Remembering Oma

IMG_0595Fond memories of my Oma (grandmother) stir my mind today as Mother’s Day approaches. She loved to tell me stories, and greatly influenced my love of storytelling (writing). There was always a book or magazine nearby, for she loved reading.

My Oma’s character would make a great heroine in any novel. Her life was filled with hardship, but she always looked for ways to bring joy to those around her, while holding tight to her faith in God. She was a survivor, a helper, an encourager, who refused to allow herself to be defeated. Instead, she emotionally rolled up her sleeves and faced her battles head on. A wonderful blend of strength and delicacy was my sweet Oma. And I was the granddaughter who was blessed to sit beside her and learn from her.

Oma, I still can’t pass by wildflowers without hearing your words, “Anne, you must take time to see the flowers along the path. God planted them there for your enjoyment.”¬†On my walk this week, I saw violets displaying their purple blooms in the forest and I thought of you, my precious Oma.


Becoming Aware

IMG_1019I had a flashback today while walking on a bike path near my home. Scooter, my Yorkie-Poo, and I love to walk this 40-minute walk almost every day. (Except on the days when I don’t love it. When I’d rather be a couch potato. On those days, he loves the walk and I only go because it’s good for me and I’m tired of his begging.) Normally, my 81-year-old mother joins me, but since she wasn’t feeling well, it was just me and Scooter today. Without someone to talk to, I began noticing flowers along the sidewalk I hadn’t seen before. Suddenly, my mind flashed back to a conversation I had with my grandmother years ago.

IMG_1014When we lived in Germany, my grandmother came for a visit and we decided we needed some exercise. I put my youngest in the stroller while my five-year-old walked beside me holding my grandmother’s hand. We walked from our townhouse through a quaint German neighborhood and then across a field to get to the canal that led to a water reserve, which was a great place for exercise. As we walked across the field, my grandmother said, “Anneliese, look at the flowers.” I looked at the pretty wild flowers she pointed out to me and admired them. She said, “You must always notice the flowers around you. God put them there for your enjoyment.”

IMG_1020Years have gone by since that day. My children have grown and married, and my grandmother has gone home to be with the Lord, but her words have stayed with me. As I’ve faced various stresses in life, I’ve tried to make a point of noticing the flowers along my path — the blessings in my life. No matter how difficult the circumstances, if you seek Him, you will find Him. Even if it’s in the flower along your path.

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Luke 12:27 ESV)

IMG_1012Jesus told us to “Consider the lilies.” Become aware of nature around us for there are lessons to be learned. Jesus was addressing our anxious thoughts in this verse. If God cares for flowers and grass that are here today and gone tomorrow, how much more will He care for you. So the next time you go for a walk, notice the flowers and remember how much you are loved and cared for. Call out to Jesus and ask Him to bring you through whatever trial you’re facing. Then ask Him to help you to become aware of His presence. He will help you not to feel alone. He will encourage you.

IMG_1023As I walked alone with Scooter today, I pulled out my iPhone and began taking pictures of the things I saw. I was amazed at how many flowers I pass every day and never notice them because I’m distracted by life. I’m grateful for my grandmother who shared her wisdom with me and helped me to experience the love of Jesus today through words she spoke to me long ago. “Anneliese, look at the flowers.”