What I Kept

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Not only was moving hard, but getting ready to move forced me to go through every single little thing in my home. Junk drawers? Do you have junk drawers? I can’t believe how hard it was for me to let go of the stuff in my junk drawers.

Did I need to take all the birthday candles stuffed in a drawer in the kitchen that the I might need it someday mindset wouldn’t let go. I inherited those what ifs from my mom. She and her family went through the great depression and it was something none of them forgot. Many people of that age group kept everything. But candles? Couldn’t I buy them where we moved? And birthday candles are not a big purchase but yet….

When my mom died I had so many items left from her that were from the times she grew up in, and the house in which I grew up for part of my life, my Grandma Krock’s house. None of them were worth anything to anyone. There was no monetary value and now I had to weed them out or let go of them all. There were two old unsightly pieces that I struggled with.

One was a mirror that was battered and cloudy and didn’t enhance much. I had the mirror hanging outside my bathroom door. It was a mirror that for as long as I could remember, hung over the sink in my grandmother’s house, which became my mom’s house. I imagine they put it there so they could see behind them what was happening while doing the dishes, because otherwise they would have been looking at a blank wall. How boring would that have been? I don’t know why that mirror touched me so much.

I wanted to bring it along to my new home. I’m sorry I didn’t. I guess the writer in me and the dreamer in me imagined all the mirror could reveal to us about the happenings in that home. What would one see if they could looked in the mirror, and the mirror revealed the secrets of the past occupants ? I took a picture of the mirror, thanked it for it’s journey with our family, and left it behind.

Sitting on a shelf on my porch was an old lantern that doesn’t work anymore, or maybe it would if I could find a vintage battery for it. That old battered lantern is now sitting on my kitchen table by the window. My Uncle Frank, and I will write about him later on the year, but my Uncle Frank who was a like a dad to me too, always carried that lantern. I can see him with it in his hands. He used it to check on the cows and horses and chickens at night. It always sat by the door. He never wanted a new one. It lighted his way through good times and bad. It kept him safe on his chores in the dark and there were many. He lighted the way for me when I would walk at night between the neighbors when I was little, and it lit up the house when the electricity failed.

I kept the lantern and I have it sitting where I do for it to remind us of the light in our lives. The light from the past reminds me that it lights the way to the future.

The Guiding Light

Those are my heart saves. What are yours? The heart doesn’t pick because of money or fame, it chooses wisely that which connects us to who we were, where we came from and who we have the possibility of becoming because of our those who went before us. We need to treasure and hold that dear.

The Art of Persuasion

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If you have a way with words you have the art of persuasion. That may be a positive or a negative trait depending on your character.

I loved speech class in high school. It was where I first found my voice. Before that class I was easily intimidated and wasn’t much for speaking out. I did not have faith in my abilities. The high school counselor questioned my choice as it didn’t seem to fit what others saw. I fell in love with speech and writing. I remember when I got an A+ on a humorous speech; I was amazed. I had agonized over the assignment. I was not a funny person. Apparently somewhere inside of me when it came to writing I could be funny. That speech pulled something out of me I never knew I had.

Fast forward to 2021. We seem to be in the throws of being persuaded by the words of people we do not know and we give them unswerving loyalty. They are good speechmakers, influencers, and persuaders. It’s funny but we tend to believe those whom we do not know over people we formerly trusted, all because of good verbal persuasion. We don’t see the need to check out the facts.

It’s apparent in society today. Some are pursuaded to send money to men or women overseas who they form a relationship with on the internet. They trust what they are being fed in the beautiful words they see on the screen or hear on the phone. The talk shows and news reports are full of people being scammed all in the name of love.

We pass around on social media those ads that say Kohl’s or Best Buy are going to give us $500 just for sharing a post. We share and no one sees the money. We believed without questioning that if a company did this they would be broke. The scams are rampant all because we believe charismatic words of a stranger.

