A Good Home, Faith, Friendship, Legacy

What We Leave Behind

One fine spring day, my husband  and I drove by the old farmhouse his family once owned. We were so amazed by what we saw that he stopped the car. The two “small” weeping willows he planted decades ago at the front of the property were now sprawling giants.

At the top of the driveway, to the left, towered a beautiful light blue pine, almost as tall as the house. It glistened in the sunshine, its colour even more breathtaking now than when we first planted it. 

Subsequent owners had preserved these trees, but removed many others that we’d planted. 

It made me think of legacy. What we leave behind. What others deem worthy, and what they don’t.

There are the usual possessions, of course. The dwelling, the furniture, the coin collection, the lovely dishes.

Blog Photo - Afternoon Tea pink cup and saucer

Things we acquire.  And even the trees we plant.

But the older one gets, the more we realize that it’s often the intangibles that are our true legacy.  The love, understanding and support we gave to others. The doors we unlocked so others could walk through, the actions we took to comfort or strengthen others during rough times.  

And even how we say goodbye.

~~

Jeni Rankin lived in Scotland. I met her through her blog (The Hopeful Herbalist). We shared a love for family and nature. Her prose, poetry and photos radiated beauty,  tranquility and a caring spirit. We became blogger friends and penpals. 

It was when my husband got critically ill a few years ago — and Jeni kept in touch with us through her letters and prayers — that I realized where some of that tranquility and caring came from. Jeni’s faith was strong.

Last year came her cancer diagnosis. It must have knocked her sideways, but she continued to inspire those around her. Husband Ian, their children, relatives and friends — and even far-away penpals like me. 

She wrote a final letter last year. There is such grace, faith and love in it, and every time I read it, I thank Jeni for these words she left behind for us. With her family’s approval I share it here, hoping her words will uplift and inspire others too:

Dearest family and friends, I just wanted to say ‘Thank you’ each and every one of you for the small acts of  gladness you have showered on me and the family. Each one a token of love and prayers poured out for us.

*** Warning – this might make you sad ***

Many of us never get a chance to say ‘Goodbye’ so I just want to take a little time right now and say Goodbye and thank you for the memories, your friendship and fellowship. Shared meals, parties, weddings, births and inevitably funerals. Live everyday well, with gladness in your hearts. Seize the Day!

“Stand at the crossroads and look;

ask for the Ancient paths

ask where the good way is, and walk in it,

and you will find rest to your souls.”

Jeremiah 6:16 

Death is a mystery, and we know it comes to each of us but our faith has carried us to this juncture with your wonderful support and love.

“Death is not the end; it is only a new beginning.

Death is not the master of the house; 

he is only the porter in the King’s lodge, 

appointed to open the gate and let

the King’s guest into the realms of eternal day.'”

John Henry Jowett (1864 -1925)

We live in a random world filled with random acts. A few random acts with my DNA and a few, miscreant cancer cells have always been one step ahead of treatment. It’s cancer hidden in plain sight, right there in the mouth, so please keep an eye on your mouth and take regular dental checks.

Meanwhile I try to live each day as I can with a smile, with grace and joy in my heart. My hope for you is that you too will live every day ‘until breath becomes air…’

AND I get to choose my music for the funeral. (NO, not “Ding, dong the witch is dead!) I want one of those great hymns that speak volumes in a few words. If any of you musicians want to bring your instrument; feel free!😅   .. We have just spent some time with Pastor Nick discussing the arrangements. There will be a committal at Monkton Natural Cemetery before a service in church followed by a tea to which you are all warmly invited. We intend to sing Abide with me at the committal, please bring your instruments. My family confess that music is not their best strength! 

“Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;

Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.

Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;

In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.”

Thank you  for all the lovely flowers too  but if you wish to make a donation on behalf of http://www.letstalkaboutmouthcancer.co.uk/ to allow them to continue their work promoting self examination and information  about oral cancer please do…

But now I need to rest, just want to leave a lovely song for you too…

 

Now may the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, 

with much love, 

Jeni xoxoxoxox

 

 

 

 

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A Good Home, Flowers, Friendship

Amaryllis Flowers for John

My dear friend John

The gardener one

Has been unwell quite lately

~~

Blog Photo - Amaryllis Solo Bloom

And so I send

These flowers for him

The ones I think most stately

~~

I know John may

Of course prefer

That flow’r that’s caused some conflict

~~

Between us friends

And made me near

Become a horto-convict

~~

johns-wisteria31

For stealing John’s

Wisteria vine

That bloomed and bloomed all summer

~~

While ours had been

A true disgrace

A non-performing bummer

~~

Blog Photo - Green wisteria 4

But John, my dear

It’s cold out there

And vines are not in flower

~~

So will you please

Accept these blooms

Now flow’ring at this hour?

