Remembering My Brother George Willie

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This is a sketch of my brother George Willie. I sketched this from an old photograph. He drowned at age 16 the summer before I was born. He and some friends had gone to a lake and were celebrating the end of the school year. While I never knew him, I knew the void that had been left by his absence. My mother, father, and older brother and older sisters never stopped grieving over his loss. His memory haunted that space inside their hearts. I always felt like a stranger on the outside looking in; all I know of him is what they told me. He was almost six feet tall, liked to joke, was good at math and wanted to join the United States Air Force after high school graduation. Sadly, those dreams never came true, his life was cut tragically short. Sixteen years is such a short, short time.

Sixty years ago today, my brother died at sixteen years old. On that sunny June day in 1960 he had no idea that he would never see the next day. Life is so very fleeting; it is so very fragile.

I know one day that I will see him, that I will see all those whom I love who have crossed over into eternity. I love my brother George Willie although I never met him. He is my brother and I feel that he is my guardian angel and that he is always with me. I look at his photograph which I keep on the shelf of remembrance in my home and I know that he is  with God.

Psalm 90: 12 says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

Number our days. Life is so short and so precious. We often get so caught up in life’s dramas that we forget that this life is not forever on this earth.

I choose to look towards eternity. I choose to look towards the hope and promise that one day I will be in the glorious presence of my Lord. I trust that it will be a homecoming, that I will meet my brother George Willie and spend eternity with all those whom I have loved.

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2020

Rescued

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Rescued

In a remembered hour, wine colored circles expand around an amber-hued memory.

Spiraling down a tunnel; drifting, darkness, decay.

Expecting not to be rescued; God reached for me, anyway.

 

 

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020

 

I am currently working on a second poetry collection.  I plan to include this poem in that collection.  I am including my original photography, as well.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Thanks.

 

Jenny

What’s Essential?

 

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Photo by Polina Sirotina on Pexels.com

Six weeks later, liquor stores are still open.

Churches are still closed.

Lines wrap around the liquor store’s sidewalk, shoppers maybe two feet apart , wait to purchase spirits.

Churches are still closed.

Liquor stores have been classified as essential by the powers and principalities that control this world.

Churches are still closed.

Only God Himself can save me.

 

 

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020

End of the Road

dead end road sign
Photo by Dustin Tray on Pexels.com

 

Will this isolation ever end?

Will this emptiness ever be filled?

Will the distance ever be bridged?

Will there ever be laughter again?

Or has the damage already been done?

Or is it too late to go back and start over again?

 

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020

 

Dancing in the Rain

 

woman holding umbrella dancing in the middle of the road near cars and buildings
Photo by Alex Qian on Pexels.com

“It isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain-” Vivian Greene

Yesterday marks one month since I taught in my classroom. In my community, restaurants have been reduced to only take-out service, other businesses have been closed indefinitely. The plan is for us to get back to normal by April 30th; some speculate it might not be until May 15th.

The media outlets have overdosed on the worst possible case scenario stories with emphasis on the problem rather than a solution. Is there a solution other than locking down the entire world? Surely, scientists with their wisdom can come up with a solution. Surely.

While I am teaching online now, I prefer to be out of my house and in the classroom.

Social distancing/social isolation is not emotionally, mentally or spiritually healthy. People need actual interaction with others.

Curious fact alert:  In my community, the liquor stores are open with lines out the door, but houses of worship  are closed.  Seriously? Who came up with this plan? Obviously someone who did not have their thinking caps on. Standing in line at the liquor store a few feet from each other?  Ha! Ha! Ha!

That’s a great recipe there for disaster-alcohol use while in social isolation.

No one thought this through-did they?

What could possibly go wrong?

I’ve tried to keep my spirits up. I am a positive soul and I  focus on solutions rather than problems. I’ve tried to share positive and uplifting messages here on my blog.

I like this quote “life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain” because it focuses not on the storm but on what can be done in the midst of the storm.

In the midst of the storm that we are all in right now I ask what can we do. Can we adjust our thoughts toward learning something positive about ourselves? Have we learned to persevere in the face of discomfort and fear? Have we learned to slow down and take a closer look at our lives and decide to make changes that we hadn’t previously considered? Have we learned to find joy in the little things?

For me, I have revisited my art work and I have started to edit that novel I kept telling myself  that I didn’t have enough time to work on. Well, time is all I have had these past few weeks. I have taken the time to organize family photos and clean out my closets.

In the midst of this storm I have decided to focus on the joy of painting, the joy of writing, the joy of early morning and watching the birds flying into the blue skies and landing on the branches of  the old oak trees.

I’ve decided not to give into the panic; I’ve made a conscious effort to focus on the future.

I cannot change what is happening around me but I can control my reaction to it.

I prefer dancing in the rain to complaining about the storm.

Jenny W. Andrews, Copyright 2020

 

 

Sisters Forever

100_0073_0227_0001This is a photo of my sister Sylvia and I in the Republic of Ireland in 2008. This photo brings back warm memories; it also brings back a few bitter memories, as well.

Family has a way of lifting us up as well as tearing us down.

Family is complicated. We never can completely burn those bridges or completely sever those ties that bind us to those with whom we share blood and history.

