Monday, July 28, 2014

My memories of summer vacation

I found this picture tonight and I have been thinking about my own memories of summer vacations.  I've mentioned that "the lake" (our family lake home) was the sight of almost all of my vacations as a child.  I guess this has been on my mind as I have been celebrating Gwen and Tim's family vacation.  Really, is there anything better for making memories with your kids?  This picture is really special to me.  Pictured are most of my aunts and uncles on my dad's side.  Left to right - Hank, Alice, John (peeking from the back), Svea, Agnes, my mom, George, and Mable.  And this picture was taken at the lake. 

I've been thinking about my Aunt Mable and Uncle George.  They had a farm not far from the lake.  And they also had the cabin right next door to our cabin on Lake Maud.  Take a close look at the background of this picture.  See all those terraces made with those rocks?  You can't get the full scope of this terrace work in this picture - it was amazing.  And George built this entire thing.  And he brought all of those rocks down from the farm.  Can you imagine the work of that project?  They had a REAL farm.  Some of my earliest memories are going into the barn with George and him handing me a baby pig to hold.  I loved to watch him milk the cows.  And they had sheep that lived right next to the door to the house in a fenced in area.  There were chickens and he always had some crop in the fields.  I remember my dad going up to his place to help during harvest time.  I loved seeing my dad on a tractor.  They had a big farm house with a "farm" kitchen (think a BIG square room with a BIG table and lots of room).  The house had a sun porch which was really sort of a "junk" room.  But, boy did I love that room.  My Aunt Mable stashed years of magazines in that room.  I loved looking through them and would spend hours in that spot looking at clothes from the 1930's and 40's.  Mable was a fantastic cook and I remember lots of wonderful meals at their table.  Mable also always baked my dad's favorite birthday cake - a traditional Swedish Tea Ring.  All of these are wonderful memories of Mable and George, but the best thing for me was that they taught me how to play cards!

I know that this might sound like a silly thing.  But these amazing people let a little 8 or 9 year old, sit with them in the evenings and play cards.  They taught me how to play rummy and canasta and 500.  And here's the thing.  All of the other kids at the lake were just a bit older than me by two or three years.  And they NEVER let me play cards with them.  I was always excluded.  But my Uncle George would see me outside by myself and call me to come in to their cabin for cards.  I loved this special time.  Often Aunt Mable would serve "coffee" later in the evening and invite my mom and dad to join us.  She would serve me milk in a coffee cup and whatever wonderful treat she was serving that night.  She used those wonderful glass plates with a little slot for the cup.  I am so thankful for having these special memories.  Mable and George were also the only one of my aunts and uncles that ever actually came to MY house.  I mean my home after Ken and I got married.  They visited my mom and dad in 1976 and we got to host them for a dinner at our apartment.  Yes, I love remembering these special people. 

Isn't it great to have memories to match up to pictures?  I am so thankful for my extended family.  You don't always see these people when you don't live in the same area.  But I treasure these vacation times that I spent time getting to know them.  In many ways, Mable and George took the place of my grandma and grandpa that I never got to know.  Because of the 18 year age difference between Mable and my dad, her grandchildren were actually OLDER than me!  I love that they "adopted" me as one of their own.  On their vacation Gwen and Tim actually spent time with both of Ken's sisters and their husbands.  And they saw Ken's dad.  I am so thankful that Lia, Ellie, Zeke and Anna will have the photos  (and in some cases) the memories of their vacation. 

Mostly I am thankful that I am close to my grandchildren.  I get to spend time with them every week.  And I get to make memories.  The fact that I have been able to spend time with them has made not working really a very amazing gift.  I love that negative things can turn into positives.  Isn't that just like Jesus?  I needed to have people in my life that will fill the void left by my grandparents death, and He provided wonderful aunts and uncles.  I am making memories and enjoying all the time with my grandchildren BECAUSE I am not working right now.  I love that this gift of extra time has come with an added measure of peace and calm and trust in His provision. 

Okay -  enough about vacations from the past.  My next blog post will be about the amazing worship time I had last night, and the revelations from that time! 

Jesus, thank you for memories of vacations and special times with Mable and George.  Thank you for your provision that extends well beyond what we may first think.  You provide the PEOPLE that we need in our life.  You give us time even when we don't know how much we need that time.  Help us all to see the way that you provide for us.  Give us a new perspective of the everyday things so that we can see your care and concern for us.  Thank you for your great love!  Amen

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