Last Memories

IMG_1569-001This is the last photograph of my immediate family. It was made in May of 2001. My brother Lee, on the left was up from Austell, Georgia, and Larry, next to him, came by from Kodak. Our dad and mother and I lived together at the time. As happens, after documenting our group in early years, we hadn’t made one for  years.

Larry died in his sleep the night this picture was taken. It was unexpected and the shock was felt deeply because he was only 62, had not been sick, and was the first of the family to die.

My dad died in 2003 at the age of 94 and my mother in 2008 at the age of 96. Lee and I are the only two left. When talking to Lee recently it dawned on me that when either he or I pass on, there will be no one left with whom to share the exact recollections of our childhood, our upbringing, our family vacations, our steps towards adulthood.

Share what is important to you with kin and friends–write it down, record it, identify pictures. Reminiscing can make you laugh or cry and bring to mind the small as well as important happenings of the past. Memories can bring back a closeness that often has been lost over the years.

Do it while you can.IMG_1586

 

 

 

Bless the homeless

IMG_0665                 

“Bless the homeless, this day and everyday,
keep them from physical and emotional harm,
fill their hearts with hope for the future and for today,
comfort the homeless as they walk their difficult paths.
May I know that anyone, even me,can be homeless.”      

Ronald Victor Barton
Robert Best
Leo Blatter
William “Ken” Brockman
Joseph “JoJack” Jackson Cheatham
Cecil Courtney
Robert Cossen
Larry Richard Deboer
Elbert Flowers
Danny Gilkey
Rick Gouch
Lori Jordan
William C. Kimble
Roger King
William C. Kite
Doris Lawson
Tony McKelvey
Rodney Noe
James “Conrad” Payne
Mary Riseden
Charles Ratledge
Michael Shell
Edsel R. Stricklin
Douglas Thomas
Zack Ward
Eacie Welch
Jimmy Williams
Robert Woodrow Williams

These are the people who died homeless in 2015 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

An annual memorial service to remember the individuals known by name as well as those nameless was held at St. John’s Lutheran Church last Thursday evening.

You might think if you are homeless you have no friends, but that isn’t so. Many of those without homes help each other out on the street. They also become involved with social workers  and church goers, getting to know them one-on-one. 

This service is always moving, mostly because of the people who speak. They may be involved with ministries to help the homeless or previously homeless themselves.

Darrell Murrell’s message of hope was meaningful and poignant. He stressed that he was saved from a life on the streets because people in this church “kept loving” on him until he felt God working through them.

Poet John Cantrell read a poem again this year:

Remembering Our Friends                            

You have to us a host of things
From a life of sorrows and woes There were times when you smiled
From knowing you were not alone
In the beauty of the spring
In the cold chilli nights of old man winter
Of a harsh life of homelessness
You endured the stings of alcoholism
Drug addiction mental illness physical abuse
Your world was tainted by experiences
Of that nasty world
Lack of basic needs healthcare
Shelter and last God called you home
To restful nights
And Peaceful Days

“May hope touch each homeless heart, spirit and life,
let the kindness of others bring lasting benefits, bring freedom from addiction,  illness and misery,  open their humanity to include & embrace themselves.”IMG_0662

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The entire Blessing for the Homeless can be found by Goggling Interfaith Prayers & Blessings by Abby Willowroot

 

 

 

White Shirt or Blue Sweater

Choices and the decisions they become
I like choices…for the most part. It is scary to think of life without them because that would mean a straight line with no curves or angles.

Variation start at birth when we are given the option of accepting milk and schmoozing with the giver or rejecting it and continue squalling. And it grows from there. Think about how many decisions you made each day–white shirt or blue sweater, stay in school or drop out, Taco Bell or Pizza Hut, marry de bum or take off on your own.

The process continues through old age which brings on some new ones. Downsize my living style? Life support or let go? At the end we often are back where we started with someone asking if we want a sip of water or another blanket.

Thank goodness
Past actions take care of a lot of the mundane everyday questions.Key Wet June 22, 23, 2015 734 I like coffee; I don’t like tea; coffee on the shelf ready to make whenever I want it. The white shirt, blue sweater gets more attention and opening your closet is revealing: loves to shop, extra money to spend, needs a boost to self-esteem, varied life style,
or  your choice really is white or blue.

For some, even the smallest decisions take a nerve-racking amount of time. We think each commitment needs to be perfect, we don’t want to get anything wrong, we are concerned about other people’s opinion of us. Instead, make sure it is your decision, made for yourself, not someone else.

“Just do it.”
Because if you have thought about all options, wild through practical, tested how you feel–queasy versus brisk nod of the head–then yes, just do it.  Not all are going to be right.  President Obama, agreeing with Bush, says, “Any given decision you make you’ll wind up with a 30 to 40 percent chance that it isn’t going to work. You have to own that and feel comfortable with the way you made the decision. You can’t be paralyzed by the fact that it might not work out.”

Thought by some to be a flighty grey-headed albatross where my life decisions are concerned, I disagree. I love writing down all the possible pros and cons and studying them. Being a realist I try to be honest with myself so I am at peace with a decision. The problem comes when I compare my life decisions to those of friends and family. Beside them I can look a little flighty!!

So I might look my options over at this point and make the decision to  …accept myself as I am and carpe diem!

There are plenty of internet articles on decision making and choices. Here are two:
https://blog.bufferapp.com/8-things-you-dont-know-are-affecting-your-decisions-every-day
http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/22781.html