Passing on Our Stories

The Simple Nativity

   When I was a child, my mother would bring out the boxes of Christmas decorations. Among all the beautiful glass ornaments, garland and string of lights there would be a small cardboard box. My mother would carefully open the box and cautiously unwrap each piece and set them on the table. The last item was the small brown cardboard stable.

   I would watch my mom as she she arranged the Nativity scene. Inside the little, simple stable was Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus lying in the tiny manger. In the background you could see the donkey. Circling around Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus were the sheep peacefully watching the baby Jesus. The last figures to be placed were the three Wise Men.

    After we finished decorating the tree, my mom would place the Nativity front and center on the floor at the foot of the tree. She warned us not to cover the Nativity with Christmas presents. I think she wanted to remind us the reason we celebrate Christmas. As a child, I thought now that the Nativity was in place, Christmas could begin.

    The little Nativity was very inexpensive and was probably sold at the local store for very little. However, to my mom, dad and us kids, it was a treasure to keep forever. Year after year, the little simple Nativity, would be displayed in my mom and dad's home. Over the years, it was carefully preserved.

    After my parents died, I was given the Cardboard Nativity with the priceless figures. Each Christmas, I too, carefully unwrap the Nativity and take it to a place of honor. When I look upon this family heirloom, I recall wonderful memories of growing up. It was a simple time. We didn't have a lot material things but we experienced a treasure house of love.

    I am hoping to pass on the cardboard Nativity someday to someone who will also treasure it. The value of an item is not in how much you pay for it, but who it represents.

   This simple Nativity helps me to contemplate the first Christmas in a stable in Bethlehem where the Christ child was born in poverty while Mary and Joseph were filled with treasures of everlasting love.

"And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." Luke 2:7

Reflection:

May you and I make room for Jesus in the inn of our hearts this Christmas

The Red Head..George..Sam

   After my Dad recovered from his serious injuries from a mine accident, he started to build up his broken down body. He did push-ups to strengthen his arm muscles. He also began to walk.   

   He walked with a cane and a very noticeable limp. His one knee was held together by pins inserted surgically. His knee would never bend again. However, this did not stop Dad from walking about two to three miles a day. He would walk in the hills behind our home called North Walkerville.

    At that time, it was just an old country dirt road with fields of sagebrush, rocks and a somewhat rugged terrain. Today, North Walkerville is filled with new homes and beautiful landscaping.

    My Mom kept herself busy. She dived into her passion of creating and sewing beautiful quilts on her old Singer Sewing Machine. She would get lost for hours on her quilting projects.

    Every day, my Dad would say to Mom, “I'm going for my walk.” Mom began to tease Dad that he was going to meet his redheaded girlfriend in those hills and thats why he wanted to walk. It became a lighthearted joke between them. As Dad would get ready for his walk Mom would say “Going to meet that redhead again are you?” Dad would just smile. It was all in fun.

    Sometimes couples and families pick up little charming sayings for each other. My husband quite awhile ago started calling me "George" to get my attention. It worked because I would respond to him immediately. I began to call him “Sam.” Not sure why but the names stuck. One day in Walmart, my husband yelled, “Hey, George.” The clerk looked at us rather strangely and especially when I responded with “What Sam?”

    In life sometimes you just have to not take things so seriously all the time. It is good to keep things lighthearted at times. It helps to get through the tough stuff of life. “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

Reflection

Don't be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8: 10

 

 

The Night Time Snack

     It was a family ritual that occurred every evening at my home growing up in Walkerville Montana. For our night time snack, we indulged in a tasty bowl of dry cereal. I think it was my mom who started this family ritual of eating cereal at night. My brother Jack, little sister Betty and my dad just followed her lead.

    Mom would get out the boxes of cereal and ask us to choose which one we would like. Back then there wasn't all lot of dry cereals like there are today. There was Corn Flakes, Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Raisin Bran, Wheaties and my mom's favorite Special K.

   I liked Rice Krispies because I could listen for the snack, crackle and pop the cereal would always sing. My mom liked Special K because it was low in calories. It might have been low in calories but mom would always put half and half crème on her cereal. But in her view it was still low in calories. Eating dry cereal at night before bedtime became a family tradition.

    We hardly ever ate dry cereal for breakfast. Mom would fix Quaker oatmeal mush or Crème of Wheat or Malt-o-meal. My dad would usually state that “You need hot cereal because it sticks to your ribs and it will last until lunch time.” He was absolutely right. Occasionally mom would fix either pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs and toast for breakfast.

    I must admit I have failed to carry on this family tradition. Today, I don't eat dry cereal at night for my bedtime snack. However, every morning I do eat dry cereal for breakfast. Many times while I am eating my cereal in the morning, I quietly remember my little family gathered around the kitchen table eating their bowl of cereal, laughing and just enjoying being together. It always brings a smile to my face. It was a time of simply enjoying our bedtime snack and enjoying being with each other.

Reflection:

Jesus, help me to always remember to cherish the simple moments of spending time together with those I love.

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Jill | Reply 30.06.2018 15.56

Nicknames from our loved ones are the best! Thanks, Connie.

Tammy Saulnier | Reply 18.06.2018 19.50

I remember my dad often ate cereal at night and I know my brother and son do to. I guess the tradition has been passed on.

connie Beckman 19.06.2018 07.05

So glad the this family tradition lives on. Families are amazing

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01.01 | 19:51

A very blessrd 2019 to as well

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01.01 | 11:23

WOW, Connie, you are spot on!
Happy New Year and God Bless You!

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05.12 | 09:31

Thanks Connie, so true...

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23.10 | 21:08

I would like to receive i’m a catholic

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