Please excuse me while I think about the past. It seems that I've come to a time in my life when I'm valuing and cherishing 'roots' and 'heritage' keenly. I have always been one of the family 'memory-keepers', but this trait has become stronger as I've grown older. Although I'm not a genealogist, the interest is there and many facts gathered together, just waiting to be organized and studied with care. It's so interesting to observe how families interact and how their values are established. The things they enjoy in life, the hobbies they participate in, and the talents they share all work together to weave into threads of wholeness. Together it creates a complete picture of who a family is.
These facts have come together in my mind more fully recently, as I visited my Grandma, auntie, uncles, and cousins. Observing family traits as they have fully developed in individuals is an interesting thing. My mother's family's English heritage is fully expressed through their love for gardening, writing, painting and drawing, and needlecraft. Even their eating habits remain similar after all these years! My grandmother, and each one of her children share these interests and abilities --- and it's so interesting to observe. Uncle's beautiful vegetable garden is weedless and abundant in fresh greens. Needlepoint and oil painted pictures are beautifully framed on the walls of his living room --- hobbies he developed after his retirement. Auntie has abundant flower gardens in true English style. She loves to write and is published frequently in "Creation" magazine, usually on topics related to nature. A poetess, her verses relate to nature themes. Mother shared all these abilities and I sometimes wonder if the talent stopped there. When we compare ourselves to those who have matured and developed their interests, it seems our own are feeble and lacking, but I do realize that we do grow by God's grace as we mature and develop the talents and abilities He gives to us. Watching my own children as they work to discover their place in life shows me a reflection of those generations before, and I see that the talents and abilities must be passing along through me to the next generation, as those talents are reflected in them, just in their own unique and different way. Their media may be computer, the printed page, and film, but the artistic need to create and the ability to do so is evolving and developing as my sons explore new avenues of creativity. The inner need to create beauty is strong; a part of who we are. Although no one in the family is famous or even sells their crafts or wares, it brings personal enjoyment and satisfaction. . .and that is what it's all about. The fulfillment and expression of who we are and how we enjoy the life God created us for.
Uncle's needlepoint abilities have inspired me. Tried by me once years ago, I gave up in frustration because my completed project was misshapen and greatly lacking in style. I threw it away, but mother rescued it and it hung in her dining room forever after. It's now come back to me (I have it stored away in a box; still out of my sight!). It's time to try again --- so the tools and materials are gathered and I'm ready to start my first stitch in the thread of family history. Thank you, Uncle, for your example and inspiration.
The picture above is of my mother and her younger sister and brother. They were avid gardeners, even at the tender age shown in this photo, and had won a community gardening contest and were awarded trophies for their efforts.