Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

It Takes A Village

With all that's been going on in our family recently, I've not updated here in quite some time.  Here is an article from the Barrow Journal that was published in late February/early March.  


It Takes A Village

When I was a kid growing up, I remember sitting out in the yard in folding lawn chairs, feet dangling from my short legs, with a newspaper spread open in my lap.  A handful of peas or butter beans piled high would keep me busy for an hour or so.  I loved the smell of the raw vegetables, - but not the sore thumbnails I’d have the next day!   I tried my best to emulate the way my grandmother would pop open the peas or butter beans, swipe her thumb through the hull, and hold the prize in the palm of her left hand.  She would shell a handful before tossing the bounty into a little white basin.  My small hands could only hold a few of the prized peas before they would spill out onto the newspaper.   Green beans were fun, too.  She’d pop off one end of the bean, pull the string down to the bottom, flip the bean over and snap off the other end, faster than Matt Dillon could draw a six shooter.  While still holding the strings in her right hand, she’d then snap the bean into several pieces, before depositing them into a different basin.  I was amazed at how quickly she worked, and how she could hold so much in her hands. 

An added bonus to the harvesting process was sharing the chores with friends.  We’d go over to Jackie and Roger Steed’s house, sit in their yard, and shell peas or shuck corn.  Or they would come to our house and help us shell a mess of butter beans.  The task was accomplished faster, and sharing in conversation made the time pass even more quickly.  I remember aunts and cousins sitting out in my grandmother’s yard peeling delicious, juicy peaches for canning.  They didn’t allow the kids to be around for that project, as there were sharp knives involved (and sticky fingers of children who would abscond with the bounty!)  We didn’t argue too much about being banned from the peach project, as we didn’t like the inevitable honeybee infestation that went along with peach canning.  But I remember how they enjoyed visiting together.  “It takes a village” is not such a bad statement, when viewed in this context.  Sometimes having the help of a “village” is the only way that we can get through the day.

So, what is this phenomenon of support?  We go about our daily lives, hopefully remembering to stop and be thankful for another day in which to live.  We face our challenges of meeting deadlines, managing personal finances, and striving to reach goals.  Whether employed or retired, for the most part, we are allowed to make choices to determine how we spend our free time.   Sometimes there just do not seem to be enough hours in the day, and we do well just to get things done, with hardly any free time at all.   There is very little yard-sitting with neighbors these days, and life moves at a much faster pace.  

For the generation above mine, the telephone revolutionized communication.  They no longer had to go down to the corner store, or the town square to hear all the latest local news – or discuss the news they heard on the radio or newfangled television sets.   They could just pick up the phone, and the operator would ring the neighbor.  Before long, we were able to dial our own phones and speak with people all over the world.  My generation saw the evolution of an untethered phone without wires, and today's generation has seen further evolution to mini-phones/computers that fit in our pockets!! Oh, the wonders of technology!

Communication is at an all-time high these days, what with social media, electronic mail, Skype, etc.  Facebook is probably the “telephone” of this generation, in that it has totally changed the way we communicate.  With one click of a button, we can notify an unlimited number of people the news about what we ate for dinner (and can post a picture of it, too!),  share pictures of our grandkids, post about our political views, or anything else we choose.  We can keep up with the latest news about our favorite sports team, be reminded of birthdays, and send quick greetings without going to the store for a card, or paying for postage stamps.  (And then remembering to put it in the mail.)  The World Wide Web gives us access to up-to-the-minute news, right at our fingertips, and the Information Highway has all but ended our need for encyclopedias and dictionaries.  

Social media also allows us to learn of unfortunate events, and troubled times that our friends are facing.  I see almost as many posts asking for prayers as I do any other types of posts.  This is a fabulous tool, and a very efficient way to get folks praying without having to utilize a phone tree or prayer chain that requires someone to stop what they are doing, look up phone numbers, and call the people on the list.  Sometimes a rapid response is needed!

My family experienced this first-hand a few days ago.  We were in the ER with my dad, and within moments of a few texts and phone calls, our friends and family were quick to rally with prayers of support.  A couple of posts on Facebook by my brother and I have resulted in hundreds of people praying for our dad.  There’s our village!!!  Our support group!! 

In just a few hours, I’ll be sitting in an uncomfortable chair, surrounded by the whir of machines, and the sounds of busy nurses going about their tasks.  My family, and many friends, have sat, slumped, and tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to sleep in those uncomfortable chairs over the past few days.  We are not unfamiliar with this.  As with most of you, we’ve sat at the bedsides of our family members, prayed lots of prayers, and  waited (and WAITED) for the doctors to make rounds. We’ve taken the calls from friends offering prayers and appreciate every one of them!  We have such a great support system from friends in the community and church family.  We totally feel the love, and we are blessed by each person who calls, visits, texts, or posts on social media.   

The love and support of friends is an extra measure of healing potion, and plays a huge part in the healing process.  No doubt, we’ve all been on the receiving end of such power.  Sometimes, when I see a prayer request, I am tempted to just keep scrolling and pray for the person later.  But then I forget.  There’s a reason that I’m seeing that post at that particular moment of the day, so it is easier to say a prayer for the situation right at the moment.  For all the people who have sent words of encouragement our way, we know there are many others who have prayed and sent happy, healing thoughts, but did so quietly. 

Having been the recipient of these blessings over the past few days, and experiencing the outpouring of love, I will never again minimize the power that my piddly little prayers contain.  If you are a praying person, always remember that even a quick “bless this person” prayer is precious, and has the power to make a real difference.

And about my dad – he’s a trooper, and has rocked the first part of the battle like a boss.  We believe our prayers, and the prayers of our friends, have made all the difference in the world.  The moral of this story:  You are important.  You are a vital part of the lives of those around you.  Consider it an honor to pray for them, think kind thoughts, offer your support, bake some brownies, pick up the newspaper from the driveway, or many other small acts of kindness you can show.  It matters.  So much.  And you will be blessed to have been a part of the village. 

Edited to add:  Going on six weeks since this article was written, I'm happy to report that Dad is continuing to improve, and is receiving intensive physical and occupational therapy.  We are hopeful that he will return home to us soon, and can continue the long road to recovery in the comfort of home.  We have awesome neighbors and friends who are traveling this journey with us, and we appreciate our "village" so very  much.  Special thanks to Chris Humble and Perry Barton, for getting Dad's garden up and going this year.  He won't be able to work in it this time around, but these wonderful men know how much my dad loves his garden, and they know being able to enjoy watch it grow and enjoy its bounty will be very helpful in the healing process for him.  We love our community so much, and are so grateful for all who have shown kindness to us!!!!!

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