Our oldest grandson just turned 21. Our oldest granddaughter is now 16 and driving, and our youngest will be a teenager this summer! When did this happen? Where did the time go? We hear that more and more often these days. Kenny Chesney’s powerful tune resonates only too well these days when the 100-year-old is asked, "What’s the secret of life?" And his answer is "Don’t blink." It’s not much of a secret really, is it? Days go by fast so, hold each one with the respect it deserves, count your blessings, and live a joyful life with those you love. They are the true treasures of any life.
I recently came across this email from our daughter-in-law about her son's first day at preschool:"I just dropped Caleb off at school. He did great! I love the fact that they had us come there yesterday so he could meet his teachers and get acquainted with his classroom. It made today a breeze! He was very happy and excited! Me, well, I am both happy and sad, of course. So please pray for me today!"
Collect and Share
A family is an amazing group of individuals connected and doing life together. Nothing is more valuable or worthy of more investment than our family members. Just writing this article makes me smile, as there are so many fond memories from of the vast storehouse of my memory bank, and I’m not done making them. In fact, I've been a collector of memories for nearly 64 years! There are some I can physically hold in my hand while telling the story behind each treasure, and others that I hold in my heart while tears of joy well up in my eyes as I recall the details of each meaningful tale.
An entire storage room in our home is dedicated to my collection where wall-to-wall shelves of boxes and bins hold the Wolfe family life, all sacredly stored just waiting for those needed moments of recollection. A physical treasure chest of priceless photos, keepsakes, souvenirs, pint-size t-shirts, school artwork, and relics of all kinds. Even the love letters between my husband and me as high school sweethearts in our yearbooks are tucked away there and in our hearts. I can't part with any of it. We have added to those boxes over the years, and carefully moved them along with us from house to house throughout our nearly 5 decades of life together. Over that time, our family grew from 2 newly-married teenagers to a family of 3, then 4. Our lovely daughters-in-law made us 5, then 6, and now we are 9 amazing men and women.
In one box, I find a small angel halo and a flowing white gown. I recall helping our youngest son prepare for his lead role as Arch in our church's production of Arch the Angel. In my mind I remember us studying his lines, developing his character, creating his costume, and hiring his talent agent (just kidding about that last one). He was amazing, and we were so proud.
In another bo is all of our Harley motorcycle years of history, memorabilia, badges, pins, leathers, and t-shirts from rallies all over the country. I can see myself traveling each trip on our matching red Soft Tail Classics; a smile on my face as I come across my rain gear, and though I love telling the story of riding to Harley’s 95th Birthday celebration from Atlanta to Milwaukee almost the entire way in the rain, I didn’t love living it nearly as much. But it does make me proud that I did it.
Hold On Tight
Not all of memories I have collected over the years are wonderful, but those I choose to hold on to are, and the rest I have given to my Heavenly Father, allowing Him to heal, forgive, and cleanse my heart of the residue of them. Meanwhile, I learn something from them, and am able to move on.
Photographs and memories, valuable treasures of family love and life. I have boxes of them, but I don't need my boxes to tell you about them. Just ask me about our first-ever vacation, a trip to King's Island amusement park in Ohio. Or the stitches both my boys have in the same places. Or their chickenpox scars, their graduation days, wedding days, the births of each beautiful grandchild, or . . .
You know what I'm talking about. You have sweet and special memories like this somewhere stored away for safekeeping, or maybe just in your mind. But they are there, precious as they were the day that they happened.
Go Back in Time
Maybe your memories won't go so far back, but open your treasure chest of memories and honor each one. Let them make you smile. Don’t stop the tear that starts to form as you remember saying I do, holding your baby, or the first day of preschool, and allow your heart to feel pride over graduation days, awards, and big wins! Take a refreshing retreat from the challenges or difficulties you may be facing today, or even just the stress of the day-to-day hustle and bustle of life that seeks to steal those precious memories away. Don’t live in the past but appreciate it and celebrate it.
Pro Tip: Go grab a box with some treasured memories from your life journey. Go! Go get it! Review your life. Recall your achievements. Reclaim your love. Restore your family. Refresh your sense of humor. Rekindle your sense of adventure. Relive joyful moments of your past and appreciate today with a life-giving hope for the future. And...never stop collecting. You have spent a lifetime collecting those treasures, and if you have just started your collection, great! Treasure every day and every family member. Get yourself some shelves and boxes, you will need them if you live and love your family well.
Above all else, keep making memories, and keep taking photos. Hold them close. Carry them in your wallet. Hang them on your walls. Show them from your phone. But most of all, keep telling your stories. Share them with anyone who will listen. Your life photos and memories are not meant to be stored away or forgotten. They are meant to be shared and re-lived often, even if just in your own positive self-talk.
I love a good story!
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– Stephanie Wolfe, NBC-HWC
Health Advisor | Email Stephanie