Legacy: Timeless Treasures Passed Down to my Children (Part 2)

Happy Sunday! Today’s message in church was entitled: Leaving a Legacy. Our Pastor reminded everyone that we’re all leaving some kind of legacy and it’s either a good or bad one. My thoughts returned to this series, and I’m so thankful of the good legacy I’ve been left to pass on to my children.

This is the second of a three part series narrating my family’s living legacy. I love sharing the timeless treasures I learned from my grandmother, taught my adult children and am currently teaching the last babe at home. Grandma represents four generations of faith. What an incredible testimony! Today I present more sage wisdom from my family’s practical, down-to-earth matriarch. Enjoy her witty, southern twist on city living:

MAINTAIN THY CASTLE

4.  Be ready for visitors. My grandmother really loved having guests! That meant you kept the living and bathrooms tidy and coffee on the stove. We got a jump start on the day by making the bed as soon as we got up. “You see,” she’d say, “that’s one thing done today.” Years later, I would collapse with exhaustion (and relief) into the plumped pillows and cool sheets of my pre-made bed after an endless day of running behind infants and children. Today when my older children visit and make their beds right away I smile and whisper, “one thing done for today!”

5.  Wash, hang, iron…repeat. I didn’t have dirty clothes growing up. Okay that’s a stretch, but my grandmother had a remedy for every stain, rip, or missing button. She fixed them, and taught me how to do it myself. I had church, school, and “play” clothes with shoes, and knew the difference! Nothing was replaced unless I grew. She taught me to do my own laundry, and hang it outside on the clothes line. Times have changed, but I like grandma’s mindset. My children learned to do their laundry and iron in middle school, and mend and tailor their clothes in high school. Their father and I purchased the essentials, but they were responsible for the upkeep until they outgrew their clothing and gave them to younger friends or relatives.

6.  What’s for dinner? Chicken. As a child I never asked, “What’s for dinner?” It was always ready after school, and I ate it! If I became hungry in the evening I had a snack or a piece of fruit. My colleagues find this amusing, but friends and family know the truth: Grandma cooked every day and every day she cooked chicken. While other proteins were available I can say with certainty we ate chicken for dinner 99.9% of the time during my childhood. As a working Mom I treasure the dinner hour with my family, and taught them to make it their priority too. It’s hot and usually ready to be set on the table at 6pm, and no cell phones are allowed. I’m a stickler for serving vegetables, but yes a lot of times it’s chicken!

Stay tuned for the final installment of my grandmother’s lasting legacy!

Blessings,

CED

Photo credit: Four Generations: my grandmother, mother, and daughter with me in North Carolina. 1993. Used with permission.  

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Legacy: Timeless Treasures Passed Down to my Children (Part 1)

Spring’s here! I love how our tiny, green island awakens from cool and windy slumber as the refreshing rains come. It gets warm a little earlier than on mainland Japan, and my beloved cherry blossoms have already bloomed and faded away. Spring brings happy memories of waiting with my Grandmother for the blossoms arrival.  They make their annual presence sometime around Easter in the U.S., and fill the nation’s capital with their pink and white delicate beauty.  Grandmother loved spring and gardening, and passed her passion on to me. We’d talk about so many things working in her garden, and later sitting on the porch admiring our labor. When my children came along I kept the tradition alive as we gardened together, talking and sharing, sweating and laughing. Here are some treasures I learned at my Grandmother’s knee and passed on to my babies:

KNOW THYSELF

1. Apologize (and mean it). Sincere apologies are good for the soul.  No one’s perfect, I’d remind my children when they were frustrated with a friend or classmate. This includes us. When we commit an offense we should quickly say we’re sorry and ask for forgiveness.  “Don’t let your pride get in the way of saying you’re sorry,” Grandma would encourage me.

2. Manners matter most.  The military didn’t teach me to say yes Ma’am/no Sir, please, thank you and you’re welcome. I learned at home and taught my children early on. Recently a young man held the elevator for me, and in relief I greeted him, “Good morning Sir, and thank you so much!” Visibly shocked he mumbled no big deal. When we reached his floor I called out have a great day. He turned around, smiled and replied you too Ma’am! “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” Grandma would say. That’s a southern way of saying “bee” kind!

