Posts Tagged family

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Dear Family and Friends,

As you know our lives have changed over the last few years. I thought that our traveling days were over; however, we weren’t ready to give in so easily. In 2016 and 17, we went to the grand celebration on the 4th. Of July to be with my sister’s family in Lincolnton, NC. For years I have wanted to attend the Christian Writer’s Conference at Green Lake, Wisconsin. Thanks to the help of our helper and friend Jan we took the plunge. We flew to Milwaukee and rented a car. The center is on the lake. We had a wonderful time, learned a lot, and made new friends.

This year we ventured out west to North and South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monuments were all that I expected. Devil’s Tower and The Badlands added to our excitement. Jan again did all the driving. Thanks to daughter, Suzanne, we had a wonderful hotel in Spearfish. Spearfish Canyon is spectacular. This trip and the trip to Green Lake were simply great gifts of joy.

Each Friday Ann Cheek comes to play the piano and sing with Carol. On the last two Mondays in each month, we go to hear the Joy Singers from First Baptist Church sing at one of the long term care facilities. I continue with my Monday lunches with the preacher boys. I continue at First Baptist. Jan and Carol often attend Stono Baptist were they have made good friends. The service is far more informal which works out well for them.

Say Something Nice Day and Say Something Nice Sunday continue to gain momentum. They are more needed now than when we started. Ethicsdaily.com and day1.org have been very supportive. I continue to eat with the Wednesday night gang. We have been doing this for over thirty years.

We are grateful when Suzanne makes it down from Nashville. Her son Christopher has been on a ship in Bahrain to fulfill his Navy Reserve obligation. Christina, Nancy and Michael’s daughter, continues at the day care center and their son, Colin, continues at Publix. Our friends Marvin and Kathy Cann come down from Spartanburg once or twice a year. Marvin was my roommate at Furman. We are unhappy about losing the wonderful help from Brandy Brown, but she is needed at home. Cassie Shokes, daughter of our friend Clyde has stepped into the post. Carol’s doctors are pleased with where she is with her Alzheimer’s disease and I am grateful to them. Our friend, Gene Plyler, is a great source of help. Will Wilcox, Liz’s cousin, came from Seattle for a visit. Unfortunately Kay, his wife, could not make the trip. My good friend, Gayland Poole an Episcopal priest in Texas, died this year. Joe Gilliland moved to Birmingham to be closer to his son. My sister, Jean, and Bunky spent Christmas with us. What fun! My boyhood friend, Ansel McGill, and wife Susie called Christmas night. Ansel suffered a severe stroke, but he still has that wonderful deep voice. The call made my Christmas. We are thankful for all of you. We know how blessed we are to have each of you in our lives. We are concerned with the turn our nation has taken away from a, “Kinder gentler society,” but we can each do our part to help restore decency to our national life. May God bless you and your family in the New Year!

Carol and Mitch

 

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CELEBRATING NOT JUST ANOTHER HOLIDAY – Thomas Crowl

PSALMS 95: 2 …Let us come before His presence with Thanksgiving and make a joyful noise unto Him in song.

I just opened an e-mail from a dear friend calling upon us to commence an oral history of our dear family. This call is extremely timely in an era of disintegrating morality and loss of respect for others. Only when we honor the values given us by our forefathers and mothers do we have a benchmark upon which to anchor our soul. Only when we celebrate the special high points of our common faith can we raise the discourse from the profane to the sacred. God asks us no less and expects a great deal more.

As I bowed my head to lead the family prayer today at the Thanksgiving feast I called on the Lord to grant me the honor that lived in the day, the special meal comprising a long list of great family recipes was prepared with love and forethought and gathered and prepared by our adult daughter. So many great memories of culinary excellence preceded it and each year it grew in perfection. It made it not just another holiday but a sacred event that bound us together and connected us to God’s blessing.

God gives us such a sacred sampler in life, in a week marked by the loss of a dear friend and newspaper editor, and a struggle with healthcare emerged this special moment to connect us again to His great gifts. Yet we often toss these blessings aside and dwell on the worst of times. We linger on mindless tweets that seek to point out the worst in others that seek to separate us from God’s special blessing.

I call today to my many readers to start a special family history pointing out the best in our kin that made us a family, to list the times we have benefited from their skill, love and care and to use at least one example to build a better life that we share with others. In this way we push back the wall of hatred and ignorance that is urged on us by the electronic wizards of our time. Our examples will grow into a sacred text we can share with our family and provide a cushion upon which to build an honorable life. This is David’s special wish and song…a celebration for all time. May God bless and keep you and grant you peace as we honor Him and each other in verse.

