“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, lecturer, and poet (1803-1882)
I have always loved to write. Writing as an adult has helped me and continues to help me face unimaginable fears. Fear stops people from writing. My mind has habitually been an inquisitive one…”why this?” and “why that?” Writing helps me to seek (and sometimes even find) answers to the big questions of living in this world…questions that most who have a beating heart have, too. Viktor Frankl was one of those who struggled with the big questions as he was in captivity in Auschwitz and Dachau. He penned some of his questions and answers in the beloved book Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl is known for the quote: “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”
I have written in my personal journal for the past twenty-five years, since 1989. It is intriguing to go back many years and read documented details of days in the life of our family. If you have never kept a journal, it’s not too late! You may want to consider starting one in 2015. There is no pressure in keeping your own personal account. You can pen a few sentences or a paragraph every three to four days and that will be enough to bring times that have passed back into your memory bank.
“Down here at the sea, early this morning while my family still sleeps. I just read Chapter Five, Oyster Bed, from Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea. Love her reminders about Middle Age and amazed they are still so applicable today….p. 85 a quote from author Virginia Woolf who meets middle age admitting: ‘Things have dropped for me. I have outlived certain desires…I am not so gifted as at one time seemed likely. Certain things lie beyond my scope. I shall never understand the harder problems of philosophy.” (tho I’m quite sure Walker Page WILL!) DP just finished “When Crickets Cry” by Charles Martin, and really enjoyed it. It was recommended to him by our good friends, Jane Ellen and Sandy, in addition to myself. I hope to do a quick reread of it since it has been 2-3 years since I read it. I really want to discuss it with DP. I’ve also been rereading Gordon Macdonald’s “Ordering your Private World.” Even though it was written in 1984, the message to me here is more important than ever: p.8 “I have discovered that to bring organization to the private world where Christ chooses to live is BOTH a lifelong and a daily matter.”
an excerpt from my journal dated 8/5/11
I write because when I do, I literally lose myself for the time period in which I am writing. I believe that to be a good thing. We can all benefit from a recreational activity that we’re passionate about. Writing is that for me.
Writing involves some time researching whatever I’m choosing to write about. Come what may, I’m interested in researching the whats, the whys, the hows, the whens, and the wheres surrounding a variety of circumstances in life.
I love, love, love reading and reading is an important and essential part of the writing process. Just ask my husband how many books arrive in our snail mail in a month’s time! I also hang out regularly at our local library. Books fill our shelves and they fill my heart too.
One of my favorite things to write would have to be notes and letters. I mean U.S. Postal Service letters! (receiving them is nice, too!) My sister, Laura Lea and I frequently mail our thoughts back and forth even though our homes are only 45 miles apart. My friend, Marie, whom I have known for over 3 decades, lives only an hour from my home but we have become regular pen pals over the years and I cherish her newsy notes to me. I definitely got this, like many things, from my dear Mama. At her funeral in 2006, her pastor asked how many folks in the congregation had ever received a note, card, or letter from Polly…nearly every one of the more than 200 raised their hands. I love to write because the right words can touch a heart and soul. One can be so encouraged after receiving some hand-written correspondence. If you have a college student in your family, aging parents, or even a young couple who lives out-of-town, consider writing them a personal letter now and then.
“Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German playwright, poet, novelist, dramatist (1749-1832)
“There must be millions of people all over the world who never get any love letters…I could be their leader.”
“It’s not the size of a man but the size of his heart that matters.” Evander Holyfield, retired
American professional boxer (1962- )
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop, ancient story teller
(620 BCE-564 BCE)
Well, the big game, AU vs UGa, that took place in the Heart of the South is now in the history books and most that care anything at all about football know what the outcome was. University of Georgia on top, with a final score of 34-7. The team that won, as expected, was the team that showed up in full force to win the game. Sanford Stadium was as loud and electrifying as ever before and I am so glad I was one of the more than 92,000 in the stands, despite the near freezing low temperatures.
As I reflect on the day, my mind is not on football, but on friendship, family and kindness. Donny, Leah, Scott, and I walked miles in very hilly Athens, Georgia to ensure that we connected with some long-time friends. These friends are from many different seasons of our lives, including high school, college, early married years, and early child-rearing years. Donny and I have been intentional about our friendships and many of these we saw before the game have been beside us for our parents’ funerals , our children’s weddings, and many seasons in-between.
“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”
Helen Keller, American author, political activist, lecturer (1880-1968)
During this long and fun day, one of my favorite things to do is to people watch. With this, I noticed many random acts of kindness, a college kid allowing a family of four to go ahead of him so that the family could stick together in the crowd, a guy buying a pizza for the students behind him in the concession line, and a police officer handing my daughter her headband that she inadvertently dropped while being admitted into the game, just to name a few.
