No Ordinary Home – Chap 14 Chronicles

“THEN what did Dad do?” we asked, eager to hear more of the ornery exploits of my father.  “Um, Grandpa, could you hurry, though?” my brother requested.  “Why? Ya gotta go somewhere?”  “Kinda…”  You see, as Grandpa was sharing all these horror stories from the childhood of my Dad, my grandmother was kicking, what she thought were the shins of my grandfather….when in fact, it was my brother.  So eager was he to hear all the stories Grandpa had to share, that he endured the increasingly harder kicks for nigh on an hour.  Yeah, he had somewhere to go – AWAY from Grandma!

His face was haggard and tired.  It had been a long hard 5 years.  Grandma’s first stroke rendered her bed-ridden and he had been there for her, every day, moment by moment, to care for the bride of his youth.  Finally, his service to her had come to end – relief battled with grief for the key emotion. “Here….” he said, “I want you to have this.”  He held his hand out.  Clutched in his aging palm was her engagement ring.  It was typical of the late 20’s – it had an illusion head diamond, surrounded by a few cluster diamonds.  It wasn’t extravagant, but it was Grandma.  “Oh Grandpa, I’d LOVE to have this, but will you do me a favor?  Will you write out what you remember of proposing to Grandma?  Will you write out for me what you remember of your wedding day?”  He did – it took him a few months, it helped him grieve and when he presented the paper to me, it was accompanied by a pair of earrings – the cuff links he had worn in their wedding, altered a bit.  They were his gift to me – an expression of his delight – of the process of remembering and recording for us all, his love and courtship of the “big-city” girl who had captured his “hill-billy” heart and held it for more than 60 years.

Gold faucets.  Everything about the bathroom in the Hearst Castle is expensive, excessive and for our family, personal.  You see, my mother-in-law’s father was the plumber responsible for creating lush beauty in Mr Hearst’s upstairs bathrooms.  At a time when finding food was hard for some, my mother in law’s father was basking in wealth and opulence by day, coming home to forced simplicity at night.  We’re likely the only tourists who went to the mansion, with hopes of getting a good glimpse of the water closet!

It was 1970 – and they were at the border of California.  They were stopped and they were not going to allow them to take any produce into the state.  Refusing to “waste good fruit” my father in law opened up the coolers and forced his family to sit at the side of the road and eat all the fruit in the car.  They would go no further until all the produce had been consumed.  He even made the guard eat an apple.

We like to take the children on little trips, through the area, that we call “Clark history trips.”  We take them past Jeff’s childhood homes, we drive past our first apartment.  We go past the hospital that was the birth place of most of our children.  We want them to have a sense of who we are….who they are because of who we are.

These are the kinds of memories we have from my family – precious, but not eternal.  The entire focus of Mrs Brazo’s book has been to challenge us to form memories for our children, for our families, but not just those of the here and now, but ones that will effect their lives for eternity.  AND not only to celebrate them, but to record them for the encouragement of their souls.

When the Lord first began blessing us with children, we would take the child in arms, shortly after their birth and announce to them, “You, sweet baby are richly blessed.  The Lord has placed you in our family – because of that, you are in a position to grow up and see Him do miraculous things.”  You see, when money is short and blessings are great, that’s the only option to expect.  And Father has done more than we could think or imagine.

It is those stories – the ones of the miraculous and totally GOD – that we desire to pass onto our children.  From reading this book and being challenged by others in our lives, we have begun the process of chronicling the journey the Lord has chosen for us.

Mrs Brazo offers a final challenge I find rawther daunting – “to help our children have a vivid, shocking, powerful experience with God, while living in our homes.”  She goes on to say, “this is most likely to happen if we are conscious every single day of the reality of God in our lives and in the lives of our children.”  OH MY!  There are days I’m grateful to be upright… let alone conscious….let alone conscious of the reality of God in MY life.  BUT to be attentive – actively attentive – to see God’s hand moving in the lives of each of my children and drawing their attention to that…..WOW.  What a responsibility.  What a privilege.  What a holy burden.  A burden that is ours to carry, marked by awe and amazement, not affliction. It is a burden we find a joy to carry, but a burden none the less.

I love the reason she gives for doing this: “We also need memorials of God’s work in our lives.  We need to be keenly aware of His moving and His power.  Then we need to record those events so that other strugglers can be reminded that we also struggled.  And God answered.”

What a testimony to send our children forth with, from our homes – into their own unordinary home – “And God answered.”  OH may this be the testimony of our lips – recorded for the encouragement of our childrens’ souls.  AND GOD ANSWERED………

(As a final note to this book, I would STRONGLY  commend Jill Novak‘s “The Gift of Family Writing” to you.  I believe you will find it to be a source of support as you strive to chronicle the goodness and faithfulness of our Lord.)

