rather casually afterward. I'm still trying to forgive her for it.

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    1. Oh, Lord, Glynn, I know that must have been a huge blow to you! It's hard to figure parents out sometimes. I mean, why would Mom keep my old Brownie handbook and even school work from elementary school? I guess she thought I'd want these down the road. And I think you can forgive your mother, even if you can't forget.
      Love and blessings!

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  4. Oh my goodness, treasures long forgotten. I understand, fun to go through and at the same time difficult. We live in a tiny house, so we don't keep a lot of stuff and when my mother and mother-in-law passed away, we just kept a few tiny things that we actually use in the kitchen. One of my prayers this year is indeed 'renew a steadfast spirit within me'.

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    2. Our house is fairly small, too, Marja, and neither one of us like clutter. I still have the major tasks of sorting and purging ahead of me, but will take one step at a time. It's so wonderful that you were able to keep some small things from your mother and MIL, especially as you can use them in the kitchen. A great reminder of them!
      Love and blessings!

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  5. Dearest Martha Jane,
    Good luck with sorting through all that.
    Yes, emotional memories and some are not worth having a second look at again but they just pass by.
    As you said, what seemed important then at a young age, is not conceived as such today.
    No, I've never had such a Girl Scout book and neither was I a cheerleader. At high school I LOVED to join the gymnastics club but with my almost ongoing shortage of red blood cells (had to take iron tablets prescribed) due to my overactive thyroid etc. I never could. It made me too dizzy for standing upside down or doing any flips.
    Maybe next life I do better!
    I've almost completed sorting through Pieter's old photos, the ones inherited from the adopted daughter of his oldest brother. She saw no use for them... sad towards those that loved her as their own!
    But it is awfully hard to do so if NO info is written next to the photos or who is in the picture etc.
    WISH that all grandparents started doing this for their offspring... leaving a legacy behind instead of endless questions.
    We got it all digital and I've all old photos cleaned up with Photoshop; quite a challenge but DONE.
    Might have to build them into stories so other family members might find them over time.
    Hate for anything to become lost as they ARE treasures!
    Hugs and good luck.
    Mariette

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    1. That's a great idea to label photos with people's names and maybe where the photo was taken. I want to do this for my grandchildren, too, Mariette. If we don't, then how can they understand why these memories are important to us?
      I've given the photo albums to my brother for now; he plans to scan them so everyone in the family can have a set.
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Clearly, all these things were precious memories to your dear mama Ms. Martha. I suspect they are to God also. Tough job for sure ma'am, but one that I pray brings healing to your heart my friend.

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    1. I hope it does, too, J. D. Right now, I feel a bit overwhelmed with the sorting/purging that lies ahead, but as the advice goes about eating the elephant: One bite at a time.
      Love and blessings!

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  7. Yes, so many precious memories. I imagine your mom enjoyed everything and although I know we can not keep everything, I am glad you are choosing some items to keep. I still have a few pieces of my first bedroom set a French Provincal set I still cherish. I have a friend out of state who redesigns furnishings so she will give me some ideas how I can freshened up these beautiful pieces. I still have my original receipt from Sears&Roebuck when I purchased it. Unfortunately some pieces were still in mom's house when she passed away and someone, unknown to me, removed my other pieces. Made me sad. They certainly do not make furniture as comfortable and high quality as they once did.But I understand not being able to hang ont o everything. Photos are a beautiful way of keeping those memories intact. Gob Bless You!

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    1. Photos truly are the best way to preserve memories, Anne. I was so fortunate to be able to get the pieces of furniture that I did from Mom's house. Your first bedroom set sounds like a truly beautiful one, and I'm sorry that some of the pieces went missing.
      Mom was certainly a pack rat, but now I'm glad for it as I've rediscovered what I thought was lost.
      Love and blessings!

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  8. Boa tarde. Parabéns pelo seu trabalho. Deus te abençoe hoje e sempre.

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    1. Thanks, Luiz! Yes, it is/was a lot of work to sort through so many things. What I did bring home still needs my attention.
      Love and blessings!

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  9. What a treasure trove, Martha. Not unlike a Time Capsule! I don't recall ever decorating soda bottle, but that's a cute idea. The wee cheerleader makes my heart smile ... in fact, she almost reminds me of your Savannah.
    There's not a day (night, actually) that I don't ask God to 'create a clean heart in me; and renew a right spirit within.'

