Herbs & Things

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Daily Life | A bowl and some memories

A few months ago my little family and I spent an evening with my grandmother. We sorted through 20 or so boxes of old memories, cherished items and crinkled up newspaper. My grandmother had invited us over because they will be moving to their new house soon, and she needed to get rid of the things that she didn't have room for -- which, unfortunately, is quite a lot!

After much consideration and debating on my behalf, I finally decided to cave and take some items home with us that evening, many of which held childhood memories for me. The other items I took home were pieces of history from the generations before myself, and some were even from generations before my grandmother.

It was a pleasant change in the pace of our lives that evening, as we sat at on the floor sifting through old photos and recipes, bibles and magazines, listening to my grandmother reminisce about the 'days of old' and tell stories that were merely just a distant memory at this point in her life, though still has poignant today as they were 40-60 years ago. Click here to

This past week I spent about an hour with my grandma again, just a quick "hello-goodbye" as I was coming home from a photo shoot. I was caked in mud from head to toe, gooey allergy eyes and messy hair, but she didn't care. I left a mess in the middle of her kitchen floor from the mud that was caked on my boots, but she didn't care. The only thing that mattered the most to her was that I was there, with her, even if just a few minutes. And in those short moments we seem to have the best talks. We talk a lot about God, we talk a lot about family, relationships, heartaches, joy, and mutual concerns. In the end, she ended up telling me a story about her old china cabinet that sits in her dinning room. I'm sure she told me the story when I was a child, but over the years I've completely forgotten about it -- maybe it just wasn't something that interested me at the time. It's amazing how someone can tell you something at one point in your life and it mean nothing to you, yet they tell it to you again at a different point in your life, and it mean's more than they know -- more than you could have even imagined.

In the past year and a half, I've learned a lot from my grandmother about parenting....a lot. I've learned a lot about marriage too. I particularly enjoyed her "you didn't take the time out of your life to marry this man just so you could give up on him" speech that her mother gave her long ago -- a different story for a different day. I think about it often -- she inspires me more than she'll ever know. As does my great-grandmother, whom I barely remember, simply through my grandmother's memories of her and her strong character and influence throughout her life. It reminds me so much of this scripture in Titus....
"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." [Titus 2:3-5 NIV]

So here I sit with a box full of handwritten recipes and recipe books, an old family Bible, blue glass and various other mason jars, old books, old lace that my grandmother made, crock's (as in the glass containers, not the shoes!), various kitchen items, old photos, toys, dishes and so much more. Every single time I look at them I am reminded of my grandmother most of all, and that I get to make new memories with my little one(s) with the very items that I cherished as a child. I get to share the memories my grandmother has, the memories I have, and create a brand new generation of memories to pass along.

My grandmother is the little girl with her hands over her eyes. The way she remembers it, she had just awoken from a nap, and she was so angry that they were making her take photos! These are her parents (my great grandparents) and siblings. My great grandmother was partially American Indian.

Here's my great grandmother (on the left) and her husband (as well as my grandmothers 2 sisters and brother) standing next to my great grandfather's eldest daughter (from a previous marriage) and her husband and children.

This is my great grandfather and his 2 children from a previous marriage -- these were my grandmother's 'step siblings'. Alice, the young girl, is pictured above...much more grown up with a family of her own. My great grandmother and Alice were nearly the same age when my great grandfather married my great grandmother. Unfortunately, both of my grandmother's step siblings died of cancer before I ever really had the chance to meet them.

I can't wait to try this one :)

The one thing that stood out to me the most through all of this, was what I took away that evening in a simple bowl....

I'm sure you've seen them if you ever enjoy antiquing. They are the dark brown dishes with the light brown rims...very retro. Most of the older ones are handmade and oven safe. But I remember them most because that was my grandmother's main dish set. That's what we ate off of and drink out of when we were at grandma's. Some of our greatest memories are around the dinner table, or sneaking in a late night ice cream social or 'Shirley Temple' with cherries and cherry 7-up. Whenever I saw the dishes in an antique shop I always thought of my grandmother, and I fell in love with those dishes. But, here's the thing. Let's face it, these dishes are not the prettiest, nor do they go along with any of the decor in most people's houses. Why did I love them so much? I realized that evening that I loved them so much because of my grandmother, and the love she had for them, or so I thought.

Later that evening, my grandmother asked me why I wanted to take them so badly, so I explained to her that I loved them so much because she had loved them so much. With a small grin and a shake of her head she replied, "Amy, quite honestly, I always thought they were hideous....I just didn't want to hurt your grandfather's feelings."

I don't know what sticks out to me the most. Was it the fact that she hated the dishes all this time, such a bummer for me! Or was it the fact that, because she didn't want to seem ungrateful or hurt my grandfather's feelings (since he loved them), she's used these 'hideous' dishes for the past 30+ years with out a single complaint or murmur (at least, none that I had heard), so much so, that I was convinced my grandmother loved them. Which brings me to this next scripture...

"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." [Philippians 2:1-4]
How would my life change if I put aside complaining about materialistic things and put other's feelings above my own in every situation? How would my relationship change with my child or my husband if I kept my mouth shut a little more often, and simply let life "happen" -- without fear of those chips getting crushed into the carpet, or worrying my husband to death every week about what bills need to be paid with his next paycheck? What if I simply chose joy instead of control? What if I chose the ugly dish, rather than the fancy one?

I took a lot away from our chat that evening and our recent quick chat last week. More so, I didn't just take tangible items. I brought wisdom back home with me. I brought grace back home with me. I brought joy and the mindset that I need to challenge myself when it comes to my relationship with my son and husband, and every other person I come in contact with. I brought home the hope that, when you put your mind and commitment into doing something, God will bless you for it if it is in accordance to His word, no matter how hard life might be. And I brought home memories that I can cherish for the rest of my life, and memories that my little family can cherish as well. It was a piece of my grandmother, it is a piece of me, and it will now be a piece of them.

Don't let those little memories and moments go without notice. Don't let them pass by. It doesn't mean we have to spend every waking moment with relatives or friends, it doesn't even mean we have to spend once a week with them. But just remember, that what might not matter to you today, may matter the world to you tomorrow. 

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