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Re-filling my cup


A souvenir cup from a genealogy trip Mom and I took a few years ago.  Everytime I use it, I recall the wonderful time we had together.

The week of June 7-12 I took another genealogy trip…without Mom.  I attended the week long class as part of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.  It was an important event for me for several reasons including personal development, of course, and to get myself ‘back on that horse’ of doing genealogy research without my Mom’s help and company.  She would have loved being there and learning.  It was a great week and now I’ve got to apply pieces I learned.

My lunch spot one day during my week on Samford's campus.

My lunch spot one day during my week on Samford’s campus.




My mom loaned the book How to be a Christian without being religious by Fritz Ridenour to me several years ago and it has been in my nightstand waiting for me to finish it.  I’ve read the first many pages several times over the years but never seemed to make it through.  It’s on my mom’s list of favorite books and I’ve heard her talk about the concepts in it for as long as I can remember.   I’ve decided to read the books on my Mom’s favorite list.  So, with my cat purring by my side, I finished reading this book this week.  It’s an easy read and, for me, the concepts are what I was raised understanding.  When my mom described herself and beliefs in the “About” section on her blog she said:

Although I am a deeply spiritual woman and much of my writing will reflect that aspect of me, for the most part, spiritual or reflective blogging will be published on my other blog, Notes from Life’s Journey. Although I participate actively within the framework of a traditional Christian church, I chose to characterize myself as spiritual rather than religious. That choice was made due to my understanding of religion as an organized system designed to bring people into alignment with God [or whatever name the participant uses for deity]. I believe the Christian tradition is not so much about a religious system that leads us to God, but is about God reaching out to us. The best expression of this concept came from a book I read many years ago written by Friz Ridenour called “How to be a Christian Without Being Religious. — Donna Brown

I’m glad I read it and now on to another book on her list.


Christmas Week

Wednesday, December 25, 2014

2014Dec25_0007This morning I used my Mom’s snowflake coffee cup and enjoyed a new flavor of coffee (a gift from my son) and an almond biscotti biscuit (a gift from my daughter).

Later as my Dad and I were standing in the hallway, my eyes were drawn to that coffee cup sitting on the kitchen counter.  This is photo that captures what I saw. I see an image of a heart formed from the shapes of the cup’s handle and the handle’s shadow. Interestingly, the shadow side looks as if it is someone’s thumb and finger joining the handle so that the two parts (spiritual and physical perhaps) create the image of a heart.   “All is Well” my Mom said and continues to say this Christmas Day, which also marks one month ago that she died.

Another point to consider is that earlier that morning my Dad and I were talking about the power & symbolism of numbers, specifically 3 & 7.   So, it was amazing that when I was trying to determine which of the photos to use, only photos named 2014Dec25_0003 and 2014Dec_0007 were in focus.  The one included above is my overall favorite, number 7.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

20141204_0031I placed an ad on Craigslist 21 days ago to sell my mom’s piano, which was a gift to her from her mother in 1966. I’ve been quite worried about getting it to a good home. Last night I received a text that opened “My name is Charissa and I am looking for a piano for my daughter to play at home…Sincerely Charissa” She made arrangements with me to pick it up today.

When I woke up this morning and saw all the snow I fully expected to hear that she would not be coming, however; I was wrong. Charissa came, in the snow, and bought the piano as a gift for her 10 year daughter.

There’s more back story I want to share so you too may appreciate the significance this has for me and my family.

One day many years ago when my mom was going through some difficult times a beautiful cat came to her door wanting attention. My mom took the cat in and deliberated over what to name her. She ultimately chose to name her Charissa because the meaning of the name is grace (free, unmerited favor of God).  Later when my grandma moved in with my mom my grandma and Charissa became quite close.  This was fascinating because Grandma didn’t care for cats, however; Charissa won her over.  Charissa died in 2009 after having been a comfort in my mom’s home for 17 years.


This image name is : Charissa-IMG_1696_007

Sunday, December 28, 2014

This morning I was working on the photos I took Christmas Eve when my family come to my house.  One photo in particular interested me because I observed the similarity of the positioning of my dad’s and brother’s hands and the manner in which they held them was similar.  As I was looking at the photo I was thinking about the fact that this was my first Christmas without my Mom.  It was then that I noticed that I had unknowingly included a photo of my Mom in the photo.  Then I started thinking about whether I was reading way more into the possibility of Mom comforting me even though she’s no longer living.  I opted to move on to a different task since I wasn’t able to resolve that in my mind just yet.

My next task involved listening to music.  After planning my Mom’s memorial service I became keenly aware of how little information I have gathered to help others when I die.  So, I decided to open up my iTunes and identify some of my favorite songs.   Of course, the songs I’ve listened to recently are those identified in an album labeled “Donna’s Favorites”.   The highlighted playlist was “Donna’s Favorites” yet the song playing was “I See The Lord” by Matthew Ward, a song I haven’t listened to in years and not in my Mom’s favorites.  I thought it was odd and couldn’t figure out why it was cued up.  Regardless, I fully listened to the song.

Here’s a youtube video with Matthew Ward singing this song.  For me, the images in this video interfere with the music so I play the video and close my eyes or read along with the lyrics instead. 

Here are the lyrics:


I see the Lord seated on the throne, exalted
And the train of His robe
Fills the temple with glory
And the whole earth is filled
The whole earth is filled
And the whole earth is filled
With His glory



Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord
Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord



I see the Lord seated on the throne

 My takeaway from listening to this song at this time is that God is showing me that He is present and that my Mom is with me as well, helping to comfort me.