All posts by Sue

Legacy Lives on…

but, not Only Because of Biology

     Mid-May and throughout June is a very busy season for our immediate family—which, by the way, isn’t all that large. We celebrate five birthdays, one anniversary, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. In addition, there are special events like family reunions, graduations and end-of-school programs.

     This year, we added to the joyful chaos our 7-year-old granddaughter’s first dance recital. After almost four hours of sitting, watching one delightful performance after another, I leaned over to Emmi’s paternal grandpa, squirming in his seat as was I, and whispered, “Just think, Dennis, this is the first of many!”

Look at these sweet little ballerinas! The one on the left with the Mona Lisa smile is our granddaughter, Emalynn!

     One of the most special aspects of the recital is that it was the 61st yearly event for the Bleker Dance Studio, a family-owned, multi-generational studio. Since I had returned only a few days earlier from a family reunion that got me thinking about the power of family legacy, another impact of legacy surfaced as I considered Emmi’s first-of-probably-many dance recital.

     The website description of the Bleker studio reads:

     We are a Spokane Valley dance studio that has been providing quality dance instruction since 1957. We are Christian based, and we believe in teaching proper dance technique in a positive, encouraging environment.

     The Bleker’s, of course, are leaving a legacy for their family, but in addition, they are leaving a legacy for hundreds of young girls and women who have grown in grace and confidence while learning to pirouette, tap, tumble, and work as a team.

Legacy doesn’t always live on because of biology as seen in this definition: anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor[1]

I enjoy friendships with several women who have never become mothers. Some are married, others single. Most tell me being childless wasn’t their ‘Plan A.’ Some have grieved deeply for the child they’d dreamed of, but most have resilient spirits and have been able to move beyond the lost dream.

     Many of my friends who aren’t biological mothers are women of significant faith. I’ve watched and admired ways in which they’ve become ‘mothers- and/or grandmothers-of-the-heart.’

     Even though spiritual offspring may not carry threads of biological DNA, there’s no doubt, the guidance and encouragement these women give leaves a legacy of faith—oftentimes, even more powerful than the biological parent’s.

     Emmi’s dance instructors challenge young students to jump higher. Spiritual parents and grandparents motivate young men and women to consider a life lived with committed faith, oftentimes reaching beyond unhealthy families of origin.

     A lovely legacy isn’t always a matter of either/or. It may include spiritual fathers and mothers as well as faith-filled biological parents.

     This morning my contemplative prayer group considered a passage of scripture found in 2 Timothy, which illustrates. The Apostle Paul, in the winter season of his earthly journey, wrote a letter to Timothy, his ‘son of the heart.’ These tender words paint a lovely picture of legacy left both spiritually and biologically.

I am writing to Timothy, my dear son…

I thank God for you…Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.

I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. [2]

     Whether you are a biological, adoptive or ‘of-the-heart’ parent or grandparent, I hope these words will inspire you to consider the significance of your legacy, and I pray…

Blessings on your journey…

Sue Reeve

Doting Grandpa Ron made sure his favorite little dancer was presented with a long-stemmed rose. Earlier in the day, Grandma Susie took Emmi to get a manicure. Those fluorescent orange and glittery pink nails looked perfect with her adorable costume!

  2. 2 Timothy 1:2-5 (New Living Translation)

Legacy Lives On…

     I married into a great family.

          Great people, and

               great numbers of great people!

     Recently, we attended a family reunion, including descendants of Ron’s maternal grandparents, Victor and Mary Lustig. Victor and Mary produced eleven children, including a daughter who died at a young age, one priest and a nun. Their eldest daughter gave birth to seventeen children (That’s right, one-seven!) My husband’s family, one of the smaller ones, was comprised of three girls and three boys.

Ron and me in our motel lobby with his three sisters, left to right: Pam, Mary and Norma; their husbands, Ron, John and Dave—along with Jerry, the youngest, who’s always the life of any gettogether. We missed Lisa, Jerry’s wife, who stayed home in Florida, and always remember with bitter sweetness, the oldest brother, Mike, who died a few years ago.