In our current world, everyone is worried about Covid-19 and the potential of death. Truth is that we all must face death one day. If not now, one day, surely each of us will face it.

In looking at this photo, I remember laughter and I remember tears.  I remember stories. I remember inconvenient and unpleasant truths.

In this photo, frozen in time are two sisters born twenty-four years apart who could never quite make that connection as we had hoped our meeting in the Republic of Ireland would have.

Too many differences, too many obstacles, too many years between us.

I look at this photo and wonder how my sister is doing so, so far away from me.

Truth is I pray for her with my whole heart. I pray that she is kept safe from Covid-19 and that she is happy somewhere out there.

I remember seeing an ancient stone bridge in County Kerry. I think of that bridge sometimes and how it was there in that isolated mountainous distance. I think of how it represents in my mind’s eye what my sister and I had tried to accomplish. We had tried to bridge that gap between us. In the end, she and I were like the mountain peaks, impossible to reach.

 

Jenny W. Andrews, Copyright, 2020

 

 

Sunflowers and Hope

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Years ago, I used watercolor to paint this sunflower.

Now that I am at home all the time I have decided to revisit the stacks of artwork I have around my house.

Who knows? I might be a Van Gogh. Well, maybe not a Van Gogh. But, with all the time on my hands I might well be able to perfect my artistic skills and at least. . .I don’t think I will ever be Van Gogh, but I am having fun with returning to my artwork.

I guess with staying home I have decided to make the best of a bad situation and develop my creative skills in both art and writing. I have also found some great websites on how to learn to speak French. I have a notebook that I am taking my French notes in and I am listening to websites in French and reading in French as much as possible.

I am looking ahead to when I can go to France and visit Monet’s garden. I love flowers and Monet’s garden is absolutely exquisite. I have only seen it in photos, but I plan to go as soon as possible. I will take my sketch pad and spend several days just enjoying France.

All this we are going through right now will eventually pass.

There is always tomorrow; there is always hope.

There will always be sunflowers.

Go out tomorrow morning and draw one.

That’s what I plan to do.

 

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020

Island Plans: Looking to the Future

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This morning, I sat down under an oak tree in my back yard and watched a squirrel skitter high up in the branches to its nest. A green lizard puffed himself up and dashed along the length of the fence before disappearing on the other side. My beagle ran across the yard and burrowed his nose into the rich dark earth in search of something that must have burrowed itself there.

Warm sunshine,  birds in song, and the absolute calmness of this Sunday morning reminded me of thankfulness. I am thankful for another day to sit under this oak tree, to listen to the birds, to watch squirrels and lizards and my beagle playing in the beauty of the morning.

I drew this picture with water color pencils and thought about an island with flowers and calm blue water. I reminded myself that it is necessary to the happiness of my soul to be forward thinking, to plan for my future, to not give into momentary despair and fear.

I refuse to listen to the news anymore. I refuse to be paralyze by the incessant bombardment of the worst case scenarios. I will change those things that I have power to change. I will ask Jesus to hold my hand; his is the only hand I need. I will let go of those things I am powerless to change.

Yes, I will stick my  head in the sand (well, not literally). Let me rethink that-I will stick my toes in the sand on  a beautiful island. I have a few years yet before retirement, but I am planning for it.

I have even drawn this picture. I want to have lots and lots of flowers around it. I want a hacienda style house with telavera tile throughout the kitchen. I want a massive flower garden with Calla lilies, roses, irises, sunflowers, and fruit trees and a vegetable garden.

Here’s looking towards the future and thankfulness to my Lord Jesus Christ through whom all things are possible.

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020

 

Original Art:Woman with Blue Hat

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This is a drawing I did a few years ago. I like to use a lot of color.

In our current climate of worry, stress, and anxiety, I would like to encourage everyone to switch off your devices, tune out the constant media bombardment of horrible news.

We can’t stick our heads in the sand, of course. But, for your mental health, please, please take a break from the news. Switch it off for a day or two days. Or maybe don’t turn it on for a week. Or longer.

Pick up some color pencils and a sketch pad and go to it. Be creative and colorful. Have fun.

Pick up a notebook and a dictionary. Choose as many rhyming words as possible and write ridiculously funny sentences. Write limericks, ballads, rap songs. Write the worst possible country song you can come up with.

Laugh.

The  Book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time, a season for everything. There will always be sorrow; but, there will also be a time of joy and peace.

These dark days we are experiencing now will not last forever.

Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us of God’s promises.

For I know the plans I have for you,” Declares the Lord.”Plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.”

Hope.

With God, hope is eternal.

As we approach the Easter season, trust in God’s promises. Light is at the end of this dark tunnel that we are experiencing right now.

Romans 8:38-39 reminds us of God’s love through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Revelation 21:4 reminds us that God shall wipe away all our tears.

“And God shall wipe away all the tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any pain, for the former things are passed away.”

Life will always have sorrow, death and pain. That is just a fact.

Life will always have beauty, joy, and wonder. That is just a fact.

It is my prayer that we all stay safe in these challenging times.

Take a break from the constant media coverage for your mental health. Spend quiet time with God, unburden your soul before Him. Trust that He will always be there to wipe your tears away. Trust that He has plans for you to prosper.

Trust completely in God and in His promises.

And draw a picture, write a song.

And share it!

Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2020