Tag: love

Letters of Love… by JoAnn

The handwritten letter. A thing of the past that kids nowadays know virtually nothing about. I have written hundreds, maybe even thousands, of handwritten letters in my lifetime. It used to be my favorite way of communication. A hobby that I loved and truly enjoyed.

In my day, children learned how to write a proper letter, by hand, in elementary school. A clean sheet of paper and a sharp pencil were all we needed. We strove to perfect our handwriting, first in basic print, then in cursive. I received all A’s in both. I loved handwriting; it was so magical to me. I was a shy girl and had not been brought up in a family that easily expressed their emotions. Either negative or positive. We loved one another very much; we just didn’t go around talking about it. Nor did we express an opinion if we knew it was not the same as everyone else. So talking didn’t come easily for me. I was more comfortable sitting back and listening to everyone else. I had to get to know someone for a good while before I opened up to them.

Writing was different. A letter to a friend or family member was so easy. I wrote to my favorite aunt, several cousins, and many friends, and I even had pen pals. I rarely missed a week that I didn’t receive letters in return in our mailbox. It was such a thrill to get the replies. I was not a phone person. I still am not. But receiving a letter from a loved one gave me a smile that would brighten my whole day. It’s difficult to explain, but receiving a letter made me feel special to that person. They had taken the time to think only of me and handwrite their sentiments while also going through the process of mailing it to me. It took effort, which meant that I was special to them, just as I had tried to make them feel with the letter I sent them.

Everyone has heard of love letters, “Letters of romance.” But I believe all handwritten letters are indeed Letters of Love. A true, old-fashioned way of expressing our feeling of admiration for someone we know is done with love in our hearts. Letters bring joy and warmth to both the person giving and the person receiving the letter.

Today’s emails and texts are amazing! I would never want to give up the convenience of either. They are both crucial to our world’s way of living. But it saddens me that cursive writing is no longer taught in most elementary schools or that it is no longer deemed necessary for a person to have a signature. I believe technology has gone too far with that one. I may not need to sign my name on a paper check to buy groceries anymore, but I believe my children still want to see my handwriting on the birthday card they receive from me.

Maybe I am just too old-fashioned. It has been years since I have received a handwritten letter from a loved one. It has been a very long time since I have sent one myself. That makes me sad. Maybe it’s time I resume one of my favorite old hobbies. Is anyone looking for a pen pal?

Grandparents… by JoAnn

Being a parent to my three daughters has been the most important job I have ever had. It is the one I am most proud of the successes and the one I have the most regrets for mistakes made and things left undone. With it, I have experienced every single emotion known to the human spirit. Some days have been long, and challenging, and some have been short and sweet. But every day spent being a parent has been filled with love. Pure love!

There is something so different about being a grandparent. There are many words to describe it, but the first one that always comes to mind is JOY. Ah, yes, the pure love is definitely there too. It’s the foundation that is already in place for the relationship between grandparent and grandchild to grow. What seems to be so different is the easiness of it all.

When kids are growing, parents have so much responsibility. It really is quite overwhelming and all-consuming. But in a good way. Still, it is a hard job. One that we would not trade for anything in the world, but nevertheless, it can be difficult.

When you become a grandparent, it’s no longer challenging. Everything is easy! The responsibilities aren’t there. All you have to do is love that grandchild, which is the easiest thing you will ever do. And what a joy. Pure JOY.

I have been blessed with two granddaughters and one grandson. Just thinking of them brings a smile to my soul. I am so very blessed to have them in my life. I also strive to be a blessing in theirs.

Growing up, I was the youngest girl of a very long line of grandchildren on both sides of my family. By the time I was born, my only living grandfather, my daddy’s dad “Pop,” was already in his late 70s. My only grandmother, my mama’s mom’s “Grandma,” was already in her late 80s. Unfortunately, Pop had dementia. I only remember seeing him a couple of times in my young life. I never got to know him as a man or as a grandparent. I didn’t understand at the time, but I knew in my heart that he should be an important part of my life, and I was clearly missing out on something. I knew Grandma a little more. Her mind was clear, but she was bedridden. We visited a couple of times a month, but being so young, Grandma’s situation was a little scary to me. So I never had the chance just to sit down and talk with her and get to know her as a woman.