     Victor and Mary immigrated to central Idaho, establishing a farm on the Camas Prairie. The farm was distinguished as a Centennial Farm in 2009, which means it has remained in the same family for 100 years. Quite an accomplishment! Doug and Karen Lustig, the farm’s current owners, graciously hosted the Lustig event on a recent rainy Saturday.

     Often during that weekend of celebration, I was reminded of the significance of legacy.

     Ron’s grandparents and all the Lustig children except one—Aunt Rita—have passed, but legacy does not pass away.

     Legacy lives on.

     I’m convinced legacy matters to God. An Old Testament story reinforces my belief. The children of Israel were about to enter the land God promised them. These verses from Joshua 4 (NLT) tell the story far better than I.

     4:1 When all the people had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe. Tell them, ‘Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan…’”

     So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.”

     The twelve stones of remembrance were a literal legacy reminder as is the Lustig family farm. In today’s Listening on the Journey… blog post, however, I would like to honor unseen aspects of the Lustig legacy.

     The legacy of:

  • Fun celebration. One of my favorite pictures was taken when Ron was about ten-years old. He’s surrounded by his grandparents, aunts, uncles and a humongous group of first cousins. All had gathered at the family farm on a Sunday afternoon, which was a regular occurrence. Childhood memories of playing with cousins on the farm remain some of Ron’s favorites. The cousins are mostly gray-haired now, but playful conversation and lots of laughter still abound whenever they gather.
  • Food! Years ago, when I began my training in critical incident response, a recommendation was made by one of the trainers that every critical incident debriefing should include food. The premise was that when people gather around food, they tend to talk, and talking is an important aspect of healthy trauma response. Tables laden with massive quantities of delicious eats are a centerpiece of any Lustig event. (My favorite is my husband’s cousin’s scrumptious home-canned hot dill pickles!) Lots of conversation, including fun remembrances, abound.
  • Hard work. I never cease to be amazed at my husband’s industriousness. Ron’s value of working diligently—without a bunch of bellyaching—certainly is characteristic of the entire Lustig clan.
  • Overarching all is the Lustig legacy of faith. Theirs is a devout Catholic family. Although I never met her, I appreciate stories about Grandma Lustig’s faithful prayers for every one of her ten children and 60 plus grandchildren!

     The recent gathering honored a great grandson, Joseph, who had just been ordained as a priest. During the family mass Father Joseph conducted, I thought how proud Ron’s grandparents would have been to see their handsome offspring, wearing religious vestments once worn by their son and using a chalice during communion that had been used by Father Victor Lustig many years before.

     Even though my husband no longer practices the traditions of his Roman Catholic upbringing, I have no doubt Ron’s strong Christian faith is linked directly to his praying grandmother. Her example serves as a reminder to me of the far-reaching power of prayers—even to generations of offspring we’ll never know this side of Heaven.

     I pray today’s post will encourage you to celebrate your own godly legacy, and if you were not blessed in that way, I hope my words will ignite a desire in you to be the person who begins a lovely legacy…

Sue Reeve

Contemplative Prayer and Soul Care…

     For readers who followed Listening on the Journey… during 2017, you may recall my theme for that year was Soul Care Discovery. During 2017, I was introduced to contemplative (listening) prayer. This discovery led me not only to an amazing new dimension of soul care but also to the faraway land of Spain where I was privileged to participate in an educational pilgrimage and 4-day contemplative prayer retreat.

     I’m far from an expert on the spiritual discipline of contemplative prayer. As I continue to practice silent ‘listening’ prayer, however, I’m experiencing a quietude of spirit I’ve never known before, and my soul longs for more!

     One recent Sunday, I celebrated another birthday. (Oh, my, they seem to arrive more quickly each year!) A portion of my special day was spent strolling with my husband through the beautiful Manito Gardens in Spokane, Washington.

     Today’s post includes photos Ron took during our late spring Manito Garden birthday walk as well as some of my insights regarding contemplative prayer.

     Each birthday and each new season assure us the world in which we live keeps changing. I hope these photos and thoughts will remind you that despite our always-changing worlds, we can trust in a never-changing God.

Blessings on your journey of ‘listening…’

Sue Reeve