Tuesday, March 03, 2009

What's Most Important in Life?

There's nothing that warms my heart more than shared laughter and smiles amongst those I love.

Yet, sometimes the trials of life dampen or block the joyous moments. That's when I roll up my sleeves and take charge!

It happened last summer. My daughters and I decided it was high time we got their father into the woods. His medical conditions made this a bold goal, but we were determined. We loaded up the camping gear and Dad, and headed for the forest. There would be no hiking or boating this trip, but that didn't mean we couldn't find laughter and joy!

We were essentially grounded, so we built a nice fire and sat around it instead. "What are we going to do now? This could get real boring, real fast," our patient declared. Undaunted we pulled the "Family Chat" cards out and started asking questions. To say our patient was resistant would be an understatement. But we would not be swayed...it only took a few cards before he got into the spirit of it. We were 50 cards, three stacks of wood, and well past midnight when we finally stopped laughing and sharing enough to call it a night. It's an evening we all reflect back on fondly. A night filled with story and discovery, laughter, warmth and joy.

I want everyone to have such moments! Let's start right now. Look at my previous post. There's a picture of a chat card - take a moment to reflect on the question then post your response right here. Don't forget your email address and you'll be entered to win a set of "Family Chat" cards for yourself! Hurry - this contest ends March 17th.

I can't wait to read your stories!


  1. Oh I am the first to comment - I win by default. :) I wish I could have been there to "chat" it up with you in the woods. Love you.

  2. Gotta share a story, my dear, if you want to be in the running! And yes, we missed you horribly that day in the woods!

  3. My Grandpa and Grandma Barnes, who were upholsterers by trade, built me a set of living room furniture to scale for my small living room when we built our house. It not only reminds me of them, it reminds me of many of my childhood days spent in their shop, playing and watching them work. I love that it is a tangible remembrance of both of them; Grandpa,a carpenter and natural business man, Grandma, a first-rate seamstress, even after arthritis started to deform her fingers. We are no longer in the house with the tiny living room but I will always find a spot for that furniture, wherever we are, because it is not only a useful gift, but a keepsake.

  4. If that doesn't trigger a memory - try this: Describe your favorite song ever...why is it your favorite?

  5. I believe songs are to be collected - to choose one favorite minimizes the impact each "favorite" has had in my life. Passing years, experiences and phases bring together melodies or lyrics woven together, creating something akin to a well-loved blanket; something to enjoy for many years to come. My blanket contains spiritual music lifting me to higher planes, dancing music that gets me movin’ and groovin’, mood music that gets me, well… into the mood, inspirational music that reminds of better days to come, and music that brings peace back into my often crazy life. Classical, pop, hymns, patriotic tunes, jazz, folk and rock & roll are all interwoven in intricate patterns - reflecting a journey just as intricate and interesting as I have had on my life's path.

  6. Ok I guess I missed the Story part . . . my bad. This is kinda crazy and cheesy but I have 2 favorite songs and of course they are about my family. "Hanging by a moment" by Lifehouse is the song I listened to when I realized that I was in love with Bryan. I even quoted the line to him that says "I'm standing here until you make me move". Every time I hear it I get goosebumps. :) My other favorite song probably is not all that original because of how popular it is, but "I hope you Dance" of course because of my little girls. I have such high hopes and dreams for them and when I listen to that song it makes me realize the real potential they have. What more can I say? :)

  7. I like Kathy's comment because it is very hard for me to choose ONE favorite song so I'm gonna go with my favorite band which also happens to have my alltime most favoritest song! It's Heart and all their music holds great memories for me from the time I was 15 yrs old with my first true love all the way to 20 yrs old and truly in love with my future husband who has been with me now for 13 years! Ok, ok, I know you are trying to decide my favorite song of theirs so I will tell you... it's All I Want To Do Is Make Love To You. I know quite a shock for a 15 yr. old but I didn't act upon those words as much as I wanted him to know how passionate I was for all things him! If that makes any sense at all?!?!? Anyway, there you go, Teresa, and don't think for a moment that I didn't come straight home and look up your song and it has my vote, too! Love Ya!

  8. over the years my granny would give me a doily she had crocheted for my birthday, or Christmas..really any time I went home to visit family...granny would have a doily or two waiting for me to add to my "granny made it for me" collection.sometimes I'd look at those doilies made with love and find a wee tiny piece of her hair that had somehow made its way in with the threads.those doilies were definitely made with love.
    growing up with granny having lived with us the whole time...I'd sit for hours with her watching her crochet.
    She has been gone now going on 5 yrs..but I still have my "granny made it for me" collection of doilies that I cherish dearly.In fact a big storage bin full of them,as well as several crocheted comforters.

  9. My favorite song? There are two: The Hamster Dance Song, and Beethoven's 7th Symphony. For some reason I have yet to figure out, I love The Hamster Dance Song so much I have listened to it over 10,000 times on repeat according to iTunes. There is just something about that song that just quiets the world around me and allows me to think (which is amusing because if you've ever HEARD the Hamster Dance song, you would think otherwise.)

