Remember and Celebrate

February 27, 2011

When It Feels Like Winter, even if it’s not

“Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question.”
Elizabeth Elliot

This is a post from two years ago, but it certainly fits into the theme of the Eternal Winter
More than that, it fits this time of my life where there is much uncertainty/unanswered questions

I gaze at the frozen lake…
in the gray of late afternoon.
“It’s sad, here today,” I think.
There is nothing here…
just cold

And You, oh God remind me . . .
There IS life here.
The trees , the grass
will be green again.

The resting is part of your plan.
Help me know
You are still at work
even when it seems like winter.

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January 10, 2011



As I sit in my recliner, often my eyes go to this clock. It’s a special clock, because Galen’s dad was a “Master Mix” Feed dealer as Galen was growing up, and when his sister found this clock, she bought it and gave it to Galen. It now resides in our “memory room.” I simply enjoyed the nostalgia of this clock.

But a few weeks ago, as I my eyes landed once again on it, I couldn’t help but notice the phrase, “Definate Feeds for Definate Needs” and I have returned often to that thought over the past days.

To me it is a reminder that my “Master” knows my needs and He has what I need. That thought speaks to my heart, especially on days when I question whether He is noticing at all. While my “head” knows it, it is good for my heart to be reminded.

Definate Feeds – For Definate Needs! – 
 provided by the “Master Mixer.”


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January 7, 2011

Birthdays, Rice Krispy Bars & and Missing A Brother

from my corner table in Botanic Gardens Cafe

Birthdays, Rice Krispy Bars & Missing A Brother

Hey Gordon, I’m sitting here at the Garden Café, eating a marshmellow bar – in your honor. I am sure you’d say it’s not as good as Carol’s and you’d probably be right. I can still picture you sitting at your counter in the kitchen enjoying every bite of one of her bars. She is a great cook. It’s just one of those pictures I have in my mind.

You also loved potato soup Sand Tarts and Blueberry muffins – without the blueberries! They say you picked them out and enjoyed the muffin.

I miss you and your wacky sense of humor, your quick wit that always had the right word/joke for the moment. You had such a way with words. People think I talk a lot – well, if they could only meet you, they would know why they called you “Gordon Longtalker!”

You loved your God and your friends. Keith told us how you shared your faith and says you are why he is a Christ-follower today. He said you didn’t preach sermons, you just asked penetrating questions and they you’d be gone, leaving him with things to ponder.

You simply loved people and wanted to help them – and you did, going out of your way to do it.

You loved your wife and your kids, your mom and dad and me!

And I love you and miss you.

Nov. 6, 2005, when you didn’t meet Paul at the end of the road as you had planned, marked my world into “Before & After.”

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say what happened and all I learned in the “After” was worth the pain of losing you. That’s more than I can manage right now. But in losing you, I’ve learned a lot about myself and about God – what it means to trust and still love God. And I am grateful that in all the pain, God brought healing. I have seen the gifts that come with grief. I won’t go into those things now….those are in other posts here on this blog and there will be more.

So, enjoy heaven little brother. Carol and the kids are doing GREAT. These words from Matthew West’s song always makes me cry, but they fit what I want to say now. “So save a place for me. It must feel good to have the weight of the world off your shoulders.”

Enjoy Ronnie, Brenda, mom and all the others already there.
Be watching for me.
After Jesus, you are the first one I want to see.
Then you can take me to see the others.


December 6, 2010

Memoranda, Moleskins & Moments

Camera and Journal - always handy (My son will be so proud to see my tiny "Moleskin" journal!)

While with our family in Wisconsin over Thanksgiving, during one of my early morning quiet times, I was meditating on scripture and taking time to be quiet. And I remember having some kind of “insight” or “encouragement” that God brought to my mind. But I didn’t write it down and now I don’t remember.

