Friday, September 13, 2013

Words and Rituals Matter... and They Last a Life Time!

I LOVE rituals, comforting traditions that give life a sense of continuity and well being. 
Every morning I have rituals:

* I am the first one up. 
* I make the coffee. 
* I have Jesus be my first cup and say "Good morning" to God as I spoon in the granules      of  eye-opening, blood-awakening... soon. to. be. liquid. joy. 
* I say "Hi, Reverend Himes!" who has gone on to be with the Lord. His sermon, "Have Jesus be your first cup of coffee!" changed my life.
* I read today's message from Jesus Calling
* I go through my prayer list,  focusing on who is on my heart to pray for.

And then, I read several blogs of folks that matter to me. I always start with the blogs written by my precious daughters, Jessi and Amy, and get a small but meaningful look into their lives. I especially love their photographs, as they speak to my heart.

And then I read Vicky Westra's blog. If you had told me ten years ago that I would have a dear friend that I have never met in person, I would tell you that you were crazy. If you went on to tell me that I met this friend through her blog, I might have even chuckled out loud. Yet what I know for sure is that God brings amazing people into our lives, sometimes in the most unexpected ways. I got to know Vicky since we had a mutual friend in common. Sara, otherwise know as The Gitzen Girl. We both supported Sara in her journey home to be with the Lord.

Long story short, Vicky loves Jesus with all her heart. She is a wife (to Rick) and Mom to Colton and Nolan. Colton and Nolan are young boys, soon to be young men, who love hockey, life and their parents.

And...Vicky has stage four breast cancer. What draws me to Vicky, and why I call her my friend, is the grace and AMAZING courage and faith she shows in this very hard  journey. Vicky is REAL, she is authentic. She doesn't sugar coat how tough this is...all the chemo, drugs, MRI trips, peeling feet. She wants two more weeks plus two more weeks plus.... She
wants a future with her husband and boys. 

Yet in the midst of it all, Vicky is grateful and focusing day-by-day on what brings her JOY! She is choosing JOY, no matter what! Vicky is an amazing writer and more gracious
about the challenges of cancer than most of us would be. Vicky inspires me to love Jesus more and appreciate even more every moment I have with my family. 

Vicky also comments on the comments left by those who care about her. 
It's mutual, this love of Jesus we share. It's mutual, this desire to pray for each other. It's mutual to be authentic and share what really matters.

In a recent blog, Vicky talked about the ritual of how she says good bye to her boys when they head off to school.  She loves the phrase, "I love you to the moon and back!" and wondered out loud what her boys would take into the future. Would the things she said to them matter down the road.? The unspoken question that hung in the air was...

Will they remember that I loved them? Will the words I share as they leave for the day
stay with them after I am gone? 

While I didn't tell Vicky that I  cried when I read her words, so lovingly shared from her heart, the tears did fall. Isn't that what most Mamas wonder? What lessons am I teaching my sweet darling children, the loves of my heart? If I am a role model, what will they remember of what I have said and what I have done? Will they know, can they possibly know, how much I loved them?

I told Vicky, and I believe this in my heart-of-hearts, that words matter... that words last a life-time. When I hear my daughters with their children, I hear snippets of what I told them when they were little. I hear one-liners that were etched into their hearts.
I hear rituals from my Grandma, my Mom and from me...being replayed generations later.

And I told Vicky that just as God has etched words on our hearts, one liners that remind us and comfort us in good times and bad, the whisperings of a parent's heart, the bedtime rituals, the pray-at-the-table rituals, the read to each other rituals, the "love you more!"
rituals....they all matter. They last a life time. They are played back long after parents
have gone home to be with God.

What I also know for sure is that, looking back, I wish I had been even more intentional about using MORE positive words, more positive memories, more positive rituals. I wish I had taken the time to have more fun and planted more positive seeds. I wish I had known, even more, the power of my words. My girls might say, "You did great Mom, no regrets." Yet I hope they learn from me that their words, and the fun and lasting rituals they establish, are powerful and last a life time. 

And if they are reading this... I LOVE YOU both, to the moon and back. I always have and always will! Yup, there's another ritual!

God Bless!
Love Linda

Finding Comfort in Kindness...sharing from the heart

                                If every person made it a rule that                          wherever you are, whenever you              ...