Monthly Archives: September 2014

Restored…And Re-Storied

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Old things new…

A few years ago I started a family heritage scrapbook thinking it would be a nice way to spend a little free time and organize some of the old pictures I had gathered over the years.  Little did I know what a consuming project it would become!  I am convinced now that it will never be finished in my lifetime because I keep finding or thinking of things I want to add to it.  Some younger cousin will likely inherit this book and all the stuff in it.

My scrapbook contains lots of pictures, of course.  But there is also a lot of journaling (scrapbook-ese for little blocks of writing that explain the photographs, tell stories, provide captions, etc.).  It probably breaks lots of rules for me to add as much journaling as I do, but it’s my book, at least for as long as I live, so I can make it how I want it!  Plus, this book is becoming a sort of archive for family moments and memories.

Every picture tells a story.  But over the years, the pictures begin to fade, and memories become dim.  It is so important to document events while we have the chance.

Mama was wonderful about always writing the dates on the backs of pictures.  I wish I had picked up that habit long ago, because now I find myself wondering, “When did we take this?”  and “What was the occasion?”.  More frustrating is the fact that many of the really, REALLY old pictures have no writing on them to tell when they were made or who the people were.  (At least with digital photography, there is usually a date and time stamp on the pictures we take now, along with other information like the camera model used.)  It’s no wonder services that trace family genealogies are becoming so popular.  I think we all want to know the stories of where we came from.

I have also been able, through the wonders of modern technology, to clean up and restore some of the older photographs.  Computers and picture editing software can sometimes produce near-miraculous results in making pictures look better.  Lots more old pictures are waiting to have the magic wand of restoration waved over them so they can be viewed and enjoyed by future generations.

But for me, the pictures are only half of the equation.  The stories are what make the pictures come to life.  And usually, one story sparks a memory and another story, and then another…and before we know it, a loved one long gone lives again through the telling, and a young person gets to know someone they never had the chance to meet.

This is part of the legacy I hope to leave behind.  The pictures restored, and the stories…re-storied.

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(This may be the first picture of our family together after I was born in May of 1964.  The date stamp on the side reads Jul-64.  This is outside South Knoxville Baptist Church, where my parents were members.  I was able to restore it using photo editing software and I have to admit, I was pleased with the results.)

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Walking Shoes

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A journey of a thousand miles…

I am a casual dresser most of the time.  My work environment is informal so my attire often consists of jeans and sneakers.  In recent years I have rediscovered a fondness for what I used to refer to as “boy tennis shoes”, which are Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars.  They are comfortable, cute and available in every color imaginable.

A couple of the fellows at work have Chucks in colors that I also own, and they kindly agreed to allow me to photograph our feet in our matching shoes for this blog.

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The smaller feet in the pictures are mine.  The blue shoes belong to Jacob, and the red ones are Matthew’s.   Big feet and little ones side by side in matching shoes are sort of comical…but for me, the images remind me that we are all journeying through this life, walking side by side with our neighbors, yet each of us on a unique path.

Imagine me trying to walk my path in Matthew’s shoes, or in Jacob’s!   My little feet would have trouble keeping those shoes on because they are much too large for me.  And Jacob and Matthew could not even begin to fit their man feet into my tiny girl shoes!  Our footwear looks the same, but my shoes were made to fit me, just as theirs were intended to fit them.

I think our gifts, talents, personalities and experiences are just like our shoes.  God equips each of us with a set of tools—shoes, if you will—for life’s journey.  My shoes might look like someone else’s, but they fit me alone.  And the longer I walk in them, the more miles we cover together, the more my shoes take on the shape of my feet.  The toes scuff up in a certain spot, the sides wear in a particular fashion, and the soil on the soles is unique to my path and the places I walk through.

I am thankful for my “shoes”, the gifts of God that take me along the path of my life.  I am grateful for the gifts of others whose journeys intersect with mine along the way.   Lord, guide my steps.

“Trust in The Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Thanks to Jacob Simms and Matthew Lloyd for sharing their shoes with me!

Harbingers

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Bearing the signs of change…

Relief is coming.  I see the signs most vividly on my dogwood tree.  While the temperatures in East Tennessee are still hot and the humidity is still high, my dogwood tells me that fall is on its way and soon there will be respite from summer’s moist, heavy air.

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The past 2 summers have held an additional heaviness for me as well, the weight of grief bearing down as oppressively as the soaring temperatures and wilting humidity.  Stepping physically into the heat feels much like stepping onto the path of mourning, as though somehow my energy is being drained from me, body and soul.  I know this path well.  It seems like I’ve been walking it for most of my life.  Still, its familiarity does not make it any easier to navigate, nor any shorter.

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But relief is coming.  The changing colors on my dogwood tree are just the earliest harbingers of changes yet to begin.  Soon the maples, oaks and other trees will begin their turning from summer’s greens to the parade of warmer shades brought on by the cooler temperatures.  Such a graceful paradox, cooler bringing warmer and vice versa.

Relief is also coming for my grief.  There will never be a total removal of pain from the deaths of those I love, nor should there be.  But gradually, over time and with the changing seasons, the pain becomes less sharp, always lingering but not as suffocating as before.

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Relief is coming.