~~

Blog Photo - Amaryllis in Vase January 2018.JPG

They bring much love

And happy thoughts

Of better days before us

~~

And best of all

They’ll bloom again

With gusto and with no fuss.

~~

Dedicated to our dear friend John, in hopes that this excruciatingly bad poetry will make him laugh, and to his loving wife and son.

 

 

A Good Home, Amaryllis in Bloom, An Honest House, Blessings, Cycling, Family, Family Moments, Friendship, Pets, Re-blooming Amaryllis Bulbs

Great Moments

I’m big on the small things in life.

Blog Photo - Amaryllis in full bloom~The amaryllis that flowered again – two years after it first bloomed at Christmas, a  gift from my friend Jean. How lovely to have an amaryllis reblooming in May!

~My husband cycling again.  For my birthday gift, I asked him to “go cycling with Bill”. Bill is his former coach and dear friend. So off they went, and that started him cycling again.

Blog Photo - Cyclists B and H

Our wet winter meant he hadn’t gone cross-country skiing and missed the activity.

Blog Photo - H cross country skiing~Our older daughter and son-in-law live in the USA, and I miss them a lot. I look forward to hearing from them, including their weekly call together on a Sunday. I also miss their cats, Simon and Jerome.

So it made my day when they sent new photos of the cats. Below, Jerome is practicing the art of camouflage. Can you even see him?

Blog Photo - Jerry camouflaged on carpet

Simon, meanwhile, has come out of the closet. (Yes, for years  – until very recently — his favourite place was inside a closet.)

Blog Photo - Simon 2

Blog Photo - Dawson runs

~Dawson, whom our younger daughter rescued four years ago, was looking weak the other day, especially when compared to Julius, who has energy to spare.

Blog Photo - Two Small Dogs

Mr. D. is old now, and he’s mostly blind and part-deaf. But he must have heard me fretting about whether “we’ve arrived at that time”, because, just hours later, he was running around. One day a decision will have to be made, but not yet.

~And finally, the daily phone call from our younger daughter. She calls after work each day and when the phone rings, I’m delighted, eager to hear how her day went, glad to hear her voice.

Such blessings.

Here’s to life!

 

 

 

 

A Good Home, Clematis, Courage, Friendship

Life Changes

Blog Photo - Blue-Pink clems

I’m praying for two women I’ve never met in person.

They are in my blogging community. One in Southern Africa, one in the United States. Each was bereaved recently.  

I’m also praying for a blogger and his beloved wife in England. She has been undergoing cancer treatments.

Some people may be surprised that we care so much when another blogger hurts. But we do, especially when someone has a health scare or experiences a loss. 

 

Blog Photo - Garden rain cu of lavender blue clematis

Through blogging, we get to know each other’s stories. We read about each other’s lives, families, dreams, disappointments, and triumphs.

We rejoice over the good times: a daughter passes her exams; a parent’s health improves; a husband gets a better job.

So why wouldn’t we also hope and/or pray that a blogger – or a spouse – will triumph over a serious illness? 

Blog Photo - BLue clems and Salvia

Why wouldn’t we feel a terrible sadness when the husband of a blogger-friend dies suddenly?

Bloggers know that life changes when we least expect it. That the challenge is to learn, accept, adapt. Which is so easy to say, and so hard to do. 

Blog Photo - Blue clematis2

 

There is such pain in the world.

But also, such hope. Such kindness.

And such courage.

We see that every day in each other’s blog posts.

And we know that, sometimes, just taking the next step is an act of courage.

Dedicated to the persons mentioned in this post, and to all who currently feel buffeted by life’s strong winds. All these flowers are for you.

Blog Photo - Pink Clematis

Photos by Hamlin Grange