Pass It On!

It’s been a bit since I’ve written in Love’s Legacy, not out of ‘writer’s block’ or lack of desire, but because my house has been flooding repeatedly! You see, we have needed a new roof for some time and have been awaiting a local roofing company to replace the tired, damaged and missing shingles post Hurricane Irma, September 2017. In the meantime, a lot has transpired in my home but a total roof replacement has been a very slow process indeed. To add to this whole sordid affair, it is now our rainy season here in Florida with only a partial roof replacement completed at this time. Conclusion: When it rains, it pours…IN MY HOUSE!

With that said, I have had some time to think about what I’d like to write. I’ve also had time to think about what’s important to me. My family, church family, friends and, yes, my home are all very important to me. The property itself is a beautiful parcel of land or it was prior to being water-logged. The tree and garden lined landscape sustained a fair amount of hurricane damage. It will take quite a bit of time, money and elbow grease to restore it to its original beauty. My approximate 4000 sq. ft. homestead and surrounding property has a small lake across the street and Shingle Creek borders the serene backyard which resembles more of a state park than someone’s yard. The home itself is not exquisite but it is something that I’d like to bequeath to my children and their descendants. I’m hoping restoration is possible.

In the last eight months, I have seen just how temporal these beautiful things are in life. They are here today, gone tomorrow. Without constant care and maintenance, they begin to crumble and fail. Sometimes, even with the best of care, the storms of life beat them down till there is nothing left. How depressing, you say! Ah, yes but I’m not finished yet! There is still hope of inheritance.

So, what kind of inheritance should we leave to our loved ones and their descendants? There is nothing wrong with estate planning and bequesting money and/or property to those left behind. It can be one of life’s greatest blessings OR a family’s most devastating curse. What if we were to birth something far more valuable?What if we were to impart our knowledge, share our skills and/or reflect Christ’s character traits while we are still on this side of eternity? That way, when we do pass into glory, our friends, loved ones and even strangers will have inherited something that “ the thief”…can’t…” steal and kill and destroy“. (John 10:10 paraphrased)

What kind of things am I talking about? If you are unsure, you can start by doing a little self- examination! I would challenge you to do the following, especially if you are a ‘family historian’ or genealogy buff. We will discuss why in just a bit.

First and foremost, I would encourage you to take a piece of paper and a writing implement (what you use is of no importance). Make three columns and labeled of them as follows:

  • Knowledge
  • Skill
  • Character Trait

Next, name at least three things under each category that you would like to share with others. For example, let’s take something from your knowledge base.

You may know stories about your family that need to be passed on because, if not shared, they will go on to glory with you! If you know the Lord, share your faith! That’s a legacy with an eternal inheritance for all who choose to accept the offer. The inheritance never runs out, never expires and can never be destroyed!

What about skill? Do you sing, draw, play a sport, cook or fish? What is your line of work? Are you an Executive, a factory worker, a tradesman? Everybody has a gifting or a skill they can share. This is where it is okay to say something GOOD about yourself! Flaunt away! Share at least THREE things with others. If you have to start with one gifting then so be it but list something, even if it’s something you once did but no longer can do on your own. There’s a saying that goes, “Those who can’t do, teach.” You can always consider teaching the skill with help. The actual quote is this:
He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.” George Bernard Shaw

 My daughter, Elayna, made it in preschool.  She has since gone to be with the Lord but someone cared enough to teach her this craft and I've had this beloved decoration for about 25 yrs. I still hasn't it on the tree every Christmas

This is a home made Christmas ornament that my daughter, Elayna, made in preschool. She has since gone to be with the Lord but someone cared enough to teach her this craft and I’ve had it for about 25 yrs. I still hang it on the tree every Christmas.

Our last ‘legacy-leaver’ is character trait. How does one leave a character trait, you might ask? Why, you live it out. Plain and simple. You live it out in your everyday life as a witness, a model, or as a testimony to a changed life in the Lord. Even if you are not a person of faith, you can model love, kindness, goodness, selflessness, and generosity for family, friends and strangers alike. What better legacy than to leave than one of love; a genuine, abiding, unconditional love for all.

So as you can see, leaving an inheritance, or even more so, a legacy of love, which transcends time and place, is of utmost importance as part of our purpose here in this lifetime. That’s why we want to take a personal inventory. We want to know our strengths and/or gifts so we can leave the best of ourselves with our loved ones when our Spirits are with God. Whether it’s family stories, the family business or the faith of our fathers, let’s take the time to share all that we are and all that we have with a world waiting for hope, acceptance and love. And the greatest of these…is love.

Till we meet again!

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Where Is Your Happy Place

Life is complicated. We make it complicated. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. With Today’s cultural norms and fast paced society, we get lost in a world of bigger, better, faster. We need more of everything and we need it now! I’ve written about this before, yet, sometimes it weighs heavy on me and I just need to vent. Today is one of those days.

This past week, I have been struggling with terrible migraines. The responsibilities that I carry for our home life right now are stressing me to the limit. I suffer from a chronic illness and I am fighting a flare of such illness as we speak, brought on by lack of good sleep and the stress and strain of my current responsibilities.

You see, we sustained damage last September from Hurricane Irma, and we are still in negotiations with a public adjuster and our insurance company. We are nearing the end of the process but there were complications along the way and none of the damage to my home has been fixed as yet, including a new roof! As we speak, it rains in my daughter’s office almost daily, because, in the state of Florida, come late May, the rainy season begins and doesn’t end until mid to late October. It’s just the way it is.