When I had my own children, it was essential to me that they knew their grandparents. I wanted my girls to know each of their grandparents as individuals and have good relationships with them. I thought it was so important that they had what I clearly missed out on.

I am happy to say that my dream for my children was fulfilled the best it could be. My two oldest daughters have the most memories of all four grandparents. My youngest didn’t get to enjoy her two grandmothers and her grandfather (my dad) for as long. Fortunately, they still have their grandpa Tommy Hale. He means the world to them, and I could not be prouder of the grandparent he has always been to my girls! They were even blessed with a special grandmother Jerilyn, who they have come to love just as much as any grandparent.

What’s really wonderful is that my grandchildren have gotten to know their grandparents on both sides and even some of their great-grandparents. I couldn’t be happier! They may not understand the importance of it all right now, but someday they will. There will be a part of their hearts that will be complete because of it. If they have their own children, they will understand even more. What a blessing.

One-on-One Time…by JoAnn

I am a huge advocate that parents need to spend occasional one-on-one time with each of their children. From the time they are young, during their teen years, and after they are adults.

I have three grown daughters. This year, their ages will be 39, 37, and 30. I love my daughters more than life itself. Being their mother has been an essential part of my life and has been the reason for the most joyful times I have known.

With everyone having their own life to live, it becomes a real challenge to have one-on-one time with an adult child. A genuine effort has to be made by both parties. It was easy to keep up with each other’s daily routines, good days, and bad days while living under the same roof. But when the chicks begin to fly and leave the nest for their own, the busyness of life and the world’s stresses have a way of pulling loved ones apart. We have to try harder!

Lately, I have felt an authentic, heartfelt need to connect with each of my girls. They each seem so busy with meaningful projects in their lives that I have not had the heart to ask for their time. One of the worst feelings in the world for a parent is to feel like a burden on our children. I felt as if it would be very selfish of me to do so.

Sometimes life just has a way of working things out for us. I have been in desperate need of help with cleaning and organizing my apartment. It was built in 1970 and requires some major repairs. Repairs that will require me to move out for at least a whole week. I will also have to take my belongings with me so the floors can be replaced entirely.

I can no longer do things, like cleaning fast and furious, as I did in my younger years. Much less move furniture around. I knew I needed help, but I became silent in asking, hoping, and praying it would somehow all workout.

And it did. My beautiful Chelsea, my sweet baby girl, saw I needed help and came to my rescue. Like a little angel with the power of a tornado, she came into my home and got more done in a matter of days than I could have done in one year! She amazed me, and she also took a burden from me that was so heavy.

I never asked Chelsea for her help. She offered. Somehow, someway, my youngest daughter grew into a kind, loving, generous, and empathetic adult. I couldn’t be more proud of her. I doubt she realizes just how much her help means to me. She probably won’t be able to until someday, when she is older and in the same need for help. That is how life lessons work.

But that was not the only blessing to come out of this story. My daughter and I ended up spending much-needed and valuable one-on-one time. It had been way too long. Yes, we were sweating, and yes, we were doing not-so-pleasant chores, but the magic happened anyway. We laughed, cried, hugged, and were able to catch up on each other’s lives.

When Chelsea walked away, I was left with a clean apartment, organized rooms, and a heart full of love for my youngest. I felt revived, renewed, and ready to face Spring with a happy attitude.

Chelsea plans to return this weekend and help me finish a few loose ends. I can’t wait to see her. Not just for the help, which I am very grateful for, but for the one-on-one time we will be spending with each other again.

Now to find a way to spend some overdue one-on-one time with my other two daughters. It will be a challenge, but no doubt it will be worth it.