    And Beethoven's 7th Symphony is my current music of choice because I think it encompasses every human emotion in four short movements, and it starts and ends happy. I love all of Beethoven, but his 7th symphony is my favorite. Seriously. Give it a listen.

  10. Family is everything! Here on our farm the 11 th generation is running around and 4 generations can be found working side by side at a given time. For awhile there were 5 active generations. Great Grammy and Grandad are gone now but not the millions of memories. Like how Grammy played "How Great Thou Art" every Sunday morning on her organ. The organ is still now and the notes dont ring out from the Mountain and drift lazily down over the hayfields to town. Now I go to church and sing in choir and when we sing that Hymn I belt it out for Grammy to hear!My favorite song is "Oh Holy Night" I learned it in high school but was to afraid to try out for the solo. 30+ years later I learned there would be no choir on Christmas eve, everyone had to be away ( well there arent that many of us!) I offered to sing that song solo. I sang it to Charlie an older member of the congregation, it is easier to sing to one kind face. Now I can solo all the time.I learned it is my gift to sing for people when they cant, it is what I can give. This year for me I have been singing "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" in the car and barn and humming it in my head. It is my wish and prayer as my parents have both battled life threatening conditions and my daughter was diagnosed with cancer. I am the sparrow and I sing to be noticed, to have even my humble prayer heard. It has been answered as my daughter was recently declared cancer free and just has 2 more chemos to endure and monitoring. My parents are stable and well cared for in a nursing home.Our lives intertwine with music and songs come and go to highlight those moments. I was the sparrow and now am on "Eagle's Wings". When my first grandbaby comes in a few weeks I may "Be Comin Round the Mountain When She Comes!" Our memories are the notes and our lives each a symphony, let your music play!

  11. My grandparents were very poor, but proud. On one of childhood birthdays my grandmother gave me a set of embroidered hankies. I felt very grown-up and special because gramma had taken the time and had saved her dimes to get me my birthday present. To this day I still collect vintage embroidered hankies!


  12. Some gifts come in pretty wrapping paper tied with a bow.
    Others come through the mail box, beaten brown kraft paper protecting the package within.
    But perhaps the most important gifts come through the example of those we love.
    When I was five, my grandmother – we called her Nana – took care of me every weekday while my mother worked. I arrived early in the morning, sometimes before the sun came up, and usually stayed until dinnertime at least. After doing whatever household chores were on the day's schedule, we would have lunch.
    But it was after lunch that things really started to happen.
    Nana would sit just inside the window in a straight-backed chair, next to a credenza on which the telephone sat. The window looked out over the backyard, and I was allowed to play outside, anywhere at all, as long as she could see me from the window. I played for as long as I wanted while Nana made her rounds on the telephone: she called Betty, she called Isabelle, she called Evelyn, she called Mary. Sometimes she called Marilyn, sometimes she called Mrs. Kennedy. Not all of them every day, but every day a few of them, and sometimes she'd call someone more than once in a day.
    And from them she would hear all the news that was news around Cherry City and the better part of Millvale. When Nana moved into the two-bedroom brick house at 226 Soose Road, she also became a member of the Cherry City VFD Ladies Auxiliary. While the volunteer firemen fought the fires, and more often the floods, of the neighborhood, many of the ladies auxiliary frequently fanned other flames – who said what to who and what everyone else thought about it. And Nana sat by the window, listening carefully to all of it, then guiding the impressions and decisions of all those who confided in her. A question here, a suggestion there, were tiny seeds she planted and carefully tended to soothe the feelings and make good deeds grow on the hill in the middle of Shaler Township.
    By the time I went to first grade I had decided on my future career and proudly announced, “When I grow up, I want to have a job like Nana and talk on the telephone all day long.” Everyone laughed, even years later, but the gift Nana gave me might best be called the “gift of gab.” Sitting with her dog-eared dictionary and crossword puzzles at the kitchen table, she taught me that the nuances of language were worth paying attention to. When it came to protecting myself from those who, however innocently, might pry or gossip, she taught me to answer a question with a question when someone posed a query I preferred not to answer directly. She taught me to speak with proper grammar – I could correctly use the subjunctive case before I could even spell or read the words it used. Mostly she taught me to keep confidences when they were bestowed, and above all to remember, “If you can't be kind, be quiet.”
    I'm not sure I've yet mastered the gift Nana gave me. After all, it was only one of many gifts, and I do still have a few years before I reach the age at which she gave them to me. It seems even more wisdom is on its way from her – I find myself remembering other adages with which she peppered our days as my own children's questions crop up in their relationships. But I hope that I will always, always honor her influence in this way -- by using any influence I might have through word to bring happiness, laughter and peace to those with whom I share this walk on Earth.

  13. oh, can't the contest end March 19th. My husbands great grandfather had an old stuffed chair in his house. Grandpa carl- He was like another father to my husband, and holds such a dear place in his heart. We now have the chair in our room. I do believe we will always have this chair and pass it on down the line.

  14. P.s. my favorite song ever has got to be "You and I" by Jason Mraz. It brings such a light and happiness to my life. During a really difficult, troublesome time when I was quite frankly wandering with no solid path... it really helped brighten my life.