3. Have a genuine, personal relationship with God. I’ve always been fascinated by behavior, but not many adults wanted to be scrutinized by a quiet, little person. Grandma didn’t mind as I watched her cook, clean and garden. She had these daytime conversations with God, sang songs from church and prayed for family, her friends or people I didn’t know!  God was important to her, and she loved spending time with him. Each day began and ended the same, on bended knee at her bedside. Long after she was crippled with arthritis and the pain was visibly unbearable, she’d clasp bent fingers together and give thanks for another day. I wanted that kind of special relationship with who she called the Holy One of heaven and earth. “If you let Him, God will lead and guide you through life’s journeys,” she promised.  She lived to see me choose Him for myself, and offer the same gift of choice to my children.

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of my grandmother’s lasting legacy.

Be blessed,

CED

Photo credit: Cherry Blossom Festival. Washington, DC. 2014. Used with permission. 

Obedience and Destiny

Happy Sunday.

Autumn’s arrived and brought along changing leaves and cool, crisp mornings. Wait a minute! Over the summer we moved across the globe to a tiny island with two seasons, and humidity and sweltering heat play a large part in both.  After the initial sensory overload my family’s settling in nicely and embracing the opportunity to slow down.

In addition to moving, I’ve spent lots of time bringing my requests to God as the Word says we should.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

As followers of The Exceptional Life, you’ll find this and other encouraging verses because I love good news! The response to a summer immersed in prayer has been amazing.

So I brought God my laundry list of requests. Lord please cover my marriage, bless my kids, heal my body, and provide favor over my career. Sound familiar to anyone? When I didn’t sense a breakthrough, I called in the prayer warriors.  For my non-Christian friends these are like-minded men and women of faith who petition God through corporate prayer. From the season of prayer two truths became crystallized in my spirit.

First, in my spiritual walk there must be an unflinching obedience to God. Even when it’s unpopular, and especially when it’s uncomfortable. In order to gain wisdom and live a life of excellence my priorities have to be in order. In the past when I experienced setbacks, I would be crippled by discouragement, and discouragement undermines vision. God revealed there will be no shortage of critics to my dreams, so I have to toughen up and learn to stop questioning myself whenever they come around. The book of Exodus has been an incredible testimony that me plus God equal the majority, and now I quickly move forward in faith when prompted. Bad grammar, but you get the point. No more paralysis by analysis!

Second, I am called to write, speak and lead. It’s my destiny and what I was designed for when God created me in my Mother’s womb. She actually birthed three writers but that’s a story for another time. Trust me when I share that whenever we turn away from what we’re created to do, the Lord brings us right back to our purpose.

Friends, do you know why you’re here? Are you curious as to what you were placed on this earth to do specifically?  Don’t confuse your true worth with your sense of worth.  Our feelings don’t always line up with the truth. I too struggled with self-worth for quite a while. Be encouraged and seek God through His Word.  Today could be the day you pray as I did, and ask for clarity in your life.  It’s time to walk into your destiny!

Love and Blessings,

CED

Saturday Scripture – Redeemed

Israel’s Only Savior

1 But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.

Isaiah 43:1-2 ESV

Prayer for Today

How excellent You are Heavenly Father! Thank You for creating, redeeming and calling us by name. In the many seasons of life, and in all the unspeakable situations we find ourselves in…You are there.

Today I lift up my Exceptional Life friends and ask that You fill them with wisdom, understanding, and great comfort in knowing that as Your redeemed they were bought at a great price! As we commit to learning more of Your ways, I stand in agreement to whatever changes needed: spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Lord bless us richly as we seek to live out lives that are pleasing to You. To God the Father be all glory and honor and praise. Amen.

Blessings, CED

Photo credit: https://www.quotesgram.com

Video credit: Redeemed by the Skit Guys.  I have no copyrights to the song and/or video directly above.

Memorial Day 2016

Yesterday while driving home for the long weekend, I looked out my car window at a startling site.

So many flags gently waving in the wind. I thought about the people who took the time to place them all there.  Did they volunteer for flag duty to remember loved ones, or honor men and women in their community who died protecting our freedoms? As I continued my drive I reflected on Memorial Day, and what it means to my family.