When Someone Love’s You… by Taylor

“When someone loves you, the way they talk about you is different. You feel safe and comfortable.”–Jess C. Scott.

This quote can shine a light on many people. When one is younger, such as me, people think that just because someone is cute and popular, they are perfect. That is wrong because no one is perfect. However, that is not the only part that matters. You don’t have to be the best looking or most popular. Your personality and demeanor can tell a lot about you.

Also, you should not talk to many people at the same time and make them feel as if they are the only one you like. And don’t cheat on the one you love. If you do, that is proof you do not love them enough to be loyal. They should stay loyal to you, too. They must not cheat on you behind your back.

That special person in your life shouldn’t make you feel down or sad all the time. It’s okay if you get into a fight sometimes, but not every day! You should feel secure with them, not scared. They should make you feel beautiful inside and out. They should be a respectful and have a beneficial influence.

If they are gone a lot and don’t talk to you often, then they don’t care about you. When they are in the wrong and won’t change themselves for the good, then they do not deserve you. They should always try their best to make your lives together happy and special. They should hold up their part of the deal when you both said, “I do.” 😂

Even if you haven’t found that special person, don’t run off with the first one that likes you. Always hold your standards high and be at least a little hard to get. That will show them what you expect and that you aren’t easily taken advantage of. Do not be unhappy because you haven’t had that special relationship yet. Instead, enjoy the time you have while you wait.

When you are near someone special, you feel butterflies in your stomach and can’t say enough to describe how you feel. There are no words that have the value they deserve.

That special person not only lifts you up when you fall but shares your pain when you’re hurt. They know what to say when you don’t, how to cheer you up, and what makes you happy. They would never leave you for someone else. They should be your best friend and want to live the rest of their life with you.

Never betray them. Give the same respect, love, and loyalty they give you. Stay on the same path together, or else you might lose each other on the journey. All of this will let you know if they are the “Special” one in your life.

Shifting Shadows… by Taylor

Shifting shadows can mean a lot of things, but the way I take it shows a part of my life. I’m not perfect, no one is. Everyone struggles with something in their life. I struggle with anxiety, and I used to be depressed. Thankfully, my depression has improved considerably this summer.

To me, shifting shadows are the bad thoughts and events that have occurred in my life. It was as if they always hunted me down. I tried to hide, but they always found me. I never wanted to give up, but I felt like I was going to. I had a therapist and when I talked to her, they would hide, but not for long. When I got home; they came after me again. Like a predator hunting its prey, and I was the prey. My thoughts would tear me down and take me deep inside my mind, the one place I didn’t want to be. No one wants to be there.

I tried to escape many times, but those awful thoughts always came back. It was an endless loop. If some didn’t bother me anymore, others would come. It was a constant battle of the mind.

Eventually, it started going away. After I got saved at church, my depression started gradually declining. Eventually I started paying more attention in church, and this past summer everything was going great for me. I gained the will to quit basketball, which lifted an immense weight off of my shoulders. I started hanging out with an old friend again and we both got saved in our church. We are inseparable now. I pray that I never lose her friendship. My sophomore year only started a few weeks ago, but I’m having a fantastic school time so far.

I am making more friends, and my classes aren’t that bad. I am happy in my life right now and I never want it to end. I thank God for His blessings and I thank Him for this beautiful life that I love. Even though I have struggled so much, He has always been here, right beside me through everything. Look at me now. This feels like one of the best years of my life, even when there is some crazy pandemic happening.

I feel like nothing can take this year away from me. I have had so many people help me through this, too. My family and friends have helped more than they could ever understand.

I want to give a small nod to my friend, Hannah. I don’t want to get all mushy here, but she really helped when she started hanging out with me more. She has made a big impact on my life, and I doubt she realizes it. Thank you so much, Hannah.

That is my story of how, no matter what attacks you, God can always help. You just have to go to Him. Do not pull away. He will always be there for you. He always has for me, by lifting those shifting shadows I struggled with.

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