It was a good weekend.  Full of remembering.  Full of pondering about life and all that goes into who we are.  All that has made me who I am.

My aunts were always there for each other, and for everyone around them.  They were always so kind and loving to me.  Seeing only one of them left is painful, and is a strong reminder to not waste time on anger or bitterness.  They never did.

I am truly grateful and comforted by the knowledge that this life is not all there is.

This weekend has made all of the mundane things in my mind stop for a time, and has given me a chance to remember who I am, and all that has gone into making me that person.

It has caused me to count my blessings, and to renew my desire for living for what matters.  Life is so fleeting.

There isn’t any time to waste.  There is so much good to be done.  For each of us, that “good” will be different.  But why waste time on things that don’t matter?

Life is just too short for that.

It was a full weekend.  We stopped on the way home by a tiny grave I haven’t visited in a long time.

So many people have suffered so much.  So much more than I have ever had to.

We spent some quiet time washing off the little headstone and clearing some of the grass that had grown over little parts of it.  It was the least I could do.  Such a small thing to do, it almost felt for a moment as though I were silly to think I was helping my tiny sister, or my mother who loves and misses her.

I sat there for a few minutes beside her, looking at her headstone and at the other tiny graves.   My eyes filled with tears at all the pain that so many people have felt, and do feel, in their lives.  Some feel loss, others feel a suffering of a different kind, but so many people suffer.  I felt so small against all of that.

But then I watched my little girls bring their own simple offerings to the grave.  One brought some little green leaves that she thought were 4-leaf-clovers, so the baby could be lucky.  Another brought a pine cone, and another, a pretty stick.

Somehow I felt and knew that Mary smiled.  That she was glad we had come.

And in that moment, I knew that even my small gift, a tiny thing like washing a headstone, made a difference.  It mattered to her.  It mattered to my mother.

Today is my birthday.  It’s a “big” birthday, and has had me thinking more than usual about my life and where I want it to go.  Yes, there are many people hurting.  There are so many problems, and so much sadness.

But my small offering could lift that for someone.  It doesn’t have to be something huge.  It can be as small as a pinecone on a grave.  Yes, there is an almost overwhelming sadness in the world.  But I believe that “earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”

How do you know you aren’t meant to be part of that healing?

Do something today.  Something small.  Be kind.  Smile.  Save someone who is hurting or alone, in your own small way.

It seems that lives always change by small, simple things, done by small, simple people.  Just like my life always has.  My aunt changed my life, not by doing anything huge and grand.  But by hugging me, by loving me all the time.  My mother changed my life.  Because she got out of bed every day and did all of the seemingly meaningless things that mean everything.  She still does.

Life is precious.  It becomes more so to me each and every year.  I want it to mean something.  And I think that this is how it will.  By doing the little, seemingly insignificant things.  By giving everything to my children.  By being kind to others.  By doing what I can.

11 Responses

  1. Thanks for being a great example to me, as to how to do those small and simple things that affect lives so much!

    Happy 30th! I Love you!

    October 18, 2010 at 4:40 pm

  2. Jessie Richens

    You made me cry :) I am so glad you stopped there. I wish I were closer so I could too. I did stop at Grandmas on our way home, and make sure all was well there.

    Happy birthday Ann! I hope you have another great year!

    October 18, 2010 at 7:27 pm

  3. what a beautiful message. and even more beautiful blog. i LOVE the changes. I’m thrilled with the background and size photos, especially!

    October 19, 2010 at 11:36 am

  4. annie ipson

    Wish we could have come. I did not realize you had a baby sister that had passed away. I do too. Her name is Mary as well. We only had her five short months, but it is amazing how deep she is implanted on our hearts. It is a wonderful blessing to know families are forever.

    October 19, 2010 at 1:01 pm

  5. Elaine Stephens

    So beautifully written, by a beautiful woman. A Daughter of Our Heavenly Father. You have a sweet, caring spirit and I want to grow up to be you someday!
    I love you!

    October 19, 2010 at 5:17 pm

  6. Can I copy some of these pictures? These are so neat. I really like the one of Matt holding the umbrella! Thats a good picture of him!

    October 21, 2010 at 3:42 am

    • Ann

      Of course, Jerolyn! Copy any you would like. :)

      October 25, 2010 at 8:24 am

  7. So glad you stopped there. I think about it all the time and wish I were closer.

    Wish I could have been there :(

    October 30, 2010 at 10:17 pm

  8. Ann,
    I don’t often get a chance to stop by your blog, but each time I do I am blessed by your writing and photography. You often express what I cannot in my own writing, and your photos elicit the emotion that I often try to elicit in my own.
    I find many parallels in our lives. My birthday is the 26th of Oct, and Autumn is the season that fills me with the most joy. I am never far from my camera, most of my photos feature my five beautiful and amazing girls. I hope to pass to my children that being a woman, a wife, a mother, a nurturer and a beautiful creation of God is nothing to be ashamed of. And last week, as my girls and I found bedding and essentials for a wonderful Nigerian refugee family adopted by our church, I was reminded how blessed we all are. We also home educate.
    You are an amazing woman and I feel blessed each time I visit your blog. :)

    November 3, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    • Ann

      Dawn, I am so glad to hear from you. :) I was at your blog just the other day. :) Your little ladies are all so lovely, and you are teaching them such incredible things. Thank you for inspiring me, as well. I really feel that we mothers need each other.

      November 4, 2010 at 12:09 am

  9. Debbie Domenici

    Sorry for the loss of your aunt. I didn’t know you had lost a sister. How wonderful for your youngest to be named after them both. I hope you were able to have a wonderful birthday with family even though the trip was for sad reasons.

    April 11, 2011 at 10:42 am

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