So, today is one of those “Calgon, take me away!”days(for those of you old enough to remember that commercial). Since I have no Calgon, which is a bath product you would put in your bath to relax and rejuvenate one’s body, mind and spirit, I choose to write, which is the next best thing.

There are so many other things complicating my life but I won’t bore you, dear readers, with all of them. Instead, I will tell you how I am going to cope with them today. It’s Saturday, I can only do so much, so I’m going to ‘let my hair down a little’, so to speak.

Today, I got up around 5 AM ish because I wanted to, not because I had to. I was going to spend some time with the Lord before my shower and email. I had some coffee, etc. Then I did the unthinkable! I woke my husband up to go fishing! It was very relaxing at 7 AM! We live on a creek so it just involves going out on the dock in our back yard. It is one of my ‘happy places’ Do you have one? Where is your ‘happy place’?

Next,I turned on my audiobook, “Walt Disney: An American Original” By Bob Thomas, which is about one of my favorite people in the whole world: Walt Disney! Who else could take us to a happy place, perhaps as Walt says, “To the happiest place on earth”?

So I’ve listened to the early plans for Disneyland in 1948 which really didn’t solidify until the coming of regular television broadcasting in the fifties. What a dream Walt had though! Similar to what Disneyland and Disney World are today, Disneyland was designed to have an educational element, an exhibition area, a functional town setting, an entertainment component which included a fair and a carnival, as well as a park and holiday/seasonal venue all rolled into one theme park. Originally named “Mickey Mouse Land”, Walt eventually settled on the name Disneyland. One difference at the time of Disneyland opening: Walt wanted to make the park affordable for all. So, He obtained backers for the park through his fledgling TV show . It’s a very interesting read if you are interested in the Disney company and their formative years. I highly recommend it.

Why am I so interested in the Disney phenomena? Because I live very close to Disney World. I have had Annual Passes in the past and have been to the parks many times. Each time holds new magic for me. And, no, it never gets old. When I’m sad or overwhelmed, it is my breath of fresh air. It takes me back to my children’s younger days when Disney was magic in their eyes. Now, my oldest three are all grown up and on their own and my younger two went home to be with the Lord several years ago. When I spend the day in a park, I don’t feel so alone. I feel like some part of them is still there with me. I smile, I laugh, I enjoy my time. The music takes me back to yesteryear, to days gone by and I am content. And that’s better than happy.

It’s sad for me to say but I don’t have passes anymore. Money constraints, life complications. Hmmmmmm…

Did I mention I like to draw? I think I’ll go draw Mickey!

Till we meet again!

Our Family Heritage: Leaving a Legacy of Love

I love researching our family’s history. As a matter of fact, I consider myself to be the family historian, though my brother-in-law is right up there with me on my husband’s Carter side. I’ve learned a lot of things while researching my relatives.

For example, I thought that my ethnicity was limited to Canadian French and Sicilian Italian. However, the further back I go in time, the more I am able to see that some lines have come from other countries such as France, Scotland, etc. It is also quite possible that my Sicilian relatives hailed from Middle Eastern or other Mediterranean countries such as Israel or Greece since Sicily was a land of mixed heritage.

According to http://www.spectator.com, the island was quadralingual in the 12th century. There is a stone that was found in a chapel  located in Palermo that verifies this finding with its inscription. The stone states that there are remains of a woman named Anna, who is the mother of a priest named Grisandus. The information can be found in four languages, as inscribed on the stone in Latin, Greek, Arabic and Judaeo-Arabic (a dialect of Arabic with Hebrew letters for Arabic-speaking Jews). I found this bit of information to be incredibly interesting. And to think, I was under the impression that I was just plain old Sicilian!

And then there were the family secrets that were uncovered. I’m sure that some of those were never meant to come out as they brought heartache and shame on the family as a whole. In this day and age, certain secrets would have been tolerated fairly well, if not embraced as a blessing in disguise, but certainly not in its original era. Some families were torn apart and never recovered, as was the case in my mother’s family. It was all so sad, so very sad. The ones who suffered the most were the children. They missed out on the full love of family. Where were the grandparents, aunts, uncles,  and cousins on Thanksgiving and Christmas, baptisms and birthdays?  What an empty life. Yes, the immediate family had each other and they saw some of their relatives while their mother, my grandmother, was alive, but after she died, the children never saw my mother’s family again.

How about you? How are your family relationships? Not just your immediate family but extended family relationships; are they loving or strained at best? When it comes down to it, loving your family is the legacy that we should be leaving our next of kin each and every day of life. And when we cross to the other side of eternity, we want to be sure that we have left a legacy of love behind. Ten years after we are gone, no one is going to remember if we have been a great accountant or an avid golfer, but they will remember if we loved them and impacted their lives in some way. They will remember the words of wisdom that we imparted, the things that we taught them and the experiences that we shared together. If we do it all for the glory of God, loved unconditionally, regardless of how they act, what they say, or how they feel about us, that is a true legacy of love because it is God’s love working through us. That, my friends, is what life, this life of 50, 70, or 90 yrs, is all about.

So the next time you hear the words, ‘genealogy’ or ‘family history’, please don’t think that it’s just about a boring list of names dating back hundreds of years. No, it’s so much more than that. It’s about families and their life stories, and hopefully, their love for each other, that got them through the best and worst of times. And by their example, they left a legacy of love  as an inheritance for future generations.

Till we meet again!