Yes it’s a holiday, and many people celebrate all holidays the same, with food, family and a lot of fun! However, this is a different day for my family . We do not celebrate Memorial Day, we observe it and educate our children on its importance. May I share its true meaning with my friends at The Exceptional Life?

As Memorial Day approaches, it is time to pause and consider the true meaning of this holiday. Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to securing our Nation’s freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day.
In this time of unprecedented success and prosperity throughout our land, I ask that all Americans come together to recognize how fortunate we are to live in freedom and to observe a universal “National Moment of Remembrance” on each Memorial Day. This memorial observance represents a simple and unifying way to commemorate our history and honor the struggle to protect our freedoms.
Accordingly, I hereby direct all executive departments and agencies, in consultation with the White House Program for the National Moment of Remembrance (Program), to promote a “National Moment of Remembrance” to occur at 3 p.m. (local time) on each Memorial Day.
Recognizing that Memorial Day is a Federal holiday, all executive departments and agencies, in coordination with the Program and to the extent possible and permitted by law, shall promote and provide resources to support a National Moment of Remembrance, including:
  • Encouraging individual department and agency personnel, and Americans everywhere, to pause for one minute at 3:00 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.
  • Recognizing, in conjunction with Memorial Day, department and agency personnel whose family members have made the ultimate sacrifice for this Nation.
    William J. Clinton

As grateful citizens my family honors our country’s heroes for their courage in making the ultimate sacrifice. Along with a grateful nation we will remember and reflect on Memorial Day.

Blessings,

CED

Photo credit: http://www.usmemorialday.org

The Dailey Dose – Identity

Say Your Name

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Last week’s writing prompt asked us to write about our first name, and the story or association behind it. Also, if I had the choice (which I do) would I rename myself?

Names are important to us! The great lecturer and self-improvement guru Dale Carnegie  teaches that “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”  Principle #6 from How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Phoenix, AZ 2009
My inner Neo stopping bullets with an ice-cold pose.

 My first name’s Crystal, and a feminine name originating  around 19th century England.  Derived from the word crystal, a very clear, brilliant glass, or a clear, transparent quartz. It’s also κρυσταλλος (krystallos) meaning  “ice” in Greek. So (dramatic pause) I’m a brilliant woman, transparent in word and deed, exuding a calm, cool and collected strength? Love it! That explains how I flawlessly channel my inner Neo  through camera poses. Click the link and catch my drift… The Matrix

Easter Sunday, 1973
What terrible two’s? Posing in my Sunday Finery.

My Mom insists on being reasonable, and tells me I’m named after her high school classmate.  She was pregnant with me her senior year, and friends were few and far between. Girls “in that condition” had two choices in 1970: drop out or go to an alternative school. Mom stood her ground, stayed in her neighborhood school and graduated (walking across the stage a full nine month’s pregnant)! A girl named Crystal carried her books between classes, and would help her out alot.

As a woman of faith, I then turned to my Bible to find out if God calls us by name?  Yes, He does in many passages!

…Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.  Isaiah 49:1 NIV

And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”  Exodus 33:17 NIV

I read on, discovering that God not only knows us by name, but also reveals Himself by name so we can fellowship in the most personal way. Whatever the need and in every situation, when we call He promises to answer. He is El Shaddai (the Lord God Almighty) and so much more!  Throughout the Old Testament, there are many beautiful  Names of God. After all this research I’m on cloud nine, and feeling like a physical and spiritual superhero.  So who am I?

Crystal, a child of the most high God and gifted to earthly parents for a season. When my Lord saw fit, He rewarded me with a husband designed just for me, who KNOWS me and LOVES me (flaws and all). Together we have our children and inheritance. My babies are a beautiful promise of a legacy that will live on long after I’m in Heaven. So would I rename myself?

Absolutely not. I’m living The Exceptional Life!

Blessings, CED

Banner credit: http://www.todaysword.org

TED Talks: Nature’s Grossest Creature a Master of Motion!

Hello friends!

Enjoy a little science on this wonderful Wednesday from a fellow blogger at Why? Because Science., and learn more than you cared to know about the cockroach and its contributions to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Click link for video. Source: TED Talks: Nature’s Grossest Creature a Master of Motion!

Who knew? God knew, that’s who!

Blessings, CED