Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bucket of Memories

Today was a designated day for reorganizing kitchen cabinets.  It's a basic chore that we all have to do from time to time. Over the last 38 years of my married life it was more likely to happen when we were moving out of one home into another.  My husband and I are officially ‘empty nesters’ and I thought it time to clear out all the things we don’t need, don’t use or just needed to be thrown away.
I climbed on the stool to reach high over the stove and removed the bucket.  Before I opened the lid I remembered that this white 1 ½ qt. metal bucket was a birthday gift one year from a co-worker.  I think it was filled with specialty popcorn and has birthday greetings on the side.  I had re-purposed as I often do and determined it was potential fire and waterproof (some what) and thus used it to put in receipts that may come in handy one day when my insurance company may ask for proof of personal items in the event of a claim.

Don’t roll your eyes, yet!  I worked for an insurance company for 15 years and have some knowledge of claim procedures.  I have been accused of being a ‘what-if’ this happens person.  (fires/hurricanes do happen) I’ve come to learn that it takes a ‘what-if’ attitude to be a good fiction writer.  It shows imagination. Can I get an Amen? Ends up the bucket did a good job of protecting my receipts some dating as far back as 1983.  Though I don’t think it would work today because they’re using disappearing ink on receipts these days. 
Those receipts were like looking in an old photo album conjuring memories of years past.  One receipt from Brendles, a chain store that carried anything from jewelry to small appliances was dated December 1989 when I purchased Barbie dolls for our then nine-year old daughter.  Maybe I should have invested in Mattel stock as Barbies that cost 9.99 in 1989 now cost 24.99.  I just recently passed those 24 year old dolls to her daughter and our five-year old granddaughter.  Time does fly.

One receipt caught my attention as it was dated October 18, 1997.  That was my birthday which normally would be a celebratory day.  When I looked closer the receipt was for an item marked ‘Urn’ and I remembered that Saturday because I would have been spending the day at my parent’s having a delicious meal and birthday cake that my step mom always prepared. Instead I was shopping for an urn in which to place my dad’s ashes whose life had ended abruptly.
Another receipt from Carolina Custom Golf dated July 23, 1988 was for Lady Max Dunlop Golf Clubs.  This was my first decent set of clubs that I enjoyed when I was on the Ladies Golf Team at work.  We played nine holes every Thursday after work weather permitting.  It was a great way to relax and get in some exercise with friends.  I was not as good as the more seasoned members but I did improve over the years.  Some of those on the team have since graduated to a heavenly course.  I still enjoy playing golf with my husband and hope to do more after he retires.

There is a receipt for a Howard Miller mantel clock I purchased for my husband for Christmas of 1996 from Classical Clocks.  I was so excited to give him this clock which was a little extravagant for our budget at the time.   It’s just a battery operated clock but with nice woodwork.  A few years ago the chime started getting crackly and I put it on a top shelf and just pulled it out last week determined to take it to the local clock store for repair.
And lastly was one receipt dated July 24, 1996 when I purchased school clothes for our son who was starting kindergarten at a local Christian Academy.  He is our youngest and last to leave the nest.  He is six-foot tall, beard-growing, college graduate, handsome young man living just 3 miles from the hospital where he made his debut. Where have you found unexpected memories?

(You still have time to win a copy of  the book "God's Provision in Tough Times" just leave me a comment on my blog by 9-25-13.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

God's Provision

Fall is just around the corner. And I eagerly await the beauty of the fall leaves, the brisk morning air and how the woods around our home take on a distinct woodsy scent of the season. There's also ACC Football to enjoy with lots of rivalry in my area. Or more local, high school football. If I'm fortunate perhaps a trip to the mountains which parades the season's glory from their valley to the highest peak for all to see. Soon neighbors will be displaying their fall regalia of pumpkins, colorful door wreaths and Halloween décor.  It's a season that passes much too soon for me. 

As we enjoy the season it may not be a joyful season for others.  You probably know someone who has lost a loved one, dealing with a sickness, wondering how they will provide food for their families, battling depression, a marriage that needs healing or just needs to know someone cares.  So as you view God's beauty be open to how you can share your bounty, a kind word, donate to a local food pantry or take time to write a note to encourage. Be open to share the 'joy' that is in you and how they can have true joy even in tough times.

You may know others who are going through tough financial times or are unemployed. May I recommend a book that you can share with someone who needs encouragement or for yourself.  "God's Provision in Tough Times" is 25 personal true stories written by others who have struggled in times of financial and unemployment crisis. Some are award winning authors in their genre. Whether struggles are in those areas or some other area the reader will gain an appreciation for the vulnerability as each person shares from their heart that life has not always been rosy.

We all have or will have valley moments. This book shares hope and how faith got them through times of despair that we all encounter at some time in our life. This book is written from a Christian worldview.  Cynthia Howerter and La-Tan Roland Murphy have done a wonderful job compiling stories that include their own struggles. This is an encouraging book for anyone and especially those who may be struggling during this time of high unemployment.  This book is available at Amazon.com and CBD.com
And you have an opportunity to win a FREE COPY of  "God's Provision in Tough Times".  Just leave a comment here in response to "God's Provision" posting and you will be entered in the drawing.  I will select one name from those who respond. (one response per person) You have until September 25th to be entered.  If you become a new 'follower member' of my blog and write a response I will enter your name twice. I will post the winner after the 25th on my blog.

So pull out your sweaters, put away your flip flops and enjoy God's gift of the season.