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8 Responses to “No Ordinary Home – Chap 14 Chronicles”
  1. A few years ago I gave my grandma one of those “Grandmother Remembers” books for Christmas. Actually I think I passed out a few of them that Christmas:) By the next Christmas I had forgotten all about it. Until I unwrapped a gift from my Grandma. Not only had she filled out the pages, she had stuffed it full of pictures and family recipes and stories and encouragement for me in my marriage and motherhood. It is without a doubt my most treasured “thing.”
    We’ve always passed down stories in my family. I could recite the story of the time grandma hit her brother on the head with a brick they were using to play either cars or babydolls. Or the story of my greatgrandma holding off bad men trying to scare her off her land when she was recently widowed by using a broom handle to make them think she had a shotgun and by pooring boiling water through the cracks in the floor. I know when my granny first got married she cried for her mama for weeks everytime my grandpa left for work. That she was eight years old before they could make her stay at school. Those stories – things that happened long before I was born, before my parents were born, have shaped me. They’re part of my story and part of my children’s story. I’ve always kind of thought “hmm, I should write this down” and never done it. SO the only thing I’m asking for this Christmas is a journal I can start in. I’m always one of those people who doesn’t want to start until I can do everything just right. But I’m going to have to just get over that and jump in because the memories are piling up:) It’s so right to keep up with all the stories of how Father has blest us, not just for me but to pass on to the kids and to remind them now. WHat better way to make sure I remember to tell them “look what God has done” than to make a point of writing it down. This article really inspired me to get back into those scrapbooks, too – not so I’ll have beautiful books to show off, but so we’ll have real documentation of what God’s done ineach of our lives. I started a book for Casey and I awhile ago that I’d like to get up to date. It is so amazing to me to look back over what God’s done in our lives to bring us to where we are.
    What other chronicles do you have in your family? What about everybody else?
    This has been a really great book!

  2. eddiemund says:

    Hey! I have a blog here now!

  3. I thought of one other way we pass on family memories that I thought I’d share – most of you probably do it already:) We make a big night of decorating the Christmas tree and as we hang each ornament we tell it’s story….”this is the ornament my Sunday School teacher made me when I was just your age, she was so sweet and told me every Sunday that she loved me and Jesus did,too”…this is the ornament Grandma bought for mommy and daddy’s first Christmas together the year we started our family….this is a special lace cross that my great-grandma made so that we will always remember the reason Baby Jesus came to earth…and so forth and so on. Now I’ll be the first to admit that my tree will not be on the cover of Southern Living anytime soon, but each ornament has a special meaning and that makes it beautiful to me:)

  4. javadawn says:

    🙂 We used to do that when I was growing up, too. (Sadly, we lost all those old ornaments due to a family crisis & fire)

  5. MamaKayB says:

    Dawn,

    Thank you for taking up this book to discuss. I think I have gained even more from the discussion than from the book itself. We have started a few things that I hope will continue. We found a big clear vase that we are putting special rocks in to remind of us of God’s work in our lives. I hope to keep a journal to record which rock stands for what things so we do not forget — I just haven’t found one yet. I also am planning on starting a journal of our family’s daily life so that we can look back on how God has worked in our lives even in the small things.

    We also tell the stories of our ornaments and their special meanings in our lives as we put up our Christmas tree.

    One year for Christmas I gave my dad a “journal in a jar.” It is a jar filled with questions that I asked him to answer & then share with me. It has been fun to read his answers and he has enjoyed recording some of those stories he hadn’t thought of in so long. Here’s a link where I got the idea from: http://organizedchristmas.com/printable/showgallery.php/cat/503

  6. So, Dawn, are you willing to take on this challenge again with a new book? I’m already browsing around for title suggestions….:)

  7. javadawn says:

    Sure! It was fun to read other women’s perspective on the chapters.

    I am getting ready to wander into that book Ann reviewed…um….hang on. (I’m going to have to go get the silly thang) “Building the Christian Family You Never Had”

    I think many of us were spurred on by Mrs Brazo’s challenge to make God real in our families – it seems that this strays along the same lines.

    Any one else have a suggestion – I’m open. (As long as we don’t start until after the new year.) 🙂
    I am pretty busy until then.

  8. Yes, after New Year! I’m always really excited about jumping into new projects in January:) That book sounds great, Dawn. Let us know how suited it is for discussion. I’ve got a short wish list I’ll send you – books I’m looking for a good excuse to buy:)

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