And looking at these pictures, one on top of the other in this blog, I can sure see Doug in Grace and Gwen in Lia! It's amazing to think that 34 years separates these pictures!
I've been thinking about all of the things that we pass on to our children and even to our grandchildren. It must be because, like so many of my friends, retirement is approaching for Ken and I (in a few years). Besides all the fuss and worry about where to live, insurance, making those dollars last for your lifetime, there is that consideration of your legacy. Websters defines a legacy as "something transmitted by or received from an ancestor." The things I have been thinking about are more along the lines of the transmitted items. I am so thankful that my children love celebrating all the holidays with family. I love that being together is the most important thing for our family. The 4th of July was always a big memory for me - being at Lake Maud. There was always a big gathering with a cabin full of people, the yard full of tents and campers, sunburn, swimming, bug bites and fireworks. I believe that I was 19 the first time I missed a fourth of July at Lake Maud. While the place was important, it was really being with the people that made it so special. I love that special legacy that was passed down to me from my parents, has now been passed on to my children and grandchildren. Seeing the pictures of my grandchildren together - seeing the joy of the cousins being together, reminded me of this picture....
Here I am (bottom left) with my sister Julie (top left) and our cousins Corrine (top right) and Thoralee (bottom right)! And of course, this was taken at Lake Maud! Thoralee is the closest in age to me (two years older) of all of my 32 first cousins! Yes, I have 32 first cousins! But since my mom and dad were both the youngest in their families and I am the youngest in my family, most of my cousins were MUCH older than me! As a matter of fact, several of my cousins were in their late twenties when I was born and already were married. Still I loved spending time with my cousins and have many wonderful memories being with them. This extended family time was another legacy from my parents. In spite of living so far apart, I really tried my best to give Gwen and Doug time with their cousins. I love that Gwen and Doug make time to be together with their families. It is certainly a blessing for this grandma!
Just putting these words on the page is such a good reminder for me. The idea of leaving a legacy can be so daunting. It feels like somehow you have failed if there is not a large monetary inheritance to leave your children. When I reflect on my parents and my grandparents and the legacy that I received from them, it is never about money or property. It is always about the love and the closeness of family and the traditions that have been carried on into my life. It always is about the Spiritual legacy - the seeds of faith and belief that were a part of the foundation of our family.
I have the wonderful opportunity to continue to live out that legacy of love with my children and grandchildren. Each of you have that same ability to have an influence over the next generation. If you don't have children of your own, befriend some children in your neighborhood or church. Volunteer and meet some new people. Leave a legacy of love that will live beyond your years. The only requirement for this is time. Be with the ones you love! Give your love to those you are with, whoever that may be - friends, neighbors, coworkers, people you meet in the stores or on the street. Let your life be filled with love that touches others. Now that is an important legacy!
Jesus, thank you for reminding me of your great love for us. Holy Spirit, turn our eyes away from the material things and fill our hearts with love for those around us. Give us eyes to see those who need our time and our love. Jesus, thank you for family and friends and Facebook - that helps to keep us close even when we are miles apart! Amen