Recently someone made the comment, “He’s such a Christian man.” The comment was made about a politician that said a beautiful prayer at the right time in front of millions of people. I’m not saying this person isn’t a Christian man. But the conclusion was this person prays a lot in public it and makes him someone we should believe and follow. But do we really know that? Do we know them in person?

There are televangelists that woo us with beautiful prayer, and dynamic sermons. If you look at their bank account you know they are successful at persuasion because people are tossing a lot of money at them. Maybe they do good things with the money but if you look at their lifestyle, it is a very lavish life they are living. Yet we don’t protest their power of persuasion. Their power is growing and our churches in our communities are floundering.

I am not a flowery prayer person despite being a writer. If I listen and read all these beautiful prayers in all the media today I tend to feel my prayers may not be good enough. I’ve gotten over that for a few reasons.

My faith has been built not on flowery prayers but on actions of people I love and trust, not by those that are always in the public eye praying for all to see, or persuading us with their charismatic speech.

When I think of the Christians in my life that have influenced me I think of my Grandma Krock. She could speak no English but she had a big impact on me by her actions. Each day she would sit by the window in her house or by the wood stove with a rosary in her hands praying the rosary. I don’t remember many conversations that I understood but I understood her faith and her rosary. I watched this until she died when I was 17.

Grandma Krock

I think of my Aunt Mary who every night after supper would sit down with her Bible, read it and pray quietly in her living room. I was young when I noticed that and I remember it still today.

I think of my friend Jan, who endured 24 years of cancer. I never heard her complain. She treated everyone with kindness and respect and I saw her live out her faith in her church attendance, her music and private time with the Lord. Plus keeping her faith always while enduring much.

These people who affected my faith life, didn’t shout it in public, didn’t shout their faith from the rooftops but by their actions they brought their faith to others in a way that was humble.

These three are only a few examples of the people in our lives that quietly lead us. I can’t say someone is one thing just by the words they produce in public. I know too many people who are one way in the public eye and another in private. Some may see me as that way. Perception. Can we view something honestly, if we only have the glitz of the public eye?

That doesn’t mean I don’t follow and read some prominent Christian writers. Max Lucado is one of my favorite. Do I think he’s a good Christian man? Yes, I do but do I know? I don’t know him personally. That doesn’t stop me from liking what he writes but also viewing it with an eye that knows there may be more underneath that isn’t what I read, so I know not to believe unconditionally. I write fiction for a living. What I write is my perspective, to be read with a watchful eye and mind knowing it is fiction. In today’s world I probably could convince someone that fictional Fuchsia exists.

Churches, our churches, have a hard time maintaining members. We throw money at online preachers but starve our churches. We believe charismatic people and belittle our Pastors. We put our trust in strangers words but don’t believe the words of those we know preaching in our hometown churches.

If you’re looking for church, most of our local community churches are now online. Listen to those you trust. Are they perfect? No. But you know them. You know their imperfections and their strengths. Put your trust in those you know personally.

Having said that I will tell you I love my church being online. I get why we follow popular online preachers. We can listen without getting involved in church politics. When I watch my church services online I love sitting back and hearing what is being said and sung, with my eyes closed savoring the words. I am not distracted by anyone else.

In my old years, thinking back, I realize some of the greatest controversy in my life has been church politics, arguing about things that don’t matter. I am not referencing biblical beliefs but insignificant things that gain too much importance in our home churches, such as who didn’t stack the silverware or who isn’t dressing in the correct way. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “It isn’t done that way.” In fact I’ve been told at one time my opinion on whether a group could meet in our church didn’t matter, because we weren’t one of the top givers. So I get it. Online we don’t have to deal with the church politics that are man made. Maybe that’s why it’s easier to believe and follow the people who are eloquent speakers that we don’t know because we don’t have to get involved.

At times, I have the art of persuasion. With it, comes a responsibility. My advice, look to what you know, the people you know and respect in your life. Look deep at how they live their lives. That’s the best persuasion.

Thank you Grandma Krock, Aunt Mary and Jan for letting me know what it means to be a Christian person. It’s up to me what I do with that.