Thursday, May 31, 2007

An Heirloom, A Rose and A Legacy


1. A piece of property that descends to the heir as an inseparable part of an inheritance of real property;

2. Something of special value handed on from one generation to another;

3. A horticultural variety that has survived for several generations usually due to the efforts of private individuals.

Last night my sweetheart and I sat with my mother on her backyard deck to enjoy the calm of a warm Spring evening together. Nearby, an incredibly gorgeous old-fashioned heirloom rose spread its branches and crowned her yellow woodshed with its grace. I was totally enthralled by the sight of the rose and I remembered that somehow it had a connection to my great-grandmother who was called "Nanny" by everyone who knew her. My mother shared this story with us.

In 1900 her grandmother, Nanny, wanted a rose for her yard. One day she heard that a man had come to her town with a wagon full of roses. So Nanny walked to the center of town carrying her baby and with her toddler son walking beside her. She carefully made her decision, purchased her rose, returned home and lovingly planted it beside her little house. Through the years she tended it with great care until it grew taller than the house and sprawled across the roof. Later, my grandfather built a home next to Nanny's house for his bride - my grandmother. My mother grew up in that home. My mother's bedroom window faced the side of Nanny's house and the rose that was only known as "Nanny's rose". She said as a young child she often stood at her window to admire the beautiful rose that she dearly loved because it belonged to her Nanny, a very special person in her life.

Nanny has been gone for many years now and the little house she lived in most of her life was torn down long ago and replaced with apartments. Shortly before her house was torn down my uncle carefully took pieces of the rose for himself and for my mother. I don't remember when Mom planted it beside her woodshed outside the kitchen window of the home my father built for us. It seems it has been there forever. Until a few years ago it was nearly impossible to buy this rose variety. Through the years, many people have visited Mom's backyard and carefully taken starts so they, too, could enjoy its beauty.

I have always loved this rose but even more now that I know the story. The legacy of the rose touched my heart as I heard the details. On a warm spring evening more than 100 years after my dear Nanny planted her rose I admired it in a special place far away from where it began to charm several generations of my family. Before our conversation ended my mother turned to me and said, "When the day comes that you must sell my house, please take a piece of "Nanny's Rose" and grow it somewhere near you so it will continue to be a part of our family legacy." Today I value the rose more than ever before and I consider it to be one of treasures of my heart -- not because I love roses but because of the dear people through the years who have loved the rose and have loved me, too.

Photo: "Nanny's Rose" (Veilchenblau Heirloom Rambler Rose)

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Day To Remember

Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day because it was a time set aside to honor the nation’s Civil War dead by decorating their graves.
It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former sailors and soldiers.

On May 5, 1868, Logan declared in General Order No. 11 that:The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.

In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

I am thankful for the men and women who bravely serve our country and to those who have served in the past to secure the freedoms I appreciate today. Thank you to their dear families who have sacrificed much. My heart is deeply touched by those who have been wounded and the families who have lost loved ones. We are truly blessed to live in the United States of America. No matter what challenges we face today, personally or as a nation, you and I can make the choice to face today - and tomorrow - with a grateful heart.

Photos: Willamette National Cemetery, Portland, Oregon and Zion Memorial Cemetery, Canby, Oregon

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A True Friend

Today we drove into Portland to meet a dear family friend and join her in worship at her church. The pastor spoke about friendship and he challenged us to consider the marks of a true friend. Many people have come and gone in my life without becoming real friends. But God has given me good friends who have touched my life and made a difference -- I am a better person because of them.

A true friend -

  • makes us a better person by their example. "He who walks with the wise grows wise but a companion of fools suffers harm." Proverbs 13:20
  • confronts our faults by their honesty. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17
  • sticks with us by their loyalty. "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17

Thank you dear friends, old and new. I treasure our friendship -- you are a gift from God. May I be such a gift to you.

"Time spent with a true friend is nourishment for the soul." - anonymous

(photo: wildflowers in Mt. Tabor Park, Portland, Oregon)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Down My Garden Path

Well, it's not really a garden path -- I just wandered around my yard with camera in hand, enjoying the gorgeous display of spring flowers. This is my favorite time of year. We have four distinct seasons of the year here in Oregon but I think this is my favorite. The spring rain showers are refreshing (and necessary) and they bring the abundant colors that are so different from any other time of the year. The songs of the birds punctuate the daylight hours and the breezes seem to refresh my soul. I just can't help but sing:

When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, my Saviour, God, to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour, God, to Thee
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

I am blessed and truly grateful!