I also witnessed some extremely rude situations throughout the day. A fan behind us repeatedly taunting an opposing team fan in front of us (until I turned around and told him to stop!), another fan mouthing off loudly to anyone who would look in his direction as he was leaving the stadium. These fans could’ve easily been from either team, but sadly they were from the winning team in both situations.
And finally, as our family was pulling out of the still very crowded parking lot, a truck was parked in the way with the driver sitting in it. His window was opened, so I called out to him to please move up a little so that we could make our exit. His reply was, ” Other cars have been able to get by me.” and he continued to sit there when there was plenty of room for him to move forward. We were both in larger vehicles , pick-up trucks that require more space. Slowly, I made my way around him through the very tight squeeze. Seriously?!?
With thousands upon thousands of humans gathered in such a small space, this calls for an extra measure of patience and even more than the usual common kindness of people. When in a circumstance such as this, we do not have the same personal space we usually have.
Sure, I love my Georgia Bulldogs, and since only one team could claim victory, I am happy they triumphed last night.
Practicing kindness, however, is a clean sweep for both teams!
“Football is an honest game. It’s true to life . It’s a game about sharing. Football is a team game. So is life.”
Joe Namath, former American football quarterback and actor (May 31, 1943- )[/pullquote]
The excitement is mounting over a huge football game being played in the Heart of the South this weekend. The University of Georgia Bulldogs will take on the Auburn University Tigers in Athens, Georgia on Saturday, November 15, 2014 where over 92,000 fans will gather together. A lot of folks love a good football game, and I am no exception. Admittedly, I don’t follow the players as a faithful fan should , but I do know a few tidbits about this weekend’s big match up. I know that the AU Tigers are counting on senior quarterback, Nick Marshall to have a mistake-free start and a strong running game while, UGa quarterback, Hutson Mason needs a key win, and running back and former Heisman front runner, Todd Gurley is returning for the Bulldogs after missing four games due to a NCAA suspension and word is that he has stayed in top shape. This could mean he’ll start, even though freshman, Nick Chubb has done fantastic in Gurley’s absence. AU has an increased challenge being on the road after a big loss last week. I’ve kept up with some other AU and UGa games this season, especially the most recent match-ups. While UGa is coming off of a big, winning blowout against the Kentucky Wildcats with a score of 63-31, Auburn is getting over a very close loss to Texas A&M, 41-38. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that both teams need and want a win if there is any hope of staying in the running for the SEC title.
This game is important to us and a lot of families that we know for the same reason. We have both UGa fans and Auburn fans in our immediate family, so that makes us a house divided!
My husband, Donny and I met on a blind date as students on the UGa campus before our 20th birthdays and our daughter, Leah and her husband, Scott are recent graduates of Auburn. Not only was Scott an athletic team trainer for the Tigers, his family is a many generational AU family, so we have fun ribbing each other about this rivalry. In addition, our new daughter-in-law, Jessica graduated in May of this year from AU. Thanks to Scott’s grandparents, we were able to get some “hard to come by” tickets to the game so we will be driving over to Athens, Georgia with Leah and Scott on Saturday. We plan to fly both a UGa flag AND an AU flag on our truck! We are so looking forward to meeting up with lots of good friends, many that we attended high school or college with. There will be boatloads of BBQ, fried chicken, burgers, hotdogs, and ribs, chips/dips, brownies, and coolers filled to the brim with favorite game day beverages, too. The parking lots and practically every square inch of this old school campus founded in 1785, will be covered with Red/Black and Orange/Blue, enthusiastic fans, families, friends, and students. Dozens of kids will be rolling in the fall leaves and throwing footballs to one another. It will be a truly All-American kind of day. Leah and I talked today about how we will plan to stay warm as a big chill is coming in this weekend. With a 7:15 p.m., ET kickoff, we will surely be wearing big coats, gloves, earmuffs and we’ll carry blankets into the Sanford Stadium, too. I bet we will be looking for some hot chocolate as we head to our seats.
And as the school bands are cranking up, the enormous, broad-shouldered players from Georgia and Auburn line the field on each side, the National Anthem is sung loudly, I’ll get that same thankful feeling I always get when I am in a place like this…
It is good to be alive!
See you between the hedges!
“Our roots say we’re sisters, our hearts say we’re friends.”
With both of our parents now gone, the four Walker Sisters find it more important than ever to meet for our quarterly Sister Sessions. Today was one of those days and it was grand to be together again. We all always agree that we feel closer to our Mama when we are at a table sharing a meal, sharing our life and our hearts. Life is busy, that’s for sure. Often , are too tired to travel to each other for our gathering. Yet, we all consider it a priority to make a date at least every three months. And we easily recall how our Mama always said , “You can sleep when you’re dead.”