 

DAVID CALLS TO US TO HONOR OURSELVES AND GOD IN OUR MOMENTS OF CELEBRATION AND COMMEMORATION…

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Why It’s Important to Record Your Family Stories – ethicsdaily.com

Why It's Important to Record Your Family Stories | Mitch Carnell, Storytelling, Family, Memory, Remembering, National Day of Listening

If you do not write or record your family stories, they will die with you, Carnell says.

Who was the funniest person in your family? Who was the most serious? Who was the caretaker? Who was the prankster?

Family stories are important. They tell who you are and where you came from.

My grandfather had the greatest laugh I had ever known until our son, Michael, came along. His laughter can light up the room.

My sister is the caretaker. She mothers everyone. Cousin Virgil could spin an unbelievable yarn. Uncle Calvin was the optimist. Daughter, Suzanne, could compete with my dad for being tenacious. The two of them were thicker than thieves.

You haven’t experienced anything as ridiculous as listening to my great-nephew, Justin, talking about his love affair with bologna. I hold the family record for preparing the worst ever Christmas ham.

I have a prized family heirloom. It is a record of the births and deaths of my father’s brothers and sisters in my grandmother’s handwriting on a parchment scroll. It was rescued in the nick of time from under my uncle’s house.

The record starts in 1888 with my grandparents’ wedding on Sept. 20. My dad took it with him to prove his eligibility for Social Security benefits. It made the rounds of the office before he got it back.

Why are these things important? These stories tell us who we are. If you do not write or record your family stories, they will die with you.

Nov. 24, the day after Thanksgiving, is the National Day of Listening. It was started by StoryCorps in 2008 as a day set aside to tell and record family stories. Where did your family come from? What brought them here?

My friend, Carl, tells the most wonderful stories about his father, who was one of the first highway patrolmen in Texas. I keep urging Carl to record his stories; otherwise, they will disappear with him. I would buy his book.

You may think that your family’s history is dull, and no one would be interested. Think again.

When I was writing my book, “Our Father: Discovering Family,” and was about to give up on the project, my wife said, “You have got to finish this at least for your grandchildren.” I finished it, and one of the reviewers said, “His grandchildren and great-grandchildren will treasure this.”

Of course, you can spend Black Friday shopping, but sitting with relatives, friends, fellow church members or civic club members and recalling and recording shared moments will prove to be much more meaningful. Try it with some older members of your church.

When I was about 9 years old, we were in Spartanburg, South Carolina, walking to the office of my ophthalmologist. I was a few paces in front of my parents. I heard my mother say to dad, “I’m not sure I want Mitch to get new glasses. He has always thought that I was so pretty.”

My late wife, Liz, was such a procrastinator that my sister told her, “Liz, you will be late to your own funeral.” As we were riding in the limo to her funeral, my sister said, “Mitch, look at your watch.” We were 10 minutes late.

Do I want that story to die with me? No, absolutely not.

When my children were small, we were driving to my Uncle Calvin’s funeral. We passed a small country church with a sign out front that read, “Revival in progress. Come and be revived.” Michael spoke up front the back seat and exclaimed, “Daddy, that’s where we can take Uncle Calvin.”

I never tired of hearing my dad talk about his asking my grandfather for my mother’s hand in marriage.

My grandfather was a big man, already dressed for bed in a nightshirt and barefoot. “There he was with tears flowing down his cheeks. ‘Well, Carnell,’ he said, ‘if you don’t know how to treat her, you know where you got her.'”

Your family stories are just as valuable as mine. Take some time. Laugh a little. Tell the stories. Be sure the voice recorder or video camera is turned on.

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Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

I am holding onto my theme for the New Year. Gratitude sums up how I feel about my life. I have so much to be grateful for. All I need do is look around me and I know that I am blessed. I have a loving wife, children and grandchildren that I am proud of, a sister and brother-in-laws that bring joy, and nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews that are wonderful. I have friends that keep me centered and that spur my spiritual and mental growth. They are wonderful story tellers. I am surrounded by creative people. My neighbors are thoughtful and kind people.

The church I attend has sustained me through the deep valleys in my life. The writing group I attend encourages me to try new things. Although no one enjoys going to see the doctor, we like and trust ours. Brandy and Jan, care givers for Carol and helpers to me, are simply wonderful.

My friend, Dr. Monty Knight, recently said when speaking of the motion he has lost in his right arm, “I am not unhappy that I can no longer do these things. I am happy that I got to do them.”

As another year approaches I want to develop an attitude of gratitude and practice it more lavishly. For one who was not supposed to survive, I am here looking forward to what lies ahead. Yes, there are still things on my bucket list, but I am grateful for the buckets I have already filled and for all of those wonderful people that helped me fill them.

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