This led me think of one of my favorite quotes from Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.  The King is referencing a frightening experience he has just had when he says:

“The horror of that moment,” the King went on, “I shall never, NEVER forget!’ “You will, though,” the Queen said, “if you don’t make a memorandum of it.”  (italics mine!)

I forgot to make a “memorandum” of my special moment with God and now I can’t remember it . . . kind of hard to  celebrate it by sharing it with you when I can’t remember.

So what does the purse have to do with this?  Well, there is a “Moleskin make-my son-proud” journal that fits into my purse.  And that’s my little camera in the side pocket there; A photo helps me remember too.   While I journal most days, I also carry a small journal for those God-Moments when I am in the muchness of life.  That’s what “Remember & Celebrate” is all about.

How do you record your God Moments? Maybe it’s as simple as noting something on your calendar. I’d like to hear about it.


November 20, 2010

Crashing Computers, Trips, Projects and Interruptions

Computer crash, the need to restore my journal program files from Carbonite, a trip to Virginia to a writer’s seminar by Vinita Hampton
Wright, ( )  and a 100 page digital book project for a client  – – – and the end result is interrupted postings! 

Oh,  and I also forgot my password to this site…so I had to contact my son Todd, who is my webmaster!  He supplied me with a new password….quite creative and one I shall always remember! (  &  )  I will return!

This morning I was reading  Then Sings my Soul, 150 of the world’s greatest Hymn Stories given to me in 2004 for Mothers Day by my soon to be daughter-in-law, Jill . . . I love what I read this morning and so I leave you with this blessing:

“The Lord Bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face to shine upon you . . .
And be gracious to you
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you
and give you peace. Amen.
Numbers 6:24-26

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October 20, 2010

The “October-it’s-almost-November” Feeling

Gordon E. Longenecker 1/6/1956 - 11/08/2005

Gordon E. Longenecker
1/6/1956 – 11/08/2005

Today, I share words I jotted down a few Octobers after the November 8th anniversary of Gordon’s death. For the first few years, this time of year just kind of caught up with me before I “remembered.” Now I know . . . I welcome and plan for this time of remembering by building in some “traditions.” (I am big on “traditions in case you don’t already know!)

One of my good friends has a scrapbooking retreat the first weekend in November, so I give myself that day – just to enjoy the thing I enjoy most.   And on the actual anniversary, I meet for coffee with a friend who is my “substitute” little brother. (Thanks Brian!)

God . . .
I’m unsettled . . . edgy
feelings of tension mark my days
Why Lord?
I’ve been doing “so well.”
I’ve been more at peace . .
my grief less overwhelming.

And then I remember . . .
Another anniversary approaches
the day that divides my life into
“Before” & “After.”
My soul knows . . .
what my mind
has been too busy
to acknowledge.

It’s good to remember,
To give myself time
 to grieve from this vantage point.

Each year the remembering is the same.
The intensity of the feelings change.
I never know how they will be.

I will continue to remember.
It is a good thing.

And for those who love me . . .
It feels good for me to let you know
I am remembering
in a more focused way
than I remember on most days.

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October 7, 2010


Written August 20, 2010
“To be “pre-occupied” means to fill our time and place long before we are there. This is worrying in the more specific sense of the word. It is a mind filled with “what if . . . “. When we are preparing for eventualities, we seldom fully trust the moment.”
Henri J. M. Nouwen Making All Things New, (An Invitation to the Spiritual Life) p. 25, 26

Lord, I’ve been “preoccupied” lately.
Perhaps this is contributing to my restlessness.
It certainly is not contributing to my peace!

And last night as we gently rocked on the swing
in the cool night breezes.
the “what if . . . .” question took over.
How different it would have been had we talked
instead about “What IS . . . .”