It is a time we pass along clothes we no longer wear and recommend books we have read. We encourage and edify each other, and we laugh until we cry over memories we recall. We bring our calendars and note important upcoming occasions.
We all want to continue the loving legacy that began with our parents when they married in 1947.
We love our two brothers and we miss them when they’re not with us, but they wouldn’t want to join us for a Sister Session, ’cause it’s all girl talk.
Girls should always make time to connect whether they are friends, sisters, moms/daughters, nieces/aunts, neighbors and others.
Girls need time to share what is going on in their world with someone who cares.
Our Sister Session is a great opportunity for this.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” John Muir, Scottish-American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the U.S. (1838-1914)
Our community is fortunate to have Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park nearby for both fitness and restoration. Our yellow lab, Gracie and I took full advantage of this jewel a few days ago and just getting outside on a beautiful fall day did us both good. As John Muir stated so eloquently here, “…my cares dropped off like autumn leaves.”
The park is filled with so many great trails. If you want to avoid the roots and rocks, walk or jog on the mountain road. The road to the top of Kennesaw Mountain starts at the Visitor’s Center and is 1 mile each way. This road also offers a challenging workout along with several spectacular long distance views. You can stop by the Visitor’s Center at 900 Kennesaw Mountain Drive and pick up a Calorie Counter Hiking Map, checking out the historical museum while you are there.
Joining a girlfriend or two on the mountain is always a good idea!
Did you know? Kennesaw Mountain was a physical barrier standing between a large Federal force and an important Confederate railroad and manufacturing center. The battle played an important role in a complicated national drama of bitter military combat and politics.
Where do you go to disconnect from the world and technology?
What place aids you in restoring your soul?
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” ~Abraham Lincoln~
A friend of mine who lives in England recently mentioned the poem Desiderata to me and this really sent me to thinking more and more about it. I have pictured here an old framed copy of the poem that was hung in my parents’ bedroom in my childhood home and it is one of my greatest treasures.
Though many believe the myth that Desiderata was first found in 1692 in Old St. Paul’s Church, the truth is that is was penned in 1927 by American writer, Max Ehrmann.
“Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings…Be gentle with yourself.”
As I ponder the words in this poem hanging in my parents’ bedroom where they could refer to it often as they raised six children, I truly believe that the legacy my Mom and Dad have left behind is mirrored in this old poem. Desiderata was inspiration in their daily path. In a 2012 interview, actor, Morgan Freeman expressed how deeply the message in Desiderata had shaped his life.
As a fifty-something woman, I am continually seeking signposts and guidance, not only from our God and His Word, but also through those who have gone on ahead of us. I also find much wisdom in the written word, as is so beautifully illustrated here in Desiderata. I can only hope that, like my parents, my legacy will reflect some part of this beautiful message written by Mr. Ehrmann, when my dear father was a seven year old boy.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
This is easy to accomplish by placing posters, quote plaques, favorite photos, or artwork in places where you will see them as you journey through your day…in your laundry area, your garage, your closet space, or wherever else you know you will walk by and see it on a regular basis.
This is a little gift you can give yourself without much effort. Simply google “quotes about _________”, and get started by typing and then printing a word document of a favorite quote you find that speaks to your heart. Then be on the lookout for more thoughts you can add to the inspiration in your path. When you have a little time on your hands, you might want to purchase an art canvas or a small board from your local home improvement store, and paint or write a favorite quote as seen here.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Dr. Seuss
“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” George Burns
“October is the one month when temperatures moderate in the daytime and invigorate us in the evening. This month and change in the weather is conducive to reflective thought, exhilarating exercise, outdoor labor, charitable endeavor, courtships and pleasant romps with babies and small children.” ~Russell Baker, NYTimes, Ode to October~
I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention. Diane Sawyer, American Journalist
My alarm chimed at 5:15 a.m yesterday to remind me that I had promised to drive to Thomaston, Georgia for the day. My husband of 32 years grew up there and his Dad, Don Page was going to be the speaker of the week at the local Kiwanis Club. I was really glad I was able to be there to hear my father-in-law tell about his life’s mission of serving others. At nearly 84 years of age, after a tumultuous, impoverished upbringing, Don rose above to be the first in his family to attend college, followed by Law School at the University of Georgia. As I listened to this brief talk, I considered the strong legacy Donald A. Page, Sr. has built for his children, his grandchildren and future generations-one of service, kindness, godliness and love.
As I drove home alone in silence, I pondered the challenge of leaving a positive legacy when we pass on. I often repeat the anonymous quote: “This isn’t a dress rehearsal. We only get one chance at this life.” What kind of legacy do you and I want to leave? I find myself invited by Don to rise up, to live the best life possible while there is still sand in the hour glass.