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    1. That's very observant of you, Myra, to see Savannah in the funny little cheerleader, especially the chubby cheeks. What was so gratifying to me, though, was looking through tons of photo albums on our last visit, and finding photos of daughter, Sarah, that reminded me of both Savannah and Alexandra. Not Virginia, though - she's definitely her Daddy's girl!
      Love and blessings!

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  10. Dealing with the material stuff of our lives and the lives of others -- I am convinced that never ends until our Lord takes our breath away and we are no longer here. Just yesterday I forced myself to once again deal with my late husband's possessions. It is a HARD task that cannot be completed in short order. Sobering, to say the least.

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    1. It is such a sobering task, Barbara, especially when it involves doing this for a loved one who has passed on. I'm going to try my best to leave very little possessions for my children and grandchildren to deal with once I've gone, or find out ahead of time what they would eventually like to have to remember me by.
      Love and blessings!

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  11. The journey you are on is not an easy one, as you have discovered. I try to keep this in mind as I tuck yet another trinket or card away knowing I may never pull it out again but someone else will have to some day. Purging is not easy. I am still keeping you in my daily prayers, Martha. Love & hugs!

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    1. Thanks for your prayers, Terri; you are certainly in mine! I'm sure there were some things I tossed that I probably shouldn't have, but life is not about possessions, is it?
      Love and blessings!

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  12. I have already done my cleaning out and purging, Martha. You make me wonder if I am denying my children this joy you are experiencing. NAH--not my children--LOL!
    Blessings

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    1. It's more like your kids' worst nightmare, Lulu, so it's great you've done this ahead of time. We already go through so much pain when we lose our parents, and then when we find what they saved about us, knowing what to keep and what to part with. I have lots of work ahead of me!
      Love and blessings!

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  13. Oh wow! I'm so glad I came back and read this post! I love this so much. I know exactly how you are feeling in going through all of these "memories" that were stashed away. I did the same thing when we cleaned out my parents' home, but sadly we kind of rushed through it because the house needed to be sold asap to pay back the "reverse mortgage" that we had taken out so we could afford to pay for home-health care for my Dad in his final years. So a lot of stuff just got trashed I'm afraid because there was no time to peruse carefully. I still wonder what we missed, but then I remember that no matter what it was, it's still all material stuff that doesn't go with us. We did manage to get out the things that were important to us personally. I love that you found your old Brownie Scout handbook. I still have mine. Looks exactly like that! Your little cheerleader doll is so cute. I probably would have kept that just because...LOL. I love your thoughts on this, and yes, we need to remember where our true treasure is...in heaven. Thank you for sharing this with us. I loved reading it so much!!

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    1. I'm so glad this post touched you and your own memories, Pamela. Thanks for sharing those with us here today in such detail! I can't think of a better use for a reverse mortgage than to help pay for a parent's health care. Fortunately for my brother and me, my parents had a long-term care insurance policy that paid for Dad when he suffered from Altzeimer's and would have paid for Mom had she not passed away.
      By the way, I had a feeling you would still have a Brownie Scout handbook, and I was right!
      Let us always remember that our true treasure awaits us in heaven.
      Love and blessings!

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  14. Thank youMartha, for the reminder. Praise the Lord, we have Him to help us stay out of the past, and to look to for guidance . Blessings to you.

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    1. We certainly can have fond memories of our past, Nells, but the Lord never intended for us to live there. We must look forward in trust and hope, rejoicing in the moment.
      Love and blessings!

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  17. I'm always in a constant state of Spring Cleaning, even when it's not Spring. My walk in closet is full of old family keepsakes that are rather odd to keep. Mostly guestbooks and cards from funerals, and old family pictures in boxes. It's like.. How many times am I going to sit down and open an old photo album?
    It does remind me though of what God wants us to do: Not to forget the past, but focus on the future.

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    1. At some point, Ed, we do have to decide what to purge and what to keep from the past. As I mentioned in a previous comment, I don't want to leave too much "stuff" for my own children to deal with once I've passed. What is meaningful to us may not be to them.
      Love and blessings!

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  18. precious memories all helping us heal. Thanks for sharing your grieving and healing with us

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