A Loving Legacy

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We had a party at my house recently. It marked a very significant birthday for my wonderful mom. My brother and I honored her by gathering all the family to celebrate.

 

And when I say all the family, I’m talking close to 50 people. They came from many miles away, traveling hours in order to be celebrate.

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Four generations!

It was a glorious day of madness and mayhem and endless fun, with children running all over the place, guitars strumming tunes, people young and otherwise clustered around tables laden with food and drink, leaning in to hear each other, the walls ringing with so much laughter.

One sentence was heard repeatedly:

“We have such a great family!”

And we do. Every one of these people are great people.

The funny thing is, as a group, there are many differences:

  • Different faiths
  • Different political beliefs
  • Different careers
  • Different educational levels
  • Different geographical locations
  • Different recreational past times

In a lot of families, any difference would be a division. So what makes our family harmonious?

It’s an easy answer: love.

We love each other fiercely, tenderly, protectively. It was what we all saw in our grandparents, our mothers’ parents, Glen and Irene Rothell. They were humble, sweet and loving. Their love showed in every smile, every gesture, every hug and kiss, every word they spoke or letter they wrote. They loved God, they loved their children, they loved their grandchildren. They loved their parents and honored them. They were honest, good, God-fearing, humble people.

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Grandpa and Grandma Rothell

Grandpa and Grandma were farmers. They weren’t famous. But their rich legacy of love gives them more renown than any spotlight, stage or newspaper ever could.

 

The day of Mom’s party, we felt their presence, even though they’ve been in Heaven since the early 1990’s. Their legacy lives on in all of us. It lives on in our love for one another.

 

That’s what I want my legacy to do, too. How about you?

–Teresa

Thanks to my cousin DeRenda for most of these great pics!

 

Getting Past Our Doubts

A photo by Nitish Meena. unsplash.com/photos/RbbdzZBKRDY

How do we get past our doubts?

With me, it was a long process. I had to ask myself what I could trust — what was a certainty in this life. Even though I felt betrayed by God when my daughter was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis, I had to admit He was the only sure footing I had in this world. Though I could reach out to family and friends, one day they would be gone. God is immortal.

I knew about God; I had put my trust in Jesus for my salvation. However, I didn’t really know God. Not like I knew my family and friends. Maybe that’s why I doubted Him.

Who was the God who let me down?

I had to find out. I researched who He was by opening my Bible to any place, letting those crispy thin pages leaf through my fingers and just flop open…My eyes wandered over the small print, listless. But then I saw something in Isaiah that made me gather my leather Bible closer, tracing unfamiliar words. They resonated deep within my soul, made me blink tears from my eyes.

He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

Isaiah 53:3–5

This was prophecy of Jesus’ death. The emotion I saw on that page, the sorrow, the grief, were the same emotions I struggled with after my daughter’s diagnosis. Even though I knew Jesus’ death on the cross was excruciating, somehow I hadn’t gotten that He knew the depths of grief. When I read this passage, it hit me: Jesus understands my sorrow.

I’d love to tell you that I rose above petty self-centeredness to work through my doubts, but that wouldn’t be the truth. Jesus bridged the gap and met me in my self-centered little world by allowing me to say, Hey, you get me, Jesus.

The thing is, He does get us. He meets us wherever we are — self-centered, mad, beaten down, broken — and He lifts us up to see that He gave His life for us to live in freedom.

This passage gave me perspective. God wasn’t against me. He was in this with me. He knew a lot more of what suffering felt like than I did.

My thirst for who God was continued. The more I found out about God, the more I wanted to know.

I encourage you to open your Bible if you’re wondering where God is or who He is or why He’s done something. Your answer is there. You might have to look a while. But you will find what you’re looking for.

When you do, I’d love to hear your story.

–Teresa

Great book, plus a giveaway!

By Teresa on Sep 23, 2016 02:05 pm

There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all. —Jacqueline Kennedy

Read a good book lately?

I’m always coming across good books. I’m no longer a school librarian, so my books are usually of the 14+ age, and are either inspirational or fiction. But last month I read a book that’s totally different, and I’d like to tell you about it.

Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time, by Jamie C. Martin

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            This book is aimed at parents who seek to expand their child’s view of life through books, with the goal of raising their compassion and understanding of people who live in other places.

Jamie C. Martin asks this: How can we strengthen our kids’ natural love for the world so it doesn’t disappear after awhile? How can we nurture it and grow it, allow it to naturally lead into caring for others around the earth?

Her answer: grow our children’s love of people through books. Aim our children toward stories from cultures different from theirs. By exposing them to literature from other places, their eyes will be opened to other ways of doing things, seeing things, and celebrating customs. Simultaneously, it will prove how much every person has in common with one another.

Seem simple? Yes. Too simple? Maybe. But ask yourself: Do we do this, as parents? As teachers? As grandparents, aunts, uncles, caregivers, or ministry leaders? Do we talk about how much we have in common with the people across the world? Do we discuss the customs practiced 15 hours to the east? To the west? And if not, why not? Would our discussions broaden our scope and that of our children?

If you are like me, the answer is time. Or know-how. There’s no time, or I don’t know enough about the customs of “those places.”

So have we considered that there is a simple way to teach compassion?

We read to know we are not alone.—C.S. Lewis

Surely it’s not as easy as opening a book. Surely raising compassionate, globally-minded kids goes beyond just handing them a book and dusting your hands off, presto-chango.

Well, of course. Jamie C. Martin isn’t saying it’s simple. But she does try to make it as easy as possible by giving adults a little background, some pointers, then providing a well-organized collection of more than 600 selected children’s book titles. They’re listed according to age appropriateness, continent, and country, along with annotations.

This is a phenomenal list, y’all.

Jamie C. Martin is a homeschooling mom. While I’ve never homeschooled – I was a public school educator both in a classroom and the library for a total of twenty-five years – I do have one important thing in common with her: we both grew up reading and are passionate about books. She has written several nonfiction books, which are posted on her website (simplehomeschool.net). Give Your Child the World is her most recent endeavor, published in 2016 by Zondervan.

Willing to give this book a try? I’d highly recommend it! But only if you’re a parent, teacher, librarian, grandparent, aunt/uncle, educator, ministry leader, caregiver, or interested in promoting reading. Or just curious.

Here’s the best news: I’m giving away a copy of Give Your Child the World!

All you have to do is comment on the blog by midnight, Wednesday, September 28, 2016, and you will be entered into the drawing! The winner will be announced the following day. I will send the book to the winner via the U. S. postal system, free of charge. What a great deal!

Check back on Thursday to see if you’re a winner. If it’s not you, don’t despair – I’ll post how YOU can get this awesome resource. (it just won’t be free — but it’s a great buy!)

Happy Reading, y’all!

Teresa 

  

Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty.  It should be offered to them as a precious gift. —Kate DiCamillo