A quiet summer evening
in our back yard sanctuary
lovingly created and tended by my husband.
Sitting in Mom and Dad’s swing
a reminder of their love and care for us.
Seven grandchildren with one more on the way!
Grandchildren who are already hiding
Your word in their little hearts . . .
Friends who nurture us . . .
love us as we are
and still challenge us to
stay the course . . .
Evidences of our own personal growth
and a better-than-ever 40 marriage
Hugs from little ones
and not-so-little ones anymore
and sloppy kisses. . .
Even a house withOUT a renter
and the challenge to trust . . .
“Enough . . . .” of material things . . .

Lord, thank you for this reminder.
Help me remember to “occupy”
not “preoccupy”
until You come!

Matthew 6: 30-34 The Message: (notice the word “preoccupying” below!)
30-33: “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.


September 20, 2010

Solitude, Disciplines and Airplanes


Airplane lined up for runway at O'hare Airport, 7/25/10

“A spiritual discipline is necessary in order to move slowly from an absurd (Latin word for ‘deaf’) to an obedient (‘listening’) life . . . from a life filled with noisy worries to a life in which there is some inner space where we can listen to our God and follow His guidance.”

As I was reading this, I looked up and saw an airplane on approach to the runway. That in itself is not usual; I was sitting at the Lake, about a mile from the airport, but this morning, the approach was unusual. Normally I would not have noticed an airplane headed to the runway…but this one was flying right toward me – well, toward the airport.

I believe God used the out-of-the-ordinaryt flight plan that day to capture my attention. I didn’t have my camera and I have not seen that approach being used since, but I did go back a few days later and get a picture of a plane headed to the airport – I wanted to “Remember and Celebrate” what God taught me! Maybe some day I’ll be at the Lake and see that original approach again. I hope so!

Just a few days later, right before our National Creative Memories convention began, I was at a friend’s home, for the evening, anticipating some quiet time in the morning before the happy “madness” begins. As I meditated on these words once again, I was struck once more that this kind of life requires intentionality!

And I wrote . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

God, I know this: 
      but I need to be reminded.
You give insights and guidance.
But for me to receive this guidance,
I need to be quiet.
Lord, I am going to convention . . .
      noise and happy confusion
      from the time I hit the place . . .
      non -stop for three 1/2 days.
And I know I must
      plan for . . .
      head into . . .
      set my sights on . . .
      finding quiet moments.
            just like this airplane,
            lining up for the runway
            long before it gets there.
Dear Carol,
I love it when you plan for times with me.

You have changed me in so many ways,
Help me pay attention to how I show up this week.

My dear Carol, I will,
      but you have to give me focused time!
Shirley says you can always
      find a closet!
Look for it!

Thank you Lord!

Added note: I did find a rather unusual “closet,”  but that’s for another time!


September 12, 2010

Birthdays are for Remembering

Ronald Verle Longenecker 9/12/1957-5/5/1960

If this is the first time you are reading my blog, take a moment to read “my story” (see above) which will help you understand the context of my entries on this blog

Today I am thinking about
a brown-eyed little boy –
born 53 years ago today –
I think about what he would have been as an adult!
I only knew him 2 1/2 years –
too little time to really know . . .
I  remember eyes sparkling with life,
full of mischief.
I think he would have been
more tall than short . . .
still have his brown eyes
and brown hair . . .
And we’d call him Ron, instead of Ronnie!
I miss him on days like today –
I imagine he and Gordon are “playing” together once again.
Someday I will “play” with them too.

Feeling tender, a little sad and happy that I had him in my life!
And grateful for  the love of friends who have become like family to me!!


September 6, 2010

Making A Way

August 2000, Alaska

As I supported and cared for a friend who had lost her son, I also was comforted as I thought of how God had been with me.  I sent the following to her:

In the summer of 2000, Somewhere in Alaska, we took this picture. As I looked at it one day years later, I thought of how someone had to cut through this mountain to create this road.

And then I thought about how God has been there, helping us cut through our mountain of grief – and on to the other side.

And not only God, but those who have walked this road with us . . .

My prayer, dear friend, is that you will continue to experience God’s grace as you journey through this grief.