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Look carefully...at the seemingly small moments...in the constant shaping of souls.- Neal A.Maxwell
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Pretty sky

Skylight view

My neighbor's skylight caught my eye this morning.  A mobile? Christmas decorations? Oh - nerf darts! 


Recently I was given a black and white painting of two ships at sea.  I first saw, and loved, this painting when it was hanging in my neighbors' house over ten years ago.  That it is now hanging in my house begs a story to be told.  A story of coffee pots, chess sets, best friends, love-seats, tables, sponge holders, soldiers and, most of all, love.

Of Coffee Pots

My grandfather's brother was a pilot in the 1930’s and ‘40’s.  He brought a beautiful hand-painted coffee pot back from China and gave it to my grandmother.  I loved to look at that coffee pot.  When I was about ten I asked my grandmother, "When you die can I have the coffee pot?"  I don't remember what she said at the time but I will never forget the kind, firm lecture my dad gave me when we arrived home.

Of Chess Sets

When my Aunt lived in Mexico she sent my father a chess set made of lemon wood and bone.  My father kept the pieces wrapped in tissue and packed in a box in his den.  On request he would get the set out.  As a small child, it was as much fun to unwrap and smell each piece as it was to play the game.  How I wanted that set - but I had learned not to ask.

Of Best Friends

My grandma and grandpa were best friends.  Many said that their home was a piece of Heaven on earth.  Grandpa died in Jan., 1985.  We were worried about grandma but she carried on with the same grace and optimism she had always had.  Grandma's house was twenty miles from our home.  However, I had been blessed with a part-time job that was minutes from her home.  After work I would stop by.  We would rock in her rocking love seat and talk.  We would eat at her dining table and talk.  I would take her shopping and we would talk.  She was my best friend.

Of Coffee Pots, Love Seats and Tables

Grandma died in her sleep in Oct., 1985.  We were sad for us but happy for her.  In her Will she left me the coffee pot, the rocking love seat, the dining table and the amethyst ring her best-friend, her husband, had given her.

Of Sponge Holders

Five years ago, a new neighbor moved in.  My youngest was 3.  He and I loved to visit her.  She would give him a lollipop and he would play with her dog while we chatted.  We visited her the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  She passed away unexpectedly that same weekend.  Her daughter came down and wanted to me to come to her mother’s house.  She wanted me to tell her everything I could about her mother, especially about our last visit.  As I was leaving the daughter asked if I wanted something of her mother’s.  I was hesitant but asked for the ceramic sponge holder by the sink.  The daughter gave me a huge hug and said that if I had not wanted anything she would not have believed I loved her mother.

The Painting

Over 10 years ago, while at the mailbox, I met who would become my children’s adopted grandparents.  Their grandkids live far away, my and my husband’s parents live even further.   We are each others family away from family. 

Hanging on a wall in their home was a black and white painting of two ships at sea.  I commented how much I liked it.  The wife said that she wanted me to have it someday.  For the same reason I no longer want to own the chess set, I did not want to own the painting.  I want the people I love – not the things I admire.

Recently the wife asked if I was ready to take the painting.  Because of what my other neighbor’s daughter had told me about the sponge holder and loving her mother, the painting is now hanging in my home.

Of Soldiers

My grandmother told me that one night, after my grandfather had passed away, she was feeling scared and lonely.  She looked at the clock, it was 11:11.  She said the ones looked like four little soldiers sent to watch over her and she felt calm and peace.

And, most of all, of Love

Our family eats every meal at my grandma’s dining table.  The coffee pot is on a living room shelf.  I wear my grandmother’s ring on special occasions.  The rocking love seat is a happy memory.  The neighbor’s sponge holder holds a scrubber by my kitchen sink.  The black and white painting is on my bedroom wall.  But the gift I treasure most is the love and time given me - and when I see 11:11 I think of courage and feel calm and peace.

"Tell What to Do"

We set one night a week aside for family night.  We have song, prayer, lesson/disscussion, treat and game/activity.  For years the most requested activity has been what my boys call "tell what to do" where my husband or I tell the boys various physical stunts to try varying from easy to impossible.  This week I told them to: touch their elbows in front, up high, in back;  to put an ear to a shoulder and hop on the foot they were leaning toward; to walk with the souls of their feet together [this one was particularly interesting to see what they came up with :)].  When my well of ideas was dry I said, "Dad will be the last one." meaning that my husband would tell them one thing and the game would be over.  My oldest, knowing what I meant but being funny, started impersonating his dad.  The other 2 followed suit.  I laughed so hard I had tears coming out of my eyes.  It was not just how they were imitating it was the little nuances they had paid attention to and chose to imitate.  Frankly I was a little nervous to see how they would choose to characterize me but out of fairness I said, "Okay now do mom."  Again little nuances came out and again I laughed so hard I cried.



My son was cut from the basketball team yesterday.  He is disappointed.  I am disappointed for him, but far from being disappointed in him.  I am proud of his willingness to try something new.  I am proud of his setting a goal and working hard to achieve that goal.  I am proud of the grace in which he accepted the cut.  I am grateful for the example he set for his younger brothers.

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