Leaving a Legacy The Last Lecture was one of the books my dad read and had hung onto. I put it on my bookshelf figuring I’d get around to it eventually. I’ve been thinking of my dad James Niermeyer a lot lately because of Father’s Day and the time I’ve spent sorting through boxes of photos and memorabilia of his that I brought to our place after he passed away. Another thing that’s brought my dad to mind is that I’ve been praying for a couple different families whose fathers recently passed away leaving their wives and young children behind. I know why my dad enjoyed this book: it’s about reaching your childhood dreams, making a difference in people’s lives, and leaving your mark on your family, friends, and colleagues…Read more of this reflection here.
One Last Lecture from Dad I’m not sure of everything my father would have thought most important to share, but I know that faith would definitely have played a big role in his talk. I am positive he would have told some of the hilarious stories about how he and his brothers got into trouble over the years. He would probably have mentioned how much he looked up to each of them a great deal.
I’m not sure of all of the messages he would have included for his three daughters, though. I guess one of the biggest questions I have is: what would my dad’s talk have included after he’d retired from being one of the top executives at a major corporation, when he had long since lost his football player physique, and when he was faced with the certitude of an early death? I know from our many talks and visits in the last few years of his life that he saw many things differently from the way he once did. I know some of what mattered most to him, he wrote about in his Footprints in the Sand Prayer journal.
What’s Up and Coming Kevin and I have been getting our place in order and even doing some more decorating (I feel rather ridiculous saying that considering one of my sister’s has a perfectly decorated house that could be in magazines, but at least we’re making some effort.) We’ve been inspired to make a Rochester, New York wall, since that’s where Kevin and I first met, where we became good friends, spent lots of time together over the years, and where we return to each summer for some time on the Lake. The first thing on the wall is a framed chart of Lake Ontario. The next thing we’ll likely put up are a selectsampling of the bazillion photos I’ve taken of sunsets, Ontario Beach Park, and some of our other favorite hang-outs. We’re waiting to get back the cross-stitch I gave Kevin at our wedding reception and make that another focal point of the wall.
Free Giveaway I have some really special friends who have such unusual experiences which make for absolutely hilarious stories. This week my friend Michele stopped by and told me a great one. She’s been getting rid of, giving away, selling, donating…most of her earthly possessions in anticipation of entering a cloistered monastery this August 6, but she was a little too hasty in one of her giveaways. She made herself dinner one evening, opened the cupboard and realized she’d given away the only two plates she owned to a neighbor who liked them. She bashfully knocked on the friend’s door and told her the dilemma, which made for a great laugh all around. Michele, I'm really going to miss you popping over to say hi, share a funny story, have a deep discussion, watch a great movie, take a nap, have some juice, a meal or a snack, you know, whatever you feel like when upon entering our place. :)
-5-Is it naptime, yet? Thursday was one of those long, very trying days taking care of three little girls who have been acting crankier, more tired, and volatile than is normal for them due to a number of factors ranging from developmental milestones, to interrupted sleep, teething, and varying calorie consumption. Lord, thanks for being patient, gentle, and loving with all of us even when we're grumpy and attitudinal to You!
The Paper Bag Princess This week I brought over a bunch of paper bags I could use to organize and sort things (I learned this method from my mom who used to have dozens of paper bags from the local grocery store in closets and in the attic as her ‘filing system.’)When Vivi saw the bags, she asked me if I was going to cut one for her to wear. Let it never be said that kids aren’t little sponges with frighteningly good memories. It had to be at least a couple months ago that I brought a paper bag, cut a hole in it for her head and her arms, so she, too, could be a paper bag princess. She wore it for about two seconds then lost interest in the “costume.” I can’t blame her. No pretty colors or fancy frills, but I’m impressed she remembered that activity several weeks after the fact. I highly recommend The Paper Bag Princess, by the way. She’s my kind of princess: practical, clever, resourceful, and brutally honest!
Bring Others Closer I wonder what my “last lecture” would include, what main themes and messages from my life I’d insist on having in it. Perhaps, that’s one of the reasons why I felt this was the right time to read The Last Lecture: I’d like to sit down sooner than later and figure out what’s most important and live in a way that’s evident in my relationships, work, how I spend my time and money.
For me, discerning God’s will, carrying it out, glorifying Him, and bringing others closer to Him are what I want and try to build my life around. One of the main prayers I have prayed over the years, I was inspired to write a while back: “Lord, please plant Your will in my heart and make it my deepest desire and most fervent longing,” along with: You, Lord, are ALL I have and You give me ALL I need. My future is in Your Hands. Lord, I pray for Your Will.
Since we don’t always know when we’ll give our “last lecture,” we’re best off living today in a way that would embody the legacy we hope to leave for our loved ones and the generations to come.