My Past has Shaped Me

I am a white girl, who grew up in a poor family.  My dad worked construction, and of course we had to move where the work was.  There were many times that my dad decided he would go to another state to work and send money back to us, just so we would not have to change schools.  There was a time when we lived in a tent, but my dad did not allow us to go to school in dirty clothes.  I remember the heartbreak of being in junior high and not wanting to make friends because, I did not want them to know I did not have a home.  I would actually go eat in the bathroom to avoid being made fun of.  It was a devastatingly difficult time.  As I grew up, I rejected religion, yet was oddly fascinated by it.  I tried it all, new age, Buddhism, Hinduism, Spiritualism etc.  It was not until I turned 19 that I decided Christianity was the path for me.  Jesus was the main reason for my decision.  He did not judge, he preached love of all and he came for everyone!  He accepted all!  All.

As I have continued my journey, I have come to realize that everyone has their path, and I love listening to their stories.  I love sitting a talking with those who believe differently from me, so that I can better understand where they are coming from.  What they have been through.  How they overcame whatever it was they went through in their lives.  You see, America is pretty cool that way.  We have come from different places around the world.  We celebrate culture and diversity.  We celebrate being different.  At least, that is what I thought until lately.  But maybe it has not changed.  If I and all of us, have been shaped by our past, that means that we can learn from our mistakes as a nation.  This means, that instead of becoming more divisive, we can come together in peace, love, and unity despite our political agendas or religious preferences.  It means that we can find common ground.

It seems to me that we as believers in Higher Power or those who believe in humanity,  have all been taught something similar:  to welcome the stranger.  To practice a hospitality so radical that it means to extend our hand and hearts to those who are in need.  This does not change in any religious belief.  It is common ground.

I implore everyone to seek facts and not fake news.  To meet others different from you, and to extend your hand to ALL.  We do not know everyone’s stories, but we can learn to listen.

Sunday Storytelling-Harvest Time

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I have very few memories of actually harvesting anything as a child, but the ones I do have stand out in my mind.  We moved around quite a bit as I was growing up, and mainly stayed in rentals.  In the rentals, the yard was never huge, and there was really now reason to have a garden because you had to get the landlords approval.  While living in Las Vegas, we lived in an apartment, and the city garden movement was pretty much nonexistent.

As a little kid in early elementary school, I still lived in Oklahoma, and my Great Grandma Helberg was still alive.  She live in a smaller town, 9 miles away from the bigger small town.  I actually remember being in a car with my grandma and grandpa as we traveled to see my Great Grandmother.  I remember it taking most of the morning on the one lane old highway, and I remember having to pack a lunch to go.  As I look back on that now, I chuckle because my parents live in that small town.  It takes me 20 minutes to get to the grocery store in the bigger small town.  But, my grandpa was a slow driver.  There were picnic table stops along the way, and even still today if you travel back highway’s in Oklahoma, you will find a random covered picnic table stop.  I do believe it was used for families traveling from farm to farm, a rest area with no bathrooms.  By the time we made it to Great Grandmas, we were so excited to get out of the car and run around.  These trips were for helping her harvest her big vegetable garden.  It truly was a big family fun event.  She would make us corn husk dolls, and let us play in the guestroom.  Oh, I loved that guestroom.  It had a vanity that I dreamed of having, and I remember make believing I was putting makeup on.  Her house was so exciting and new.  I also remember going out to see the outhouse that my great grandfather used.  Even though they had plumbing, he refused to use the bathroom in the house, he only used the outhouse.  I also remember all the German books, which I have a few now, but being intrigued that they could speak another language.  They came fresh off the boat from Germany.  Great Grandma Helberg’s house was exotic for a child, and all children could not help but get lost in make believe.

When I was in college and ended up moving back to Oklahoma, my Grandma (Great Grandma Helberg daughter in law) would sit in a rocking chair on her back porch with a bowl full of beans, and we would snip the ends of the beans and talk.  We would talk about life, about how she was doing, about anything really.  I remember feeling a sense of calm, slowing things down and being in the moment.  The simple act of harvesting brought people together.  It was always hard work, but it was good work, the kind that got the whole family involved.

I think on some level, this is why I have a big garden today.  The kids and I will sit on the back porch, snip beans or peas, tie herbs to dry and shuck corn.  It is slow, deliberate and on some level fun.  Even though we do not have a grandma close by, we have a community that shares their harvest at church or we can go down the street and get tomatoes that are overwhelming a neighbor.  Gardening brings people together, and people who would not normally talk, suddenly talk about their tomato crop, or how those pesky beetles hurt their potatoes this year.

Harvest time brings a community together, and reminds us that the most valuable communication is face to face and growing memories together.

I hope you are all having a happy harvest!

Love,

Suzy

If you have a story to tell, please leave a comment with your link.  If you do not have a blog, please leave a comment!

Memory Lane-The Art of Making a Phone Call

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Do you remember when making a phone call was very intentional?  Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy having my cell phone, and staying in touch with my children when they leave.  There are definite advantages to having access to a phone at all times.  But, it is few and far between that I make a phone call to really see how someone is doing or even to just talk.  Really talk, without distractions.  It’s almost as if the convenience of the phone has made conversations a little less meaningful, and a lot more utilitarian.

So I have been doing things a little more intentionally lately.  One thing, I try to call people when I am not as distracted.  For instance, last week, I was driving back and forth from a larger city which was an hour each way.  I used this two hours a day to call those whom I normally would not have a whole hour to devote too.  I was so glad I did, and I came back renewed and excited about talking to friends.  This meant really listening to them and what was happening in their lives.

Secondly, I have been using texts to check and see if it would be a good time for a call.  Even though I love the old way of doing things, not everybody does, and this is a great way to mix old and new together.

Thirdly, I try not to talk about things that are needed.  Instead, I just talk.  I live far away from all of my family.  The closest family member are six hours away.  So, I feel like it is important to return this lost art of phone conversation.  I do not want those whom I am calling to feel as though I need something every time I call.  Besides, I do love to talk.  I remember spending hours on the phone with my friends after school even though I had seen them all day.  Now that I have a 13 year old, it has reminded me of the excitement of getting a phone call from a friend, just to talk.

I know, we live in a world that is so easy to get information, but there is something that a phone call can do that Facebook can’t.  It actually allows you to hear the voice of the ones you miss the most.

So here’s to making someone’s day by letting them know you care!

Love,

Suzy