Tag Archives: heritage

Catching Dreams

Standard

Or even remembering what mine used to be…

Last year after returning from a vacation trip to Houston for our niece’s wedding, a friend at work asked me, “Didn’t I hear you say something once about collecting feathers?”  I responded that, yes, I indeed collect feathers.  He mumbled something and shuffled to his desk a few seats over from mine.

A moment later he returned with a gift that surprised and warmed me to my core—a Native American dreamcatcher.  I yelled, “Squeeeeeeee!” And hugged him so hard I think it startled him.  He explained that he donates to a mission/orphanage out west somewhere and they had sent him this beautiful dreamcatcher as an appreciation gift for his contributions.  He wanted me to have it.

I was floored, humbled, and touched by his thoughtfulness to share such a beautiful item with me.  This guy has always been a friend to me, but his exterior can be gruff.  He does not like people to get too close to him.  I have often described him as a “cactus with a marshmallow center”!

The legend of the dreamcatcher is that a person is supposed to hang it over their bed at night.  The woven web in the center catches the sleeper’s dreams, trapping the nightmares while allowing the sweet dreams to flow down the strands to the feathers below, allowing them into the mind of the sleeper.

I have always heard tell that my Mamaw’s Grandma Sayne was full-blooded Cherokee.  I have never been able to verify this, although with technology evolving all the time and so many records available online now, it might be possible to do so.  A first cousin I have never met in person reached out to me on social media hoping to learn more about our family, and he might be the person to unravel this branch of our family tree.  Even a tiny portion of Cherokee in my lineage would make sense of a lot of things about me, how I see my world, and the things I value.  Perhaps confirming such a family history would help me to remember the childlike dreams of my past…those days when I thought anything was possible.

As it is, I look at this sweet gift, a reminder of a friendship from a workplace Shinsky and I no longer share, but memories I will value for a lifetime.  I will pray that both of us will conjure and fulfill new, meaningful and happy dreams moving forward.  I will give thanks for his heritage and for mine, for years of shared work and a future that I cannot yet see.

How To Make Hot Tamales

Standard

It’s not about the recipe…

 

Making hot tamales is a process

First, you gather in a loved one’s kitchen

and find the well-worn recipe

Stir up the cornmeal, shortening and hot water

while you laugh about how

the generation before you used to

perform this same ritual

imageimage

Next it’s time

to roll the meat for the filling

and laugh some more

because somebody thought

the meat logs were funny

image

Then comes the assembly line

of putting the cornmeal mixture

onto the tamale wrapper

sticking the meat log inside

and wrapping it all up

repeating until we’re done

image

image

We congratulate each other

saying “these look like

they turnt out right” and

laughing about how

someone ended up with

cornmeal in her hair

Then it’s time to

boil them all up and

smother them in the chili

that’s been patiently waiting

And savor this

Belly-and-Soul-warming meal

seasoned with

Laughter

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks

Standard

Reflections as Thanksgiving approaches

 

 

Gracious God

Lover of my soul

Maker, Sustainer, Redeemer and Friend

I give You

Thanks

 

Thanks that I and mine

we who are so few

have been blessed with so much

while there are so many

who have so little

 

Thanks that we are warm and dry

healthy and fed

and loved

 

Thanks for all those

who have come before us

teaching us how to live

raising us up to know You

before they left us

to go Home

to sit at Your feet

 

Thanks for so great

a cloud of witnesses

who await us there

 

For glimpses of Heaven

here below

 

I give You

Thanks

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Resemblance

Standard

Who do people really see in me?

Several years ago, I started working on a “family heritage” scrapbook, thinking if would be a fun little distraction. As it turns out, the project has taken on a life of its own. It has proven to be a pleasantly absorbing activity for me, something I can get lost in and hours go by before I know it. It’s nice to have something like that in your life. And it’s fun to play around with the pictures, trying different ways to arrange them on the page, experimenting with varying colors of background papers and embellishments, and deciding what I want to write about the people and memories those photographs hold for me.

Sometimes in looking through old family pictures and papers, likenesses between people become clear. Maybe you were always told that you resembled your father or your aunt, or that your laugh sounded like your mother’s (all true for me). Maybe your parents’ report cards bear a remarkable likeness to your own (your A’s in math and English, or C’s in some other course, mirror one or both of them, perhaps). I had the delight of looking in Dad’s senior yearbook from high school and seeing his picture where his classmates voted him “Most Talented”.Image

And I had the same very good fortune to be voted “Most Talented” when I was a senior in high school some 27 years later.Image

I scanned the pictures from both yearbooks into my computer to build a scrapbook page with them…two generations of family and music, side by side. I worked for a long time to get that page just right, because it means a lot to me to share this with Dad, and I think he will enjoy seeing it and confirming that his love of music was indeed passed on to the next generation.

As a child of God, I wonder about my resemblance to Him. Do people see His character in me, my actions and my words? Do I look and sound like my Father? Is the melody of my life one that is pleasing to His ear?